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Sterling Employment Law

A note on intermittent FMLA leave for Detroit readers

In previous posts, we have touched on the Family and Medical Leave Act. This is one of the most important laws for workers, but it's also one of the largest and most cumbersome to apply.

Because it's so important and yet also so complex, we will probably have several posts on the FMLA in the future because it's good for Detroit readers to understand its provisions. We also want to break the information up into smaller pieces because we think it helps to absorb large amounts of information if it's doled out in manageable portions.

Today, let's talk about intermittent FMLA leave. Under the FMLA, a worker is allowed to be absent from his or her job for a certain amount of time for certain circumstances, like medical issues or some family situations.

Now, employers would vastly prefer it if an employee took his or her FMLA leave in discrete, easy-to-identify chunks (say, three days at a time). However, life doesn't always work that way.

Let's say you need time off to attend therapy sessions because you have been struggling with depression. You need to leave work two hours early every Thursday to get to your therapist's office and have your session. Your employer would probably have to allow you to miss work to attend those sessions. Though it may be hard for your employer to keep track of when you are at work and when you are not and to keep tabs on how much time you have used, that is your employer's responsibility. You should not be denied time off for a medical reason or family issue covered by the FMLA just because it's hard for your boss to keep tabs on your time off.

That being said, you must remember that you do have obligations to your employer. You cannot just take time off work because you think you should, and you cannot let your on-the-job duties just lapse because you have taken FMLA time (you should coordinate with your manager to delegate and manage responsibilities).

Source: Business Management Daily, "Intermittent FMLA leave is a pain, but don't deny it for that reason," July 16, 2012

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Sterling Employment Law

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