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‘Tis the season — for time off from work. But then, any season involving a holiday could have employers wondering how holidays impact FMLA leave administration. Employers might also wonder whether employees on FMLA leave are entitled to holiday pay. The answers will depend upon some specifics.

Counting the days

In regard to how to count holidays for employees on FMLA leave, if an employee is taking a full week of FMLA leave, the fact that a holiday may occur within that week has no effect; the week is counted as a week of FMLA leave.

If, however, an employee is using FMLA leave intermittently or on a reduced schedule (in less than a full week), the holiday will not count against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement unless the employee was otherwise scheduled to work on the holiday.

If, for example, Jo Employee will be on FMLA leave for the last full three weeks of November, the week of Thanksgiving can be counted as a week of FMLA leave.

On the other hand, if Jo will be on FMLA leave for only the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving, works Wednesday, and is not scheduled to work Thursday or Friday of that week, only Monday and Tuesday are counted as FMLA leave. If Jo also needed Friday off that week, and was scheduled to work on that day, Friday would also be counted as FMLA leave.

Holiday pay

When it comes to holiday pay, much will depend upon company policies. An employee’s entitlement to benefits other than group health care plan coverage, such as holiday pay, is determined by the employer’s established policy for providing pay when an employee is on other forms of paid or unpaid leave.

Many employers require employees to be at work the day before and after a holiday to receive holiday pay. There may be some exceptions, however, such as when an employee is on paid time off. In those cases, if an employee is substituting paid time off for unpaid FMLA leave for either of those days, the employee would be entitled to receive holiday pay.

If your policy indicates that employees on unpaid leave the day before and/or after a holiday are not eligible to receive holiday pay and an employee is on unpaid FMLA leave for either or both of those days, the employee may not be eligible to receive the holiday pay.

Key takeaway: Whether time off can be counted as FMLA leave around a holiday or whether an employee will be entitled to holiday pay will depend upon some specifics, such as whether the leave is taken in full weeks and what company policies indicate.