FMLA: Intermittent Leave

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Generally, the FMLA entitles employees to take intermittent leave for medical treatment or other medical reasons, whether it's for the employee or a family member.

For example, an employee can take two hours of leave twice a week for medical appointments or several days at a time spread over six months for chemotherapy. In short, the person can opt to work part time, and you can deduct the time off from his or her 12-week FMLA eligibility. Someone who works four days instead of five can do so for a total of 60 weeks before exhausting his or her FMLA leave time. By that time, the employee may also be eligible for a new 12 weeks of FMLA leave.

Clearly, there’s the potential for abuse by someone who’d rather work a four-day week. That’s why you should always ask for medical recertifications and exercise your right to seek a second or third opinion from another health care provider.

You may also transfer an employee who needs to take FMLA intermittent leave to an alternative position if that would cause fewer disruptions to your operations. The transfer must be temporary, and pay and benefits must remain the same as in the initial position.

Bottom line: This is just one of many areas under the FMLA that require employers to be vigilant and track the time precisely. If you suspect an employee of abusing intermittent FMLA leave, make sure he or she supplies all the necessary documentation to back up the leave request.

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