Understanding 12 weeks unpaid leave time

I continue to struggle with understanding FMLA and need your advise. Our policy indicates an employee to use any accrued sick, personal and vacation time while out on FMLA. All the FMLA guidelines indicate 12 weeks of unpaid protected leave, so does this mean an employee still is entitled to an additional 12 weeks of unpaid leave after their paid leave is exhausted?
Also, our policy indicates an employee does not accrue vacation hours for the next calendar year for any unpaid FMLA leave. Is this ok?


  • 2 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • The FMLA requires a minimum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave. You can require your employees to take available leave concurrently, just as you can add work comp and other leaves to be used concurrently. Example: They have 5 weeks of leave available, and end up being off 12 weeks it would be 5 weeks paid and 7 weeks unpaid. If the employee needs more than 12 weeks, you will need to address it through ADAAA or your own extended leave policies.

    Your second question is much harder to answer. In general, you cannot take anything away from an employee who was out on FMLA that they would not have received if they had been at work. I know there is an exception for atttendence bonus policies, but I am unaware of any other exceptions. It may actually come down to how your policy is worded. If it is accrued based on actual hours worked or the same as worked (holidays, vacation, etc) you may be ok. My first reaction though, is no.

    Do any other forumites have any input here to help Traceyd?
  • Thank you for your reply. Our policy indicates an employee earns vacation hours based on their year's of service completed the previous year. Everything I have read indicates just as you stated, that an employee is to earn benefits just as if they were working, so that's why I questioned this matter. I understand in the past, an employee who was on leave was docked vacation hours the following year based on the amount of unpaid leave taken during the previous year. I just want to make sure I am in compliance.

    Thank you!
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