FAQs regarding intermittent family leave

| May 1, 2020 | Wage and Hour |

Family comes before anything else. And in times like these, California workers need the freedom and flexibility to care for themselves and their loved ones when they need it most. While the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California’s equivalent to FMLA is known as California Family Rights Act (CFRA), grants them this opportunity, some may wonder if the time the law gives them is flexible.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, intermittent FMLA allows some workers flexibility depending on the circumstances.

How does it work?

Intermittent FMLA allows workers to leave their jobs to care for themselves or a loved one who is suffering from a serious medical condition. Employees can leave for specific blocks of time for a single qualifying reason. They can also work on a daily or weekly reduced schedule. However, there are some exceptions. If the worker needs leave for a medical procedure, the employee must make a reasonable effort not to schedule the surgery when it could harm business operations. And if workers need intermittent leave for childcare, they should work with their employer to negotiate a schedule that works for both parties.

How can workers qualify?

Intermittent and regular FMLA share the same standards. Those who wish to qualify for these benefits must demonstrate that:

  • They work for a business with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.
  • They’ve worked approximately 1250 or more hours over the last year.
  • They’ve been with the employer for at least one year (does not need to be in consecutive order).

However, if the worker needs to leave for military service or has approval under a written contract, some exceptions may apply.

Does intermittent FMLA expire?

It remains the same as regular FMLA, which is 12 weeks per 12-month timespan. However, for military caregivers, it’s typically 26 weeks for one 12-month period.

Can I get paid during intermittent FMLA?

It depends on the employer’s policies. In some cases, the employer may require the worker to use PTO. In other cases, employers won’t grant pay to workers but must give them the 12 weeks unpaid leave required by law.

These rules can be confusing

Even if they don’t get paid, workers need the ability to tend to issues when the unexpected occurs. However, the rules surrounding FMLA and its provisions can be tough to interpret. If that’s the case, workers may want to seek sound legal counsel to address their concerns.