When Can FMLA Leave be Taken Intermittently?

When Can FMLA Leave be Taken Intermittently?

December, 2019

Many employees in Ohio and around the country are entitled to take unpaid leave from their place of employment, according to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). One option employees have is to take intermittent leave, meaning the leave does not have to be taken all at once. This leave is available when employees have a serious medical condition or are caring for family members with a serious medical condition. Employees can also take intermittent FMLA leave when they have just had a child, or when they are caring for a foster child or a child they have just adopted. 

Many employees know they can take FMLA leave, but are not aware that they can take this leave intermittently. Below is some basic information about intermittent FMLA leave, who can take it, and when it can be taken. 

Qualifying for Intermittent FMLA Leave

There are certain qualifications for taking FMLA leave, whether employees are taking it continuously or intermittently. Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if they have worked for a covered employer for 1,250 hours in the 12 month period preceding the leave. To be covered by the FMLA, an employer must employ 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius of the worksite. 

What is FMLA Leave That is Taken Intermittently?

The FMLA allows eligible employees to take a maximum of 12 weeks off within a 12-month period. That leave is typically unpaid, although some employers still provide pay during the leave. This leave can be taken all at one time, which is considered continuous leave, or it can be taken intermittently. Intermittent leave allows employees to take time off in increments of days, weeks, and even hours.

For example, if an employee has an unpredictable serious medical condition that flares up from time to time, they may choose to take intermittent leave. Intermittent leave is also a good option when employees have to attend appointments for their medical condition or receive treatments. In these cases, they may wish to take an hour or two as intermittent FMLA leave.  

When Employers can Deny Intermittent FMLA Leave 

In most cases, employers must grant employees intermittent FMLA leave if they request it. However, there are times when this leave can be denied. An employer can deny intermittent FMLA leave when: 

  • The employee does not have any available FMLA hours because he or she has already used them,
  • The employee has not worked the required number of hours in the prior 12 months,
  • The reason given for FMLA leave was not a serious medical condition or to care for a family member with a serious medical condition.
  • The employer is not covered by the FMLA

Employers can ask for supporting medical documentation before granting the leave, such as doctor’s notes for the employee or close family member with a serious medical condition. However, employers must have a legitimate reason that is lawful under the FMLA if they deny the leave.  

Were You Denied FMLA Leave? Contact an Ohio Employment Lawyer

If you believe you qualify for continuous or intermittent FMLA leave and have been denied by your employer, it is important you speak to a Columbus employment lawyer. At Marshall & Forman, LLC, we will determine if you are eligible for this type of leave and if so, help you hold your employer accountable for granting it. If you need FMLA leave and your employer is denying it, call us today or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.