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Calculating FMLA during the Holidays

November 20, 2020 • April Mabry

Calculating FMLA during the Holidays

As the holidays approach, it’s important to review the basic principles of counting time off against an employee’s 12 weeks of family and medical leave (FML).

The amount of FML taken during the holidays depends on whether the leave is continuous or intermittent, the length of the holiday, and the employee’s established work schedule.

Mid-year holidays

Leave taken intermittently daily 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.

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 is open for part of the week and the employee is scheduled to work, the break is considered a brief holiday break and the entire week can be counted as a full week of FML.

If the district closes for two full-calendar weeks for the winter break, the weeks are not counted as FML 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.

Summer break

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. For 11- and 12-month employees, summer weeks count as FML if the weeks are within the regular work schedule.

Expanded family and medical leave

The principles counting standard FML apply to expanded family medical leave (EFML) up to the December 31, 2020, expiration date. If EFML is taken continuously and counted as weeks, breaks of less than a full week can be counted against the employee’s entitlement. Closures for a full week or more would not count against the employee’s EFML (i.e., one week at Thanksgiving, two weeks of winter break).

For more information on FML, see Family and Medical Leave Benefits in the HR Library. Various resources related to EFML are available in the Epidemic Response section of the HR Library. Additional information also can be found in the 2016 edition of The Administrator’s Guide to Managing Leaves and Absences, which is available for purchase in the TASB Store.


April Mabry is an assistant director at TASB HR Services. Send April an email at april.mabry@tasb.org.


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Tagged: Benefits, "Employment law", "Family and medical leave", FMLA, Leave