FMLA question

Trying to read through the Department of Labor’s information on the Family and Medical Leave Act is no easy task. I think I found the answer that I’m looking for, and part of the answer may depend on individual employers and their policies, but my question is:

Let’s say there’s an employee with an intermittent health issue, say chronic pain. Would FMLA leave be available on a day-to-day if on a particular day the pain was unmanageable and the person unable to work? Could they call in or follow whatever process the employer has set up and say “I’m taking an FMLA day”?

I don’t know what the legal status is, but my company certainly has employees who do this. It’s referred to as ‘intermittent FMLA leave’.

I am not in any way an expert, nor am I in human resources; I designed FMLA tracking databases for both my current and my previous employers, and handling this sort of situation was part of the specifications in both cases.

Yes, it happens all the time for cases such as asthma, back pain and other chronic conditions.

The tough part is that many managers and supervisors, as well as HR departments, often consider these FMLA cases to be the one’s most likely to be abused, so that people with legit chronic issues always have some cloud over them.

There is some documentation that must be provided to support the condition. Some companies stop short of having the employees meet every letter of the law.

I had an employee whose wife had a brain aneurism. We arraigned for him to take “FLMA days” as needed to take care of her. Essentially, it was a way for him to take up to eight weeks worth of unpaid personal days.

Basically, it’s up to your employer.

I used to administer FMLA leaves for our firm, and the information above is essentially correct. Your employer may (and probably should) require documentation from a doctor that the time off is necessary for your health or to care for a family member, and the recordkeeping can be onerous. But if you meet the eligibilty requirements for FMLA - generally speaking, more than a year of service - you have a right to take the (unpaid) time off, up to twelve weeks in a twelve-month period.

Keep in mind also that there are conditions that have to be met in order to qualify for FMLA that have nothing to do with you. Among other things, last time I read it, the company must have at least 50 employees in order to be required to give any FMLA leave at all.

Absolutely make sure of your companies record keeping requirement. There was a time when I was taking intermittent FMLA leave and they started requiring me to get a doctors excuse every time.