November 2016, Vol. 2

Holidays and FMLA

by April Mabry

Q: Do holidays count toward an employee’s FML entitlement?

A: Determining whether a holiday counts toward an employee’s family and medical leave (FML) entitlement depends on if the leave is continuous or intermittent, the length of the holiday, and the employee’s established work schedule.

Leave taken intermittently on a daily basis or on a reduced-schedule is generally counted as days or hours. In these circumstances, holidays would not be counted against the employee's FML.

When FML is taken on a continuous basis and counted as workweeks, any week that includes a brief holiday break (e.g., Labor Day and Memorial Day) can be counted as a full workweek of leave. The week of Thanksgiving can be counted as a full-week of FML as long as the district is open for part of the week and the employee is scheduled to work.

Longer holidays, such as winter break, spring break, and the summer, when the district closes for one or more calendar weeks, or when the employee would not normally be scheduled to work for one or more weeks do not count against FML entitlement. Applying this principle to the week of Thanksgiving, the week is not counted as FML provided the district is closed for the entire week.

If the district closes for two full-calendar weeks for the winter break, the weeks are not counted as FML if the employee is not scheduled to work at all during those weeks, as long as the employee’s regular schedule does not require working during the break. If an employee on FML is normally scheduled to work part of the week (e.g., custodial staff), the entire week could be counted as a week of FML.

The employee’s regular work schedule dictates whether weeks during the summer are counted as FML. FML is not counted during the summer break for teachers and other ten-month employees who are not scheduled to work. Summer weeks would count as FML for 11- and 12-month employees as long as the weeks are within the regular work schedule.

Additional information on family and medical leave is available in the HR Library topic Family and Medical Leave and in the 2016 edition of The Administrator’s Guide to the Managing Leaves and Absences, which is available for purchase in the TASB Store.