Turkey iStock_000001827125XSmall.jpgQ. I have an employee who is certified for FMLA leave. Our office is closed for Thanksgiving next Thursday and Friday. Do those days count as FMLA leave?

A. It depends upon whether the employee is absent for the entire week. 

Under the FMLA, leave is calculated in workweek increments. While employers have to deal with fractions of workweeks to keep track of shorter leaves and intermittent or reduced schedule leave, the workweek is always the basic unit. Consequently, “the fact that a holiday may occur within the week taken as FMLA leave has no effect; the week is counted as a week of FMLA leave.” 

However, the situation is different if the employee is using FMLA leave in increments of less than a full workweek. In that case, the holiday days will not count against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement unless the employee was otherwise scheduled to work on those days. 

Under the FMLA, leave is calculated in workweek increments. While employers have to deal with fractions of workweeks to keep track of shorter leaves and intermittent or reduced schedule leave, the workweek is always the basic unit. Consequently, “the fact that a holiday may occur within the week taken as FMLA leave has no effect; the week is counted as a week of FMLA leave.” 

However, the situation is different if the employee is using FMLA leave in increments of less than a full workweek. In that case, the holiday days will not count against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement unless the employee was otherwise scheduled to work on those days. 

So, for an employee who is scheduled to work Monday through Wednesday, but has Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving, if the employee is off on FMLA leave Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, that counts as one full week of FMLA leave. However, if the employee works on Monday and Tuesday, but goes out on FMLA beginning Wednesday, then only Wednesday counts against the employee’s leave entitlement. But, because FMLA is measured by week, and this particular week has only three days, the one day of FMLA leave counts as 1/3 of a week, instead of 1/5th as it would in a typical 5-day workweek. 

For more on how FMLA leave works during the holidays, check out episode 7 of our FMLA Insights Podcast. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!