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Intermittent FMLA leave is a pain, but don’t deny it for that reason

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Approving, certifying and tracking intermittent FMLA leave can be a royal pain, especially in industries where attendance is crucial.

But employees who are otherwise eligible for intermittent FMLA leave can’t be denied that right simply because it’s inconvenient for employers that must juggle staff schedules.

If you accept the fact that some em­­ployees will need FMLA leave, you’ll avoid trouble later.

Recent case: After Stacey was diagnosed as depressed, she requested intermittent FMLA leave from her nursing-home job to attend counseling sessions. Her request was approved and she began taking time off.

Soon after, she was reprimanded for missing an activity that she was supposed to lead. She was not on FMLA leave at the time. Her supervisor re­­minded her that intermittent leave didn’t give her the green light to skip work when not on leave.

Later, Stacey was fired for incorrectly noting that a patient was in his room when in fact he was elsewhere.

She sued, alleging intermittent leave was the real reason for the firing. The court didn’t buy it, noting that the company let her take leave as she needed it. (Naber v. Dover Healthcare Associates, No. 11-1769, 3rd Cir., 2012)

Final note: This employer did everything right. It approved intermittent leave and allowed the employee to use it. It then reminded her of her workplace obligations while not on leave. It only terminated her for legitimate reasons unrelated to her FMLA leave.

Online resource: Download our free report on this topic, FMLA Inter­­­mit­­tent Leave: 5 Guidelines on Managing Inter­­mittent Leave and Curbing Leave Abuse, at www.BusinessManagementDaily.com/FMLAintermittentleave.

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