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May 01, 2011
Is Intermittent Leave Allowed Under ADA and FMLA Laws?

When can an employee request to take intermittent leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or as a leave of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Does your team know when intermittent leave can be granted under these laws and what the employer requirements are?

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The ADA allows intermittent leave as reasonable accommodation. Intermittent leave policies should be considered as a reasonable accommodation as long as granting intermittent leave does not impose an undue hardship on the employer. However, an employer does not have to provide paid leave beyond that which is provided to similarly situated employees. Employers should allow an employee with a disability to exhaust accrued paid leave first and then provide unpaid leave.

The FMLA permits intermittent leave for serious health conditions. Intermittent or reduced leave may be provided if medically necessary for the employee’s serious health condition, a family member’s serious health condition, for servicemember caregiver leave, or because of a qualifying exigency arising from a family member’s deployment with the armed forces to a foreign country. If an employee requests intermittent leave based on planned medical treatment, the employer may require that the worker transfer temporarily to another job with equivalent pay and benefits, which better accommodates the employee’s need for recurring periods of leave.

However, intermittent leave is prohibited for bonding leave. Leave for adoption, foster care placement, or the birth of a child may not be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule, unless the employer and the employee agree to such an arrangement, or in the case of adoption only, unless the placement is on such short notice that there is not time for the employee to schedule events related to the adoption around his or her work schedule.

The above information comes from BLR’s presentation "Understanding the Interplay Between FMLA and ADA." For more information on all the training courses BLR has to offer, go to our Employee and Manager Training page.

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