Abuse of Intermittent

Need advice...so this is why I come to you! LOL
OK, so I have an employee who was approved for Intermittent Leave to care for his seriously ill wife. The doctor filled out the paperwork so vaguely that I had no choice but to approve him for leave to care for her intermittently. For example - the question that asks about episodic flare ups - the doctor wrote "No way to predict any episodic flareups with condition." Well, this person has been missing on average one day a week. His supervisors approached me today because there are rumors going around that his absences aren't related to his wife's illness. They apparently all hang out together outside of work (this is a weatherization program so it's similar to a bunch of guys in construction) and according to the rumors - his absences are often following a night out with the guys when he was "trashed" and his co-workers believe that's why he is missing.
What can I do?
He's approved for Intermittent for doctors appointments and for emergent care as needed. She doesn't go tot he doctor if she's just having a bad day and no one is there to care for her. (long story, she had surgery in the summer, complications from her surgery caused a heart attack on the table, she barely survived and now is disabled for life. can't drive and has good days and bad days and many days requires someone with her 24/7).
I'm lost at where to go from here.


  • 2 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • This is difficult. First, you are not required to accept vague certifications. You could have required more information from the doctor before approving the leave. But now that you have approved it, your best option is probably to seek recertification and attach a list of the employee's absences to see if the doctor can verify that they are consistent with the care his wife requires.

    Although there are some limitations on when a recertification may be requested, the regulations specifically state that recertification is allowed when you receive information that casts doubt on the stated reason for the leave. If the recertification is also incomplete or provides insufficient information, you may require the employee to go back to the doctor and get the problem corrected. If the certification is still inadequate, I would talk to a lawyer to fully examine my options with regard to terminating the employee.

    I would be interested in hearing other opinions on this as well.

  • In a perfect world the doctors would complete the certifications properly by giving all the requested information rather than saying "cannot determine"; and they would also address your request when you provide copies of the employee's attendance records.

    I have several employees with terrible attendance and I've been sending their records along with the certification for years but never get a response from the doctors addressing the issue. It's a losing battle.

    Wishing you luck with your situation.