FMLA Question — The Bump
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FMLA Question

I don't usually post over here, but I was hoping you guys might be more well versed on FMLA.  I'm a teacher, and I'll be taking 4-5 weeks of maternity leave at the end of this school year and 2 weeks at the beginning of next school year - all in all, getting to stay home with baby for the first 4 months.

 I have to do 5 weeks of practicum (similar to student teaching) in May/June, and am planning on going back to the first two weeks of school (to get my paras and schedule started) before taking the last two weeks of August off, and then returning full time in September.

My husband works at O'Reilly Auto Parts - they have more than 50 employees and his 1 year anniversary is May 6th.  His boss knows that baby will probably be arriving before the 1 year anniversary, and is okay with DH just taking a week off.  Then we were planning on DH taking paternity leave Monday-Thursday (still working Friday-Sunday) during my student teaching; and Monday-Friday (still working Saturday-Sunday) for the two weeks that I'm back at work in August.

He hasn't gotten a straight answer from HR yet, but his coworkers are being real jerks about it.  They've never had a dad take paternity leave - and he is hearing them say things like "it won't be approved because you're not the mom" and "you won't be able to split the time like that, it has to be consecutive".

Now I know that the first statement he's hearing is false - that FMLA covers the right of the mom AND dad to take up to 12 weeks for the care of a new child within the first year.  My question comes with the second comment - I can't find anything that specifies that it has to be taken consecutively.  Is an employer allowed to make that determination?  Can they deny the second portion of his leave because it isn't consecutive to the first 5 weeks? 

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Re: FMLA Question

  • FMLA is not a bank of days to be parcelled out over the course of a year.  It is available when medically necessary.

    From the US Department of Labor website:

    The FMLA permits employees to take leave on an intermittent basis or to work a reduced schedule under certain circumstances. CFR Section 203)

    • Intermittent/reduced schedule leave may be taken when medically necessary to care for a seriously ill family member, or because of the employee's serious health condition.
    • Intermittent/reduced schedule leave may be taken to care for a newborn or newly placed adopted or foster care child only with the employer's approval.
  • Technically, he will need employer approval for the intermittent leave, but that doesn't mean that they won't do it. Hopefully they'll value you his work enough to not encourage him to take the whole few weeks off.  GL!

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  • I've never heard of it having to be consecutive. I was able to come back half days for a week under FMLA. My HR rep said FMLA doesn't have to be consecutive and that it can be spaced out. Now that may just be my company being lenient on the law but it makes sense to me. If you have a chronically sick kid then you'd likely want to use FMLA for their appointments and treatments and 12 straight weeks wouldn't be conducive to that.
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  • yes to all the above. it doesn't have to be consecutive. as a teacher i was even told by HR that if I wanted to save some of my FMLA to use throughout the school year to take every Friday off, I could.
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  • ditto to all the above, HOWEVER, i could swear that in some states it's 12 weeks combined to be taken by the parents.  so if you took 9 weeks, he could take 3.  doesn't make sense to me, but i read a lot about it when it pertained to me and i'm pretty sure i read this somewhere.

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  • imagep1nklemonade:
    ditto to all the above, HOWEVER, i could swear that in some states it's 12 weeks combined to be taken by the parents.  so if you took 9 weeks, he could take 3.  doesn't make sense to me, but i read a lot about it when it pertained to me and i'm pretty sure i read this somewhere.

    FMLA is not state law. It is federal. States can have less restrictive rules or give more time off/give paid leave, but they can't make it more restrictive than the federal law.  

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