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Manage intermittent leave with calendar-year method

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Employees who take FMLA intermittent leave can wreak havoc with work schedules. Because their conditions can flare up at any time, their absences are by nature unpredictable. But there are ways you can legally curtail intermittent leave.

One way is to use the calendar-year method to set FMLA leave eligibility.

Here’s how it works: Sometime during the calendar year, an employee submits medical documentation showing she will need intermittent leave for a chronic condition. If she is eligible for leave at that time, she can take up to 12 weeks of intermittent leave until the end of the calendar year.

Then the process starts again.

If, on Jan. 1, she hasn’t worked 1,250 hours in the preceding 12 months, she’s no longer eligible—and won’t be eligible again until she hits 1,250 hours.

Note: Employees who are approved for FMLA intermittent leave can take that time off as needed. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to some supporting documentation for each absence. You can ask for proof that the absence was for the chronic condition—but a simple doctor’s note to that effect should suffice. No new formal certification is required.

Advice: Wait until the end of your FMLA leave year to get the new intermittent-leave certification.

Other tips: When employees have chronic conditions and their certifications call for FMLA intermittent leave, you should attempt to work out leave schedules as far in advance as possible. You can insist on a medical provider’s estimate of how often the employee will need time off.

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