- Department of Family and Medical Leave
The Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) has recently issued the following guidance on Intermittent Leave and Reduced Leave Schedule.
Intermittent Leave, as defined in 458 CMR 2.02, is:
- Leave taken in separate periods of time due to a single qualifying reason, rather than for one continuous period of time. Examples of intermittent leave include leave taken on an occasional basis for medical appointments or leave taken several days at a time spread over a period of months. Intermittent leave shall be taken in increments consistent with the established policy of the employer or covered business entity uses to account for use of other forms of leave; provided, however, that the Department will not pay in increments of less than 15 minutes. A covered individual shall not be permitted to apply for payment for benefits associated with intermittent leave until they have eight hours of accumulated leave time, unless more than 30 calendar days has lapsed since the initial taking of such leave.
Reduced Leave Schedule, as defined in 458 CMR 2.02, is:
- A leave schedule that reduces the usual number of hours per workweek, or hours per workday, of a covered individual.
The Department of Family and Medical Leave (the “Department”) is issuing this guidance, pursuant the M.G.L. c. 175M, § 3(b)(3), to clarify the definitions of intermittent leave and reduced leave schedule.
Medical Leave or Qualifying Exigency Leave:
- For intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule taken because of one's own serious health condition, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness, or leave for a qualifying exigency, the minimum increment may not exceed one hour. For claims administered by the Department, increments must be measured in 15-minute multiples as smaller minimum increments cannot be administered. As of January 1, 2021, the Department will default to 15-minute minimum increments for all employers.
- For family leave to bond with a child during the first 12 months after the child's birth, adoption, or foster care placement, family leave may be taken on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule only if the employer and covered individual mutually agree. This guidance shall not impact an employer’s ability to approve a mutually agreed upon intermittent or reduced family leave schedule for purposes of bonding.
A covered individual must submit a request for intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule within the applicable minimum increment, otherwise the request will be rounded down to the applicable minimum increment or, if the minimum increment is not satisfied, no benefits will be paid.
In all circumstances, intermittent leave and leave on a reduced leave schedule shall be paid by the Department in increments of at least 15 minutes and only when an employee has accumulated eight hours of leave time or more than 30 calendar days has lapsed since the initial taking of such leave.
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