DOL Clarifies How Holidays Impact Partial Weeks Taken Under FMLA
On May 30, 2023, the Department of Labor (DOL) released an opinion letter clarifying how holidays impact FMLA. Whether the holiday time counts against FMLA depends on two factors:
- Whether the employee took a partial week off under the FMLA and
- Whether the employee was scheduled to work the holiday
Under the FMLA, eligible employees are provided 12 weeks of unpaid leave for their own or a family member’s serious health condition, or certain family military service-related reasons. The employee’s regular schedule, or work week, is the basis of the employee’s leave entitlement. Where an employee typically works a 40-hour week, the employee is eligible for 12 40-hour weeks of FMLA, or 480 hours. Employees typically working 30 hours a week are eligible for 12 30-hour weeks of FMLA, or 360 hours. Employees are allowed to use FMLA in a single block, intermittently in smaller blocks or on a reduced schedule.
The DOL’s opinion letter states that when an employee takes a full work week of FMLA and a holiday occurs during that work week, the entire week (including the holiday) is considered FMLA leave. However, where an employee elects to take less than a full work week of FMLA and a holiday occurs during that partial work week, the holiday is not counted as FMLA unless:
- The employee was scheduled to work the holiday and
- Used FMLA leave that day
The DOL stated that the guidance falls in line with its belief that in situations where less than a full work week of FMLA is taken, the employee’s FMLA should only be subtracted by the amount of leave actually taken.