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August 31, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – FMLA

Filed under: Employment Law,FMLA,General HR Buzz11:46 am

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is difficult for even the most experienced HR person to administer.  There are many pitfalls and opportunities to make mistakes.  One of the most confusing items is understanding eligibility – both for the company and the employee.   Below are some Q&A’s which define eligibility requirements.

1)       Do you really have 50 or more employees or 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius?

  • You must have had 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.  Therefore employees aren’t eligible for FMLA leave the day you “hit” 50 employees.
  • Employees on paid or unpaid leave are counted toward the “50” as long as they are expected to return.  Part time employees are also counted.

2)       Has the employee been working for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive)?

  • If he’s been on the payroll for any part of a week, including during paid or unpaid leave during which other benefits have been provided (e.g., worker’s comp or group health) then the week counts.  Time spent in active duty military service counts toward eligibility.

3)       Has the employee worked at least 1250 hours during the 12 month period immediately before the leave?

  • Whether 1250 hours have been worked is determined according to “compensable hours” standards of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
  • If accurate records aren’t available or if exempt employees are involved, then the employer has the burden to show that the employee hasn’t worked the 1250.

4)       Has the employee already exhausted the amount of leave available?

  • An eligible employee is entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during a 12 month period or 26 weeks for Servicemember (Caregiver) leave.  How do you define your leave period?  Is it the best definition for the company?

By answering these questions, you should have a good understanding if your company falls under FMLA guidelines, along with individual employees.  The DOL has a great fact sheet that you may find useful:    http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28.htm.

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