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FMLA Rolling Calendar

I have a question regarding the rolling calculation method. We have an employee who used 6 weeks of FMLA from 6/8/07 to 7/23/07, then used 4 weeks from 5/2/08 to 6/1/08, and now is requesting 2 weeks from 6/1/08 to 6/16/08. Based on the rolling calculation method, is she eligible for 1 week from 6/1/08 to 6/8/08, and then a whole 12 weeks beginning from 6/8/08?

Just to review, there are 4 permissible ways to calculate FMLA, as you probably know. FMLA can be counted on the calendar year. It can also be calculated beginning on a fixed date, such as the beginning of the fiscal year or the employee’s annivarsary date. The most common method is a 12-month period from the first day that the employee uses FMLA leave. (Using this method, the employee would indeed be entitled to an additional 12 weeks of FMLA beginning 6/8/08.)

The final method of calculation is the one your company uses, the rolling year. Under this method, eligibility is calculated backwards beginning on the date the employee uses leave. In your example above, an employee who requested FMLA leave on 6/8/08 would only be entitled to 1 week of FMLA leave.  That’s because, counting backwards from 6/8/08 to 6/8/07,  the employee has already used 11 weeks of FMLA. If the employee took that week, on 7/24/08 she would be entitled to an additional 6 weeks of FMLA leave. On 6/2/08 she would be entitled to an additional 4 weeks of FMLA leave.

For more about calculating FMLA leave, see

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 26th, 2008 at 8:09 am and is filed under
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44 Responses to “FMLA Rolling Calendar”

  1. Cassie McCain Says:

    I requested 6 weeks of FMLA. I received a letter from my employer stating my 6 weeks of FMLA had expired, and if I do not return to work by that date, I would be terminated. I am entitled to 12 weeks under FMLA, should the later state the end of the 12 weeks, instead of the 6 weeks requested.

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Cassie! Yes and no. You are entitled to a total of 12 weeks of FMLA. However, if a particular illness or serious health condition only lasts 6 weeks, then that is all you can take. Generally an employee’s doctor certifies the employee’s serious health condition for a specific period of time. In your case, it appears to be 6 weeks. After that time ends, the employer can legitimately expect the employee to return to work.

    The bottom line is that you requested 6 weeks of FMLA,and now that 6 weeks is up. If you wish to take additional FMLA time, and you still have a serious health condition (or another qualifying reason) then you’ll need to complete the paperwork for additional FMLA. This may include having a doctor re-certify your serious health condition. Ideally, this would be done before your current period of FMLA ends. If not, it might be wiser to return to work for a few days (if possible) rather than be terminated for taking unapproved leave. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  3. Irene Daniel Says:

    My question is about the rolling calendar as follows…
    I had an FMLA approved 11/28/07 – 1/13/08 then again 4/29/08 – 6/22/08 in total I was off 14 weeks and 4 days. My position was not posted. I had a work related injury that required surgery and have been off since 3/30/09 with an estimated return date of 5/25/09. I received a letter indicating that I will reach 12 weeks on 4/27/09. I don’t understand that and was under the assumption that I was starting a new FMLA with 12 possible weeks not 5. I really need clarification and need to know if there is anything I can do if I’m right? Thanks

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Irene! The rolling calendar method of FMLA calculation is an unusual one for an employer to use, but it appears that your employer does, indeed, use it.
    To calculate the amount of FMLA leave that you have available under this method,you simply start with the first day of the current leave (3/30/09) and count backwards for one year, to 3/31/08. Any leave that you have used in that period, is deducted from the available FMLA balance. During that period, you have used 7 weeks and 4 days of FMLA (4/29/08 to 6/22/08) so you do indeed have about 5 weeks of FMLA left.
    If the employer was using a different way of calculating FMLA, you would indeed have 12 weeks of FMLA available. But your employer does not use another form of calculating FMLA. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  5. MaryJo Says:

    My question is regarding the rolling calendar method. I had shoulder surgery 9/11/08 and took 33 days FMLA. My husband had a stroke almost 3 weeks ago. Right now I’m using up sick & vacation days. I have 27 FMLA days left. When do I start “earning” back the 33 days that I took in 2008? My HR rep tried to explain it but he didn’t make any sense at all.

    Thank you.

  6. Socorro Says:

    I am entitle to 12 weeks of FMLA within a calendar year. Is this calculated as per work days or per regular week (7 days)or per hours (40 hrs per week)?

  7. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Socorro!

  8. sue Says:

    I am currently on a personal medical leave. I left work from 7/23/09 and I am scheduled to return 10/12/09. I requested fmla beginning 10/10/09 to help care for a sick parent he has end stage kidney failure. I was denied fmla because I didnt meet the 1250 hours. Employer stated they use 12 month rolling period. I received time cards and my hours from 10/10/08 to present are 1435.00 hrs. Why wouldnt I be eligible I have never requested FMLA?

