KBS Reference Desk: Counting Days for FMLA

Q: Several employees in my District are currently on FMLA leave. Is it permissible to count the two (2) weeks the District is closed for Winter Break against the employees’ FMLA leave?

A:  No. When a school district closes for Winter Break, it may not count the days it is closed for business against an employee’s FMLA leave, unless the employee is scheduled to work during the closure.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks of leave in a single 12-month period. Whether a particular holiday may be counted against an employee’s FMLA leave depends on a few factors. However, in the above example—where the district is closed for one, multi-week holiday period during the winter—the district is prohibited from counting any of the days it is closed for business against an employee’s FMLA leave, unless the employee was otherwise scheduled to work during the closure, such as a security guard or maintenance staff.

For other holidays, the answer will depend on a few factors, such as the incremental frequency of an employee’s FMLA leave or the length of time the district is closed for a given holiday. For example, if an employee is using FMLA leave in increments of a week or longer, the fact that the district is closed for one day during a week will have no effect—the entire week is counted against the employee’s FMLA leave. On the other hand, “if an employee is using FMLA leave in increments of less than one week, the holiday will not count against the employee’s FMLA entitlement unless the employee was otherwise scheduled and expected to work during the holiday.” For specific questions about calculating FMLA leave, please contact your local school attorney.