A woman takes her seriously ill husband to their native country, the Philippines, to visit a priest at a Catholic church who is renowned for his "miraculous healing" abilities. On the trip she assists him with his basic needs, provides psychological comfort, carries his luggage, pushes his wheelchair and administers his medications. And, since they are home in the Philippines, they spend around 40 percent of their time visiting family and friends. She is gone seven weeks. Her employer fires her for the absence; she claims the leave was FMLA protected. Who wins? Her employer. Why? Her husband was not seeking medical treatment but a miracle. For FMLA protection to kick in, the relative for whom the employee is caring must be receiving treatment from a health-care provider as defined in the regulations. A priest is not included. On Jan. 4, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Tayag v. Lahey Clinic Hospital Inc. went further and noted that even if the FMLA protected caring for a sick spouse on a faith-healing trip, that coverage was lost because "the FMLA does not permit employees to take time off to take a vacation with a seriously ill spouse, even if caring for the spouse is an ‘incidental consequence’ of taking him on vacation." The opinion has a good discussion of "caring for," as well as addressing this novel issue. It’s worth a read.