  9. Michelle Says:

    Hey, I took Fmla leave on 10-13-09 to 11-16-09, I broke my foot. Now my Doctor just informed me today that I need surgery in Jan. 2010. I was informed from my employer that I only have 7 weeks left to take. I was wondering can they fire me for not returning in 7 weeks because I was informed from my doctor that I have to be out of work for 3 months. Can they legally fire me. Help !!!

  10. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Michelle! Yes, they can legally fire you. The FMLA requires an employer to give a worker 12 weeks of unpaid leave…but only 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Once that is used up, if you do not return to work, you can be fired, regardless of the reason for remaining out. If you had a permanent disability, different rules would apply. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  11. Vicki Torres Says:

    Do you know if there is a website or spreadsheet that offers a rolling calendar that will calculate how much FMLA is available for employees?

  12. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Vicki! No, because there are 4 different methods that can be used. The best tools are the FMLA tracking forms available at HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  13. Ray Says:

    Does an employee qualify for additional FMLA one year after the original date? More specifically, an employee exhausted their 12 weeks of FMLA taht began on 01/01/09, and was granted 40 more weeks under ADA. Would that employee qualify again for FMLA as of 01/01/10?

  14. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Ray! That depends — there are 4 different ways that an employer can tabulate FMLA. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  15. Ray Says:

    Thanks Caitlin. The company grants FMLA based on a rolling year. The employee, who is a cancer patient, took FMLA from 01/01/09 to 03/26/09, (12 weeks), was granted additional time off under ADA from 03/26/09 to 12/31/09 and granted FMLA again from 01/01/10 til 03/26/10. Was the company correct in doing that?

  16. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Ray! Yes, that would be one way to count FMLA. Employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of FMLA In each 12-month period. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  17. Judy Kennedy Says:

    I have an employee who used their 12 weeks of FMLA in 2009. He went out April 2009 and returned July 2009. He will need to go out again soon. We are on a rolling calendar year. I need clarification/reminder – when will employee be eligible for FMLA — April 2010 (when originally went out) or July 2010 (when returned)? Thanks.

  18. Bob Says:

    I was granted 12 weeks 480 hours FMLA Oct 30 2008,intermittent time 1-3days at time for a cronic condition epilepsy.Over the next year I had been going through Medication changes, since being diagnosed with sever side effects from taking Dilantin for so long. After about 11 months of trying different meds and levels of each I had lost track sa well as my Co., of my FMLA Hours and had use an extra 7 days. I reapplied for FMLA and was approved supposedly for 480 hours on 12-03-09, at which point I assumed the 7 days or 56 hours would be deducted from that leaving 424 hours, but once starting another med change and missing about 8 day over the next 6 weeks I was told I had no more FMLA days left because of a Rolling calendar. I understand a rolling calendar works backwards but what happened to the first 480hrs from 10-30-2008 I was approved for, if my 12-3-2009 approval is used for the time from then?

  19. Pati Says:

    I am an HR Generalist and I have an employee that has taken intermittent leave with his FMLA starting September 2009. His FMLA just ended on April 23, 2010. Our company uses the “Rolling 12 Month” for our employees. If I am correctly figuring this out, our employee if they return to work they will be eligible again for FMLA in September 2010 if they have worked a total of 1250 hours.

    Thank you for your feedback.



  20. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Pati! Yes, your calculations are basically correct. The most common method of figuring FMLA is the rolling forward method, where you count the number of days (or hours) of FMLA used from the first day the employee used leave. Using this method,the employee would be eligible for FMLA again beginning in Septemer 2010, assuming that he had worked 1250 hours in the previous 12 months. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  21. Meredith Wills Says:

    I was granted FMLA for a total knee replacement on 6/29/10. I am returning to work on 8/24/10 – using 8 weeks. The form HR sent to me indicated “a right under FMLA for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period calculated as a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date of any FMLA usage.”

    The doctor now indicates that the other knee also needs replacement and probably cannot wait a whole year. How soon do I need to have this done? How soon am I eligible for another FMLA and how many weeks?

  22. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Meredith! How soon you need to have your next knee replacement is between you and your doctor.
    Right now, you could take 4 weeks of FMLA. If you took more time off, you would be in danger of losing your job. You would not be entitled to another full 12 weeks of FMLA until 8/25/11. If you anticipate taking only 8 weeks off, you could do so on 6/29/11. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  23. acruz Says:

    how do you count the 12 weeks FMLA base on anniversary date. thank you.

