My Current State: 

Missouri Intermittent Family Leave

Posted by Tamara

Grace, an Missouri employee, adopted an infant in February and wants to take family leave to bond with the child. Under FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), she is entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for certain medical and personal reasons, including bonding with a newborn, with a newly adopted baby, or a foster child newly entering the home.

Grace asks to use the first 6 weeks continuously, then use the remaining weeks as intermittent family leave to return to work on a part-time basis. Her employer refuses, insisting she either remain on continuous leave or return to her normal work schedule.

Grace protests she is entitled to intermittent family leave, and cites the case of a colleague who was granted intermittent leave after a serious automobile accident. She insists her employer is in violation of FMLA and Missouri state law if he refuses. The employer argues that FMLA doesn’t entitle her to intermittent leave.

Grace’s employer is correct.

True, her colleague was granted intermittent leave under FMLA, but the law only allows that type of leave when it’s medically necessary for a serious health condition. So, her employer was not in violation of FMLA, and since Missouri has no family leave laws, no state laws were violated, either.

So, what are the options for a new parent in Missouri to take intermittent family leave?

Legally, there are none. No federal or Missouri state law mandates employers grant intermittent family leave to bond with a child.

In many cases, though, an employer will grant intermittent family leave to a new parent when the company and the worker can agree on a schedule. This permission is solely up to the individual employer. There is no law requiring it.

FMLA limits employees to 12 weeks per healthy child, and to a total for all reasons of 12 weeks in a single 12 month period. So if Grace decided to adopt another infant six months later, she couldn’t take FMLA leave again, because she’d already reached her limit for the period.


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