There is a lot of misinformation floating around about employee rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Some mistakenly believe that their FMLA leave overlaps with any paid leave that they take. Others think that they must take all of their time at once or lose the remaining permitted leave.
While many people do need one large block of time away from work to recover from a medical condition or welcome a new child into their family, other people will need intermittent leave. They might need two days off of work after every physical therapy visit, for example. These individuals also have rights and protections under the FMLA despite the irregular nature of their leave requests.
The FMLA limits the duration of your leave but does not necessitate taking it all
Under the FMLA, qualifying employees at businesses required to comply with the law due to their size can take up to 12 weeks of leave when adding a child to their family, recovering from a medical condition or caring for a loved one.
Those 12 weeks of unpaid leave are in addition to any paid time off that the worker uses to cover their absence. While the FMLA does limit workers to 12 weeks of leave per calendar year in most cases, workers can take those 12 weeks over a much longer period of time. You could, for example, take one week of leave per month if that is what your condition, treatment or circumstances necessitates.
If your employer is not cooperating with your request for intermittent leave related to a medical condition, you may need to speak with a lawyer to get help protecting your rights.