This year, both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Tuesdays. Many businesses will be closed during these mid-week holidays. Many other manufacturers often shut down for extended periods for retooling or for a more extended holiday break. These circumstances complicate how employers should calculate FMLA usage by their employees, so it is helpful to understand how to properly calculate FMLA leave during the holidays. Fortunately, the regulations issued by the Department of Labor provide some useful guidance to employers. Generally, if an employee is on an extended FMLA absence, say from December 15 to January 15 due to a surgery, then the holidays should count as part of the employee’s FMLA usage. In other words, the entire workweeks ought to be counted as FMLA leave, and the employee should be charged four weeks of FMLA.
If an employee is using FMLA leave intermittently, rather than as block leave, the rules are different. For example, if an employee is exercising leave intermittently due to a recurring serious health condition such as migraine headaches, then the holiday should not count against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement, unless the employee was otherwise scheduled and expected to work during the holiday.
Finally, for employers that shut down or do not require employees to report to work for one or more weeks at a time during the holiday season, then the period of time during the shutdown must not count against the employees’ FMLA leave entitlement. Thus, in the example above in which the employee is scheduled to take FMLA from December 15 to January 15 for a surgery, if the employer has a two-week scheduled shutdown period for retooling, those two weeks should not be counted as FMLA leave against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement. The employee should only be charged two weeks of FMLA leave due to the two-week shutdown.
Please keep the FMLA’s rules regarding holidays in mind during this time of year. As you can see, while holidays complicate FMLA leave calculations, these general rules will help employers properly account for FMLA usage.