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Home » Guidance on Calculating FMLA Intermittent Leave

Guidance on Calculating FMLA Intermittent Leave

by | Aug 2, 2023 | HR Legal Compliance

For employers with 50+ employees, eligible employees may, for qualifying reasons, take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period under the FMLA. Employees may also, under certain circumstances, take FMLA leave on an “intermittent” or “reduced schedule” basis. For example, an eligible employee might work 4 hours each day rather than 8 hours each day for many weeks or months for FMLA-qualifying reasons. In that situation, how do you calculate the available intermittent leave? According to Department of Labor guidance, the FMLA statutes use the “workweek” – not a defined number of hours or even the workday — as the basis for leave entitlement. Therefore, an employee’s normal or typical workweek is the controlling factor for calculating the total FMLA leave usage and determining when FMLA is exhausted. The FMLA regulations caution, however, that only the amount of leave actually taken may be counted toward the employee’s total leave entitlement.

The Steps for Calculating Intermittent Leave

The calculation of FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) intermittent leave involves determining the amount of leave an employee is entitled to take for a qualifying reason in an intermittent or reduced schedule manner.

Determine eligibility. Confirm that the employee meets the eligibility criteria for FMLA, which includes working for a covered employer, having worked for the employer for at least 12 months, and having worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12-month period.

Identify the qualifying reason. Determine the specific reason for the intermittent leave that qualifies under FMLA. This can include serious health conditions of the employee or their immediate family members, pregnancy-related matters, military caregiver leave, etc.

Calculate the total leave entitlement. Determine the total amount of FMLA leave the employee is entitled to within a 12-month period. FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks (or 480 hours) of leave in a 12-month period, although the specific calculation method may vary depending on the employer’s chosen method (e.g., calendar year, rolling backward, rolling forward, or fixed 12-month period).

Establish the leave schedule. Determine the frequency and duration of the intermittent leave required based on the qualifying reason. For example, an employee might require two hours of leave every Monday for medical appointments or three days of leave per month for a chronic condition.

Track leave usage. Keep a record of the actual hours or days of intermittent leave taken by the employee. This can be done through a timekeeping system or other documented means.  Deduct the actual hours or days of intermittent leave taken by the employee from their total FMLA leave entitlement. This deduction can be done based on the actual time taken (e.g., subtracting hours or days) or by converting the leave into hours and subtracting the corresponding hours.

Monitor remaining FMLA entitlement. Continuously track the remaining FMLA leave entitlement for the employee. Ensure that the employee does not exceed their allotted FMLA leave duration within the 12-month period.

It’s important to note that these are general guidelines, and specific calculations and policies may vary depending on the employer, the applicable state laws, and any collective bargaining agreements in place. It’s recommended to consult the official FMLA regulations, your organization’s policies, or seek legal advice for accurate and compliant calculation of FMLA intermittent leave.

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