The most important thing to know about your right to take unpaid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act is that you can use the leave for a few hours or a few days at a time. When you qualify to take up to 12 weeks off without losing your job, your employer cannot force you to take the entire three months off work all at the same time.
Another important thing to note is that your employer does have some say in when you can use FMLA leave. Federal guidelines state that any eligible employee who wants to take intermittent FMLA leave should plan ahead with supervisors, managers, and co-workers to make sure that all their work responsibilities will be met while they are away.
To state this second point in another way, both employees and employers should treat intermittent FMLA leave as planned leave, if at all possible. Sometimes this is impossible if the person had an unexpected flare-up of a disability or medical condition. The person who knows they will need time off to seek or provide medical care should submit a request ahead of time, if possible.
The employer can spell out the exact procedures for requesting intermittent FMLA leave. If no specific rules exist, the request and discussion should start as early as possible so the employee knows exactly how to handle requests for intermittent FMLA leave when the need arises.
The third thing both employees and employers need to understand is that a request for intermittent leave under the FMLA can be rejected for certain reasons. Some examples of reasons an employer can deny a request for intermittent FMLA leave are:
Note that the last reason implies that an employer can ask for information about illnesses and medical procedures when deciding whether to grant FMLA leave. The employer typically provides a FMLA Certification form that must be filled out by the employee’s treating physician or medical provider and returned to the employer for review and to determine FMLA eligibility.
At The Friedmann Firm, we strive every day to eliminate the misunderstandings and discriminatory practices that keep people with disabilities from working. We offer consultations and we are always prepared to fight for the rights of employees and job applicants. You can schedule an appointment with a Columbus disability discrimination attorney by calling (614) 610-9755 or filling out this online contact form.