Published Date: 06/09/2014
By John Gupton
An employee is entitled to take Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave on an intermittent schedule basis when the leave is medically necessary to care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition; or because the employee is unable to perform any one of the essential functions of the job because of a serious health condition. An employee may request, but the employer does not have to grant, intermittent leave schedule for the birth, and to care for, a newborn, adoption of a child or placement of a child with the employee for foster care. An employee may also take FMLA leave on an intermittent leave basis for the military caregiver and exigency leaves.
An intermittent leave is a leave taken in separate blocks of time due to a single illness or injury, rather than for one continuous period of time and may include leave periods of one hour or less, or several hours or days at a time. Examples of intermittent leave would include leave for medical appointments related to a serious health condition, or leave taken for a day or two at a time spread over several months.
If an employee takes intermittent leave, only the amount of leave actually taken can be counted toward the number of weeks of FMLA leave to which the employee is entitled. Most employers calculate an employee’s intermittent FMLA entitlement by hours. That is, if an employee is normally scheduled to work 40 hours per week, the employee is entitled to 480 FMLA hours during a leave year (12 weeks x 40 hours).