How Do Employers Calculate FMLA Leave Around the Holidays?

By Franczek Radelet P.C. – Nov 21, 2017

Calculating FMLA Leave During A Holiday Week

Let’s use Thanksgiving Day as an example. If the employee gets Thanksgiving Day off as an employer holiday and then takes the entire rest of work week off for an FMLA reason, the employer should count the entire workweek as one full week of FMLA leave used. The same reasoning would apply if the holiday occurred on any other day of the workweek and the employee was otherwise absent for the remaining work days that week.

However, if the employee works any part of the workweek (e.g., he works Monday then is gone the rest of Thanksgiving week on FMLA leave), the employer cannot count the holiday as FMLA leave. Here, the employer can only count Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  29 C.F.R. § 825.200(h).

Calculating FMLA Leave During a Plant Shut Down or School Break

What if the employer shuts down operations for the entire week of Thanksgiving or at the end of the year or if a school/university closes down for winter break? Here, the regulations are clear:

If for some reason the employer’s business activity has temporarily ceased and employees generally are not expected to report for work for one or more weeks (e.g., a school closing two weeks for the Christmas/New Year holiday or the summer vacation or an employer closing the plant for retooling or repairs), the days the employer’s activities have ceased do not count against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement. [My emphasis]

In these situations, you cannot count the time against the employee’s FMLA allotment, even if it is obvious the employee would not have been able to perform the duties of the job during this break.

Calculating FMLA Leave Where the Employee Works Part of a Holiday Week

Just to confirm calculating intermittent FMLA leave during a holiday week: Let’s go back to our employee who works Monday of Thanksgiving week and is absent the rest of the week. There are only four workdays in this particular workweek, and he’s missed Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. So, he has used 3/4ths of a workweek of FMLA leave.

Contrast this with a non-holiday week: If there was no holiday this particular week, and he worked only Monday, he would have used 4/5ths of workweek of FMLA leave.

Still Can’t Get Enough of this Scintillating Topic?

We talk even more about FMLA calculations during a holiday week on an old podcast “Bah, Humbug! What Do I Do When My Employees Are Home for the Holidays?”


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