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Do I have to take a medical leave all at once?

Any time a significant medical or family event occurs, it has the potential to greatly disrupt your life. Sometimes, it requires that you take time away from other obligations like extracurricular activities, relationships and even your job.

In regard to taking time away from your job, this is possible thanks to the Family Medical Leave Act. If you suffer from a serious health condition, care for someone else with one, or if you welcome a child into your family, then you may qualify for protected leave from work. You should understand that you don't need to take this time all at once, which may be preferable for people who don't want or need to take time away in one single block of time.

Intermittent leave allows workers to take time off periodically or to reduce the amount of time they work in a day or a week. This flexibility can allow a person to spread out their leave in a way that suits his or her needs. However, there are some limitations and rules to keep in mind.

If you want to take intermittent leave for a medical condition or to care for someone else, you are expected to make reasonable efforts to give notice of an upcoming leave and take steps to try and schedule medical treatments and appointments in a way that does not "disrupt the employer's operation." Essentially, this means that you should consider how intermittent leave will impact your employer and make a concerted effort to minimize the negative impact a periodic leave may have.

If your intermittent leave is in regard to caring for a new child, you must first secure your employer's approval to take leave in separate blocks of time. If this happens, the leave must be concluded within one year of the birth, fostering or adoption of a child.

While employees are still protected under the FMLA when taking intermittent leave, there are some different rules that apply to this type of leave. Before you make a costly mistake or assumption about your rights, it can be crucial that you discuss your legal options about protected leave with an attorney.

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