  24. Caitlin Says:

    Hi acruz! If an employee is on continuous FMLA, 12 weeks means 12 weeks. Each week is 7 consecutive days. If the first day of FMLA is on Tuesday, the next Monday is the end of one week of FMLA. The following Monday is the end of 2 weeks of FMLA, and so on. It does not matter whether the employee normally works 1 day per week, 5 days per week or 7 days per week, for continuous FMLA a week is 7 consecutive days.
    Different methods are used when FMLA is taken intermittently. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  25. Jo Pearson Says:

    On rolling FMLA, if a person opened an FMLA claim on 2/26/10, and took one week starting 5/10/10 to care for daughter and although did not use any more; they are 1) still covered under FMLA through 2/26/11 AND since they are pregnant and having baby 2/4/11; then approx. 3 weeks covered under this “claim” and she would be eligible for another 12 weeks from 2/26/11-2/26/12. Is this a correct way to calculate rolling FMLA from fist date of last used? FMLA in any rolling 12 month period could be used for one or more reasons, correct?

  26. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Jo! Unfortunately, no, that is not how FMLA works. Using the rolling calendar method of FMLA, also called the rolling backwards method, you count backwards from the first day of the most recent FMLA leave. If you begin FMLA on 2/2/11, you will mark that date on a calendar and count backwards 12 months, to 2/3/10. Any FMLA taken during that period, for any reason, will be deducted from your 12 weeks of FMLA. In this case, you took one week of FMLA in May, so you will have 11 weeks of FMLA available. This is the total time available for prenatal appointments, pregnancy, childbirth and baby bonding.

    You are not automatically entitled to another 12 weeks of FMLA beginning on 2/26/11, simply because you opened a claim on that date the year before. That would be true if the employer were using another method of tabulating FMLA, but not under the rolling calendar method. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  27. Hilary Says:

    Hi Caitlin. I work in Wisconsin and am newly working on an FMLA project. Wisconsin has its own state FMLA which is calculated on a calendar year, but my company calculates it as a rolling 12-month period. Are there any complications with this and when certain periods end or any overlap?

  28. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Hilary! If you mean that you just started a job working for an employer covered by FMLA, you will not qualify for that leave until you have worked there 12 months. The short answer to your question is yes. Sometimes an employee can have used all 12 weeks of FMLA, but still qualify for additional leave under the Wisconsin family leave law, or vice versa. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  29. Jennifer Says:

    Started my fmla on Nov 1st 2009, for my sick husband, got pregnant, used all 480 of fmla by july 25th 2010. I went to reinstate my fmla dec 1 2010, and my hr dept said that i am not elidgable for fmla until july 25th 2010, how is that possible, (I dont know which method of fmla they are using Ie rolling backwards fwds etc) can you help clarify because i am throroughly confused!!!!

  30. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Jennifer! This may depend upon the method of counting FMLA the employer is using. Or, it may depend upon how many hours you have worked. An employee must have worked 1,250 hours in the past 12 continuous months to qualify for FMLA. The only people who can really clarify this for you are the HR department. Tactfully ask them to explain it. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  31. Jennifer Says:

    I talked to my Hr dept today and she told me that they used the rolling backwards method. Told me that since november 1st 2009-July 25 2010, I had exhausted all of my intermitetant FMLA, (All 480 Hrs) and that I would not be eligable again until July 25th 2011. What I am absolutely not understand, is why I am not elidgable again? I know from Nov 09 until current that I have worked 1250 hours, and I thought that FMLA could be reinstated every year? But from the way that my HR dept is explaining it, is making me think and understand that I have to go a year in between?? I have a husband who has brain cancer (with partial seizures) who stays home with our 7month old child at home, and as and when needed at times i need to either stay home or leave work. I have recieved a one day suspension for my absences and would greatly appreciate any and all help you could give me? My HR dept is just not explaing this, and the way they are explaining it is confusing, can u please help?? thanks again

  32. Jason Says:


    Am I correct in assuming that using the rolling forward calendar an employee could potentially use 23 weeks and 6 days in 1 block of time if they have only taken 1 day 364 days ago?

  33. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Jason! No, because the employee only “earns” additional FMLA time when he or she is working. So an employee who used 1 day of FMLA on June 1, 2011 would have 12 weeks minus one day of FMLA to use by May 31, 2012.

    Using the calendar year or a fixed date for FMLA, an emploiyee could potentially take 12 weeks ending Dec. 31 and then take another 12 weeks beginning Jan.1. HTH and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  34. Danielle Says:

    Hi! I used 10wks FMLA from 8/25/11 to 11/2/11. I am now pregnant and due 9/7/12. Company uses the rolling back method. Am I only entitled to 2 weeks, or would I qualify for essentially another 12 wk period since each day 1 more day would fall off my rolledback time count?

