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North Carolina Intermittent Family Leave


Posted by Tamara

Some North Carolina employees have wondered if North Carolina state law allows them to take intermittent family leave.

The answer is it depends. There are no state laws on North Carolina’ books that cover family leave, so it comes under the jurisdiction of the federal FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act).

Under FMLA, eligible employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for certain medical and personal scenarios. The scenario that applies to the family leave in question relates to granting employees leave to bond with a newborn within the first year of its life, with a newly adopted baby, or with a foster child that has just been brought into the home.

FMLA does not require an employer to grant intermittent leave for a new parent to bond with a child. The law provides intermittent leave only for a serious health condition when there’s a medical necessity for the intermittent leave.

There are no legal mandates, then, for granting a new parent intermittent family leave to bond with a child.

There are options, however. It is perfectly legal for an employer to grant intermittent leave if a mutually satisfying schedule can be agreed upon. Granting this leave, though, is solely up to the discretion of the individual employer.

Suppose Marie adopted a baby and wants to take a few of weeks of continuous leave to bond with the child. When she returns to work, she wants to come back to the same position and using intermittent leave to work part-time. Her employer refuses.

Marie argues that FMLA guarantees her job and her employer is in violation of the law. She’s incorrect. FMLA was designed to protect the employee, but not at the expense of the employer. The law requires her employer to provide Marie with either her old job or with a job that has comparable benefits, wages, and working conditions. Her employer is completely within its rights to refuse her request. The employer has the right, too, to insist she remain on FMLA leave continuously or return to her normal work schedule.

 

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