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Intermittent (Non continuous) Leave Under The FMLA


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People tend to think of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as only being about continuous leave - taking the leave all at one time. In fact, under the FMLA, an employee is entitled to non-continuous (intermittent) time off if certain requirements are met. This allows an employee to take time off in the following circumstances:

  • When incapacitated for a short period of time, OR 
  • Temporarily unable to perform an essential function of the job even though not totally incapacitated, OR 
  • To go to medically necessary medical appointments, tests and treatments OR
  • To do other activities which are medically necessary. 

It is not required that an employee go to get treatment when absent from work.
An employer can request that the time be taken in a manner that is least disruptive to the job. An employer may even transfer an employee for the same purpose.

An employer can require the same certification from a healthcare provider about time off taken intermittently as it requires for blocks of time off under the FMLA. Notice requirements are also permitted.

The FMLA provides increments in which time off will be counted.

 It is advisable for employees to keep their own record of time off under the FMLA. The record should include:

  • Date
  • Actual amount of time off (note beginning and ending time)
  • Time calculated under the employer's appropriate rules (e.g. 45 minutes equals 1 hour)
  • Reason for taking the time off
  • Relevant facts (such as written notice given on X date, or conversation with Y on X date etc)

For information about each of these subjects, see:

NOTE:  If you have a continuing health condition and want to call in to say that you will not be coming to work today and you want the time off to be counted as FMLA time, it is advisable to state that the reason is because of the condition and that the time off should be counted as FMLA leave. Unless a statement like this is made, an employer is permitted to ask the reason for the time off which can get into specifics that you otherwise don't have to get into.

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Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

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