Log in links for this page

Understanding the different ways you can schedule your leave

Paid family and medical leave can be taken on a continuous, reduced, or intermittent schedule. Here's how.

Table of Contents

Types of leave schedules

When taking Paid Family and Medical Leave, you can choose three different ways to schedule your leave and also mix and match from these types to fit your needs.

Continuous leave

This is when you’re taking leave from work completely for days or weeks at a time. For example, if you have surgery, you may need several continuous weeks of paid leave to recover.


Reduced leave

This is when you are working a reduced work schedule that is still consistent week-to-week.

For example, if you normally work 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday, and your partner recently had a baby, you may want to work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 6 weeks to bond with your child. For reduced leave, you would work this same schedule (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) every week for the length of your leave.

Intermittent leave

This is when you need to take time off here and there, sometimes in unpredictable intervals. You can take Intermittent leave for all types of family or medical leave.

For example, you or your family member have a long term medical condition that can flare up without warning, requiring time off from work.

If you are applying for intermittent leave, you will need to discuss your leave schedule with your employer. Then you will need to work with a health care provider to certify the need and duration of your leave.

Your health care provider should use this form to confirm:

  • The reason you are planning to take family or medical leave

  • An estimate of how long you or your family member’s family or medical leave should last

  • The frequency of which they expect you or your family member to need to take leave

The Department will confirm the terms and schedule with your employer as part of the approval process.

How do I report intermittent leave hours

Unlike continuous or reduced leave, your leave will not follow a set schedule so you need to report how many hours of leave you take each week. Do not report the hours you worked.

Once your application is approved and you go on leave, you need to call the Hours Reporting line at (857) 972-9256 each week to report the intermittent leave hours you used. Your employer can call to confirm what hours you reported as well. When reporting intermittent leave hours, be aware of the length of your leave and your total approved hours.

For example, if you get approved for 40 hours of leave over 3 months, you can take a maximum of 40 hours during those 3 months. This does not mean you are approved for 40 hours per week for 3 months.

If your actual leave schedule differs from what you were approved for, the Department may ask for a refund of benefits.

How do I get paid for intermittent leave

Unlike continuous or reduced leave, your leave hours may vary so your payments will reflect this. You can first apply for payment from the Department after you have taken 8 hours of accumulated leave time. If you have taken less than 8 hours of leave in the first 30 days of your leave, you can call to report those hours. The Contact Center will record your information and send it to your employer for review. The Department will issue payment once your employer confirms your leave.

You must report the hours of leave you take so we can make sure you’ve used your expected benefits and received the correct payment.

If you need intermittent leave more often than you anticipated or you’re on intermittent or reduced leave and would like to switch to a continuous leave, you may need to begin a new paid leave application. Learn more about extending or changing your leave.

Additional Resources

Combining leave schedules

You can combine the different types of leave to fit your needs. You can use one application to apply for both continuous leave and reduced leave, if you’re taking both. Intermittent leave always requires its own application and can incur a second 7-day waiting period.

Some examples:

  • Sumi has a hip replaced, and needs to take off six weeks of continuous leave to recover from the surgery. After those six weeks, she works half as many hours as usual for four weeks (reduced leave), and then is back to her normal schedule. Sumi’s continuous and reduced leave can be combined in one application.

  • Jose is receiving radiation for brain cancer. He takes reduced leave, working five hours a day, instead of the seven hours a day he typically works, while he is undergoing radiation. After he completes his radiation, he finds he is still very tired, and sometimes needs to take a day off to rest here or there. He uses intermittent leave to cover these days. Because he’s using reduced and intermittent leave, he has to create two applications for leave, and each week where he uses his intermittent leave he has to call in and report the hours of leave he took. 

  • Mackela adopted a baby and took eight weeks of continuous leave to bond with her child. After those eight weeks, she took four weeks of reduced leave, working 3 days a week, to adjust back to work.

7-day waiting period

In most cases, when you begin your paid family or medical leave there is a waiting period of seven (7) calendar days before benefit payments will start. You will not receive benefit payments during this waiting period.  Also, these seven (7) days will count against your total available leave for the benefit year.  

If you have been approved for intermittent leave, the waiting period will be seven (7) consecutive calendar days after you first report your leave hours.

There will be a 7-day waiting period for each instance of paid leave you take, with only one limited exception: the waiting period will be waived for new mothers who took medical leave either during pregnancy or to recover from childbirth and are taking family leave to bond with a child immediately after the previous medical leave.   

During the 7-day waiting period, you can use your Paid Time Off (PTO) and are afforded job protection.

If you’re on intermittent or reduced leave and you would like to switch to a continuous leave, you’ll need to begin a new paid leave application.

If your actual leave schedule differs from what you were approved for, the Department may ask for a refund of benefits.

Contact

Phone

For questions about benefits and eligibility: (833) 344-7365

Department of Family and Medical Leave - Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

Fraud Reporting Hotline: (857) 366-7201

Department of Family and Medical Leave - Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

Intermittent Leave Hours Reporting Line: 857-972-9256

Department of Family and Medical Leave - Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

For questions about contributions and exemptions: (617) 466-3950

Department of Revenue - Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Last updated: July 13, 2021
Feedback