Q. We have an employee on intermittent FMLA leave. How do we track how much FMLA leave he has used?
A. The FMLA regulations talk in terms of a week and prorating the 12 weeks of leave based on the individual’s absence. For example, a person who typically works 40 hours a week is absent for 20 hours of FMLA leave has used 1/2 of a week of his FMLA entitlement. Many companies convert the 12 weeks to a total number of hours based on the employee’s work schedule and offset absences from that amount. Although the regulations don’t specifically talk about converting those 12 weeks to hours for easier tracking, it also doesn’t prohibit it. The caution is that you must calculate those hours based on the employee’s typical work schedule. For example, if you have an employee who regularly works 45 hours a week, that equates to 540 hours (45 hours x 12 weeks). If the employee works variable hours, the FMLA regulations say that you should average the hours worked by the employee over the previous 12 months prior to the beginning of the leave. Properly calculating use of leave is key to preventing a challenge from the employee regarding his FMLA entitlement.
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