Intermittent Leave

Editor's Note: Reduce the challenges of intermittent leave.

Melissa S. BurdorfOverview: Intermittent leave is one of the biggest headaches for employers administering leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), especially when it involves unplanned, repeated and sporadic leave requests.

When an employee seeks intermittent leave, he or she is requesting to take leave in separate blocks of time due to a single FMLA qualifying reason. Employees may take intermittent leave for both planned medical treatment and unanticipated medical treatment (or medical issues) and for military exigency leave (also referred to as qualifying exigency leave).

The certification requirements for intermittent leave are the same for other types of FMLA leave. However, employers should carefully review the certification to ensure the healthcare provider provided enough information to show that intermittent leave is medically necessary (not just convenient for the employee) and specified the likelihood of unpredictable episodes of incapacity or flare ups, and the expected frequency and duration of such episodes or flare ups.

Once a certification form is in, employers have many obligations when it comes to designating, calculating and tracking intermittent FMLA leave. Many common employer challenges include identifying and appropriately tracking leave, scheduling leave and dealing with a reduction in workforce. Maintaining accurate records of FMLA use and absences is important so that suspicious patterns of absences can be picked up.

Trends: Various municipalities are passing paid sick leave laws that create tracking nightmares for employers who are already tracking FMLA leave. Under the FMLA, an employer must account for the use of FMLA leave using an increment no greater than the shortest period of time that the employer uses to account for the use of other forms of employee leave, as long as the time increment is not greater than one hour and the employee's FMLA leave entitlement is not reduced by more than the amount of leave actually taken. Employers need to check their local paid sick leave law, if applicable, to ensure they are allowing employee's to take paid sick leave in the proper increment of time.

Author: Melissa S. Burdorf, JD, Legal Editor

Latest items in Intermittent Leave

  • FMLA: West Virginia

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of West Virginia employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA.

  • FMLA: New York

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of New York employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA.

  • FMLA: Michigan

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Michigan employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA

  • FMLA: Tennessee

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Tennessee employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA.

  • FMLA: Texas

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Texas employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA.

  • FMLA: Virginia

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Virginia employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA.

  • FMLA: Kentucky

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Kentucky employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA

  • FMLA: New Jersey

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of New Jersey employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA.

  • FMLA: Maine

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Maine employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA.

  • FMLA: Minnesota

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Minnesota employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA

About this topic

HR guidance on the legal and administrative challenges in managing intermittent FMLA leave.