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Intermittent FMLA in Alabama

Posted by Tamara

What is the one aspect of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 that most concerns employees and employers in Alabama?

Without question, in Alabama as well as elsewhere around the country it is the fact that the FMLA allows for so-called “intermittent, unscheduled” leave time. It topped the list of issues concerning employers, according to a 2007 report by the U.S. Department of Labor.

While intermittent leave is still allowed, a recent revision of the law now requires employees to follow management policy regarding call-in procedures. In the past, an employee could take intermittent FMLA leave without even reporting in advance.

As most workers and employers know, the FMLA guarantees every employee as much as 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave annually. “Job-protected” means that the employer must return  the worker to his or her job when the leave time expires and the employee comes back to work. In order to qualify, a worker must be tending to a serious health condition or to a pregnancy or childbirth, among other things. The employee must also have worked for his or her current employer for no less than 1,250 hours during the past 12 months.

If the employee qualifies, he or she may take the leave time either in a single block of 12 weeks or an hour at a time – or anything in between, provided the company’s call-in regulations are met.

As an example, “John” suffers from severe migraine headaches. In the past, he took an hour or two of FMLA leave at a time without reporting in ahead of time. Now John may still take the time, but must follow his firm’s call-in rules.

“Marsha” is pregnant and has severe periodic nausea and vomiting. She is entitled to take partial days off. Her employer has requested that she provide a physician’s statement certifying to her condition. Once she has done so, she may continue to take intermittent time off until she has accumulated the equivalent of 12 weeks, or 480 hours, of FMLA time.


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