#1  
Unread 12-18-2002, 08:29 AM
jmw5455
 
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Default Intermittent FMLA

Is a physician's certification (doctor's note) required for each unscheduled absence from an employee who has requested Intermittent FMLA? Also, if during an Intermittent FMLA leave, an employee is out for a duration of ex: 8 days, are we, the employer, allowed to request a fitness for duty release prior to allowing the employee to return to work?
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  #2  
Unread 12-18-2002, 09:48 AM
LindaS
 
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Default RE: Intermittent FMLA

In answer to your first question, if the employee has a certified condition that qualifies for FMLA leave and is considered chronic (for example, migranes, the answer is NO you CANNOT request a doctor's slip each time they miss work for that condition. The amount of time I'm talking about is for less than one day or one to two days. I run into this alot with individuals whose conditions act up around holidays and weekends but there isn't anything I can do at this point except require them to update their forms annually.

In response to your second question regarding a more extended period of time off, you CAN ask for a doctor's slip allowing them to return to work. This is something that is typically addressed in an attendance policy. For example, our policy clearly states that an employee who is hospitalized or is off for three or more days must have a doctor's slip releasing them to return to work.

I hope this helps!
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  #3  
Unread 12-19-2002, 08:28 AM
Renie
 
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Default RE: Intermittent FMLA

I believe you CAN ask for a Dr's excuse for each unscheduled absence for approved FMLA intermittent leave, but it is not an advisable practice.
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  #4  
Unread 12-20-2002, 02:33 AM
Terri B
 
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Default RE: Intermittent FMLA

If you want to avoid requiring a doctor's note for every absence you can consider having employees update their interrmittent FMLA paperwork more often. I moved to quarterly updates so that I could ensure that employees were still under a doctor's care for the condition. I ran into your type of situation with migraines and endometriosis. It is up to you to decide how long the incremments are for reapplying for the leave. You can set it at 30 days, 90 days, 6 months or a year. Good Luck!!!
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  #5  
Unread 12-20-2002, 03:43 AM
vmiller MO
 
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Default RE: Intermittent FMLA

29 CFR Section 825.310(g) states, "An employer is not entitled to certification of fitness to return to duty when the employee takes intermittent leave as described in Section 825.203."

Section 825.203(c)(1)states, "Intermittent leave may be taken for a serious health condition. . .and may include leave of periods from an hour or more to several weeks." Section 825.203(d) states, "There is no limit on the size of an increment of leave when an employee takes intermittent leave. . ."
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  #6  
Unread 12-20-2002, 04:25 AM
LindaS
 
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Default RE: Intermittent FMLA

Thank you for providing that information. I knew I read it and was, just this morning, looking for it.
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  #7  
Unread 03-18-2003, 06:42 AM
fsweat
 
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Default RE: Intermittent FMLA

If a company can not get temporary coverage for a worker for one or two hours a day due to an FMLA intermittent appmt.; can the company require the employee to take the whole day as a scheduled day off, providing they count only the appointment time as FMLA? Keeping in mind, they have the same requirement of employees that take non FMLA time.
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  #8  
Unread 03-18-2003, 06:50 AM
LindaS
 
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Default RE: Intermittent FMLA

According to FMLA, there is no size limit regarding the amount of time an employee can take off for intermittent leave. If I'm understanding your policy correctly, if an employee wants only a couple of hours off (for a non FMLA reason) and you cannot cover that time, you require the employee to take the entire day off? Do you require them to use vacation or PTO time? If you do require them to use the paid time, I would suggest you consult with your state FMLA policy (if there is one). Here in Wisconsin, as long as an employee is off for FMLA that is covered under the state law, we cannot require them to use paid leave. Once state runs out and federal kicks in, we can require it.

As long as you require the same things for non FMLA reasons, I don't see any problem with forcing them to take the entire day. I think the key here is consistency. The other option here is to require them to schedule an appointment after work hours (or at least attempt to). Under FMLA, you as the employer have the right to request that any appointments be scheduled outside of working hours as much as possible.
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  #9  
Unread 03-18-2003, 07:33 AM
Don D
 
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Default RE: Intermittent FMLA

I'm trying to visualize a situation wherein an ee is on true, intermittent leave, duly authorized and approved by the company, which the employer has a right to have, and then the ee says he must be off for a week or longer. That to me seems to be a revocation of intermittent status and the triggering of regular FMLA. In any event of regular FMLA, the company can require an acceptable medical release to return to duty. I haven't seen any intermittents where a doctor might state, "Will need a week or so off periodically." Maybe I'm just lucky. The way I read 825.203, it is describing a reduced leave schedule for a period of time, normally from full time to part time. The careful reading of 825.203 AND 825.310 might just as easily lead one to conclude that a person who enters a period of approved intermittent FMLA, say with a reduced schedule of hours per day or hours per week, who then gains an approval for a period of time extending several weeks, could be required to produce satisfactory evidence of release for return to work. It seems in this event, the certifying information upon which you base the approval has changed enough to ask for a release. 825.203 (c) (1) talks about intermittent leave lasting up to several weeks. Isn't that a contradiction. What's intermittent about that?
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  #10  
Unread 03-19-2003, 02:10 AM
Stacy36
 
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Default RE: Intermittent FMLA

Now I am a little concerned about this. We have two pregnant ees one of which misses work occasionally. I can't remember off hand but her doctor wrote a specific diagnosis saying she would occasionally miss due to this. I looked it up and it is basically severe bouts of morning sickness. Should we require a doctor's note for every absence?
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