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Integrated Medical Leave and Accommodation Management System™

Can employees use intermittent FMLA for doctors’ appointments?

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Question:

Carlos has an employee who is requesting to use intermittent FMLA for doctors’ appointments, is this allowed? If it is allowed, does this include all types of appointments or only ones where the employee is receiving medical treatment such as physical therapy, dialysis, etc. How about a medical appointment to renew a prescription at the appointment be considered treatment?

Answer:

The FMLA is designed to provide protected time off with medical benefits for employees with confirmed Serious Health Conditions (SHC). The leave is provided on a predictable schedule, in blocks of time or a reduced workweek schedule or unpredictable ongoing, as needed, intermittent leave. Once it has been confirmed the employee has a SHC it will be up to the medical provider to verify what time they need off to manage their SHC. 

If that time off required to manage the SHC includes predictable or unpredictable medical appointments, the medical provider should spell out the time off needed. This could include any medical appointments or treatment related to the SHC, whether for evaluating current medical conditions, evaluating medications, renewing prescriptions, for physical therapy, or for whatever the medical provided indicates they need. So the answer is yes, the employee is able to use FMLA leave for whatever the medical provider indicates is necessary, including time off for physical therapy, dialysis, and medical appointments to evaluate and/or renew prescriptions.

 

Sometimes, an employee needs just a few hours of FMLA leave to mitigate or manage their serious health condition, which could include attending a doctor’s appointment.  When can an eligible employee use FMLA leave? Most often, employees will not use magic words such as “FMLA” and “serious health condition” in their requests for leave. Do you know what questions to ask to determine whether the employee’s request is one that would be FMLA-qualifying or if you should be addressing the ADA also? 

Learn how to create, manage, and coordinate workflows and implementation procedures to assure you are in compliance with not only FMLA but also ADA and other related medical leaves, with our Integrated Medical Leave and Accommodation Management System™. Know the facts before taking action! Leave Management Solutions’ ADA Accommodation Blueprint, for both CA/USA and USA, is designed to help you navigate the regulations. Our unique approach will help you stress less and streamline your workday. 

With almost three decades of experience, we know FMLA management. Learn from Beth De Lima, MBA, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, an HR specialist and Employee Litigation Expert Witness with more than 28 years of complex medical leave/accommodation expertise.

HR professionals are among the most versed about FMLA implementation because they are likely to be the ones responsible for adopting FMLA policies and procedures in firms across the country. Whether you use a Third Party Administrator (TPA) or are responsible for the implementation of FMLA yourself, you will be responsible for all the activities of the TPA. By HR for HR, understand the nuances, strategies, and red flags to medical leave and accommodation management. 

Our courses and workshops were created for HR, by HR.

 

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