Illness and injury to either an employee or his or her close family could happen at any time. Even individuals who seemed otherwise healthy could face medical concerns suddenly. While many workers in the Washington, D.C. metro area can continue working while addressing their medical concerns or those of a close family member, they may need to take time off. In some cases, intermittent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act may best suit their needs.
The FMLA, and its state and local equivalents, offer job protection for qualifying employees who work for companies that are covered by these laws. These laws allow qualifying employees to take leave to address a personal medical or family issue. Although the law allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year, those weeks do not have to be taken consecutively.
Intermittent leave could help workers who may need to address a medical issue on multiple times. For example, if someone needs weekly medical treatments, that employee may request time off at the same time every week to attend those treatments. However, there are restrictions, including the following:
- The employee must first attempt to schedule treatments or similar events known about in advance at a time that does not disrupt work operations.
- The leave must be for a qualifying purpose.
- The employer may approve or deny intermittent leave for reasons such as birth, adoption, fostering or caring for a child.
Intermittent leave may be confusing to understand, or workers in the Washington, D.C. area may not even know that it is an option. In some cases, employers are not always receptive to employees taking time off under the FMLA, which can make the situation seem even more difficult. However, employees have rights under these laws, and if any believe that their employer is violating those rights, discussing the matter with experienced employment law attorneys may be worthwhile.