On May 30, 2023, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) released an opinion letter clarifying how holidays factor into calculations of family medical leave.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects the right of eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected time off for up to 12 workweeks in a 12-month period. Employees can use FMLA leave to recover from a serious health condition, to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition, or to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth or adoption placement. Under certain circumstances, FMLA leave can be taken intermittently.

Calculating FMLA Leave

FMLA leave is granted in allotments of workweeks, meaning it is calculated based on how much a worker typically works during a given week. For example, a worker who typically works four days a week and takes one day of FMLA leave will be using a different amount of FMLA leave (1/4th of a week of FMLA leave) than a worker who works five days a week and takes one day of FMLA leave (1/5th of a week of FMLA leave). The DOL has previously explained how FMLA leave can be taken in increments of less than a day using this “fraction of a workweek” analysis.

Holidays and FMLA Leave

This recent opinion letter made three major clarifications regarding how holidays factor into FMLA leave calculations.

1. Under the FMLA, if a worker takes a full workweek off, it is subtracted from their FMLA leave allotment as a full week of leave, even if any holidays fall within that week.
2. However, if a worker takes less than a full workweek off, then the holiday is not subtracted from their FMLA leave allotment unless they were supposed to work on the holiday.
3. Even if a worker takes FMLA leave during a week with a holiday, any “fraction of a workweek” analysis should still be done using the typical workweek.

To illustrate these three points, consider this example.

Suppose the Monday of a given week is a holiday. A worker who typically works Monday to Friday and takes the week off (Monday holiday, Tuesday to Friday FMLA leave) will have used 1 full week of allotted FMLA leave. However, if they take Monday and Tuesday off (Monday holiday, Tuesday FMLA leave), and return to work starting Wednesday, they will have only used 1/5th of a week of their allotted FMLA leave.

If you believe your rights have been violated under the FMLA, please contact a Levy Ratner attorney.