While most employers have fine-tuned their practices for administering leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, experts say the statute’s allowance for intermittent leave — shorter, less predictable absences — still often leaves employers flustered and open to legal woes.
Passed in 1993, the FMLA allows qualified employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for medical reasons or to care for sick family members. Once an employee’s leave period ends, that person must be returned to the same job the worker held before, or to a virtually identical position. The law also requires employers to maintain any group health benefits during a worker’s leave period.
But according to McCarter & English LLP partner Hugh Murray, in some cases a person who suffers from a certain condition might just be using it as an excuse to milk allotted FMLA time — “to take a day off when they want to take a day off.”