The buzz among employers is that when employees abuse intermittent FMLA leave, they often do it to get a long weekend. The phenomenon even has a name: “Friday/Monday absence pattern.”

So it’s understandable if supervisors may have been keeping a special eye out for Friday or Monday absences by those certified for intermittent FMLA leave.

Imaginary pattern?
And yet, a new survey casts doubt on the idea that such a pattern really exists. The survey, by the Integrated Benefits Institute, a San Francisco-based consultancy, contacted 161 employers with a combined workforce of 520,000.

Over the survey period, these employers reported 920,000+ intermittent leave requests, which were evenly distributed through the week: 19% on both Monday and Tuesday, 18% on Wednesday, and 17% on both Thursday and Friday.

Evidence lacking
“We kept hearing from employers that this Monday/Friday issue was a horrible problem … and we just can’t find any evidence that says it’s widespread,” IBI President Thomas Parry said.

So by all means, watch out for intermittent FMLA abuse. Just don’t focus all your attention on whether folks are gaming the system to create three- and four-day weekends.

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