  35. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Danielle! While we do not know the details of your case, you are essentially correct. Based upon the info in your post, beginning 8/25/12, you will start “earning back” a day of FMLA for each day employed. However, keep in mind that any time you miss from work for pregnancy-related reasons, such as prenatal appointments or morning sickness, will be subtracted from your current total of two weeks of available FMLA leave. This is true, even if you take as little as an hour off — it can be deducted from your FMLA balance.
    Here is the easy way to tell exactly how much FMLA you have available: Take an hour or two off for a prenatal appointment, or even a full day for a reason related to pregnancy, and tell your employer that you want to use FMLA for that absence. By law, the employer must notify you in writing of your eligibility for FMLA after the absence. Or, if you feel comfortable doing so, simply call HR and ask them how much FMLA time you have left and how much you will have beginning 9/7/12. (You are not required to tell them why you are asking, if you prefer to keep your pregnancy secret for now.) Then you will know exactly where you stand and can make plans accordingly. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  36. colleen Says:

    I have had intermittent fmla that originally began on 7.19.2010. On 2.1.2012 I was informed I was no longer eligible for fmla again until 2.1.2013. I have well more than the 1252 hours required. My specialist has redone the paperwork every year. My hr person also said that intermittent fmla was never intended for the care or use long term throughout the year. I am under the impression of the chronic illness with unexpected absences is qualified for fmla. How do I have to wait a full year to have any available fmla again?

  37. Caitlin Says:

    Hi colleen! Like you, we are mystified. Of course FMLA is intended for intermittent use throughout the year for a chronic condition — many, many people use it this way every year. We also do not understand why you would not be entitled to FMLA. Each employer can choose one of 4 different ways to tabulate FMLA, however, under any method you are entitled to 12 weeks of intermittent in a 12-month period, each and every year. It sounds like your HR person is working with severely outdated information.
    Our suggestion: tactfully and respectfully ask the HR person to explain the method they are using to tabulate FMLA. If you are still unsatisfied, file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor at, or with the EEOC at They handle complaints when an employee is deprived of her rights under FMLA.
    If your chronic condition is also a disability, you may qualify also for unpaid time off as a reasonable accommodation under ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  38. Andrea Says:

    If an employee was granted FMLA from 5/10/2011-6/22/2011, now has a second request for 3/14/2012-4/14/2012 but doctor extended leave to 5/07/2011 using the rolling back method has the employee used all FMLA time as of 4/23/2012.

  39. rose ann oldson Says:

    i have beeb diganoised with a chronic illness which i currently seeing 5 doctors and on lots of meds. i ran out of fmla and on medical leave but must return to work in 2 weeks. my doctors say i need more time. now getting intervenous iron. my fmla was to restart again in august, but for some reason its not. what can i do. part of my health problem is serious fatigue and if i am late for work or have to call in sick, they will fire me. i am currently drawing disibility against my insurance plan. if they fire me i lose my medical plus my short term disibility.

  40. hrlady Says:

    Hi Rose Ann,

    FMLA only entitles an employee to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12 month period. I am not sure why you would not be entitled to an additional 12 weeks of FMLA, but it could be for several reasons. First, if you did not work 1250 hours in the previous year you would not be eligible for an additional 12 weeks of FMLA. Secondly, you may have exhausted your 12 weeks of FMLA and the 12 month period is not over. You should discuss your situation with the Human Resource department at your company.

    Short term disability usually covers a period of absence from 3 to 6 months, depending on your employers policy. You may have exhausted their short term disability benefit period.

    Your employer may offer a Long Term Disability plan. If they carry one it may be advisable that you apply for benefits. Again, you will need to discuss that with your employer. And remember not every employer carries long term disability insurance.

    And lastly, Social Security Disability benefits may be applicable. You should contact your local Social Security office and discuss your situation, they have a toll free number and website, as well. Social Security Benefits usually take about 5 months to start.

    Keep working with your Human Resource department, they will have the information available regarding FMLA, Short Term and Long Term Disability Benefits (if any).

  41. Nancy Says:

    My employer say that oura hours roll over o if I used my hours in a 12 month period when I reapply I only get the time as it falls back in from the year before. so say I was out in augut of 11 that time will fall back in in aug of 12, I do not get my 12 week each year I reapply. Is this true?

  42. bob Says:

    Hi, my employer uses a rolling back method. I used 53 days during the year. when i recertified my employer informed me i had 7 days to use, and as the days from the previous year dropped off i would gain days to use. I have since used those 7 days but five days have become available as they dropped off from the previouse year. the company has acknowledged that i have those days available but will not let me use them until i recertify again even though i jusr recertified 2 weeks ago. Is this legal?

  43. hrlady Says:

    Hi Bob,

    It appears that your company may be requesting an annual certification because your initial 60 days expired (12 weeks per year).

    This is completely legal, it is called annual certification, because your need for FMLA has lasted beyond a single FMLA leave, and the company can request you to provide a new medical certification in each new year of FMLA.

    Thank you for reading the

  44. Michelle Says:

    I work for a company that uses the rolling year method. I have recently taken over the FMLA leave portion of the Generalist and have had different interpretations of the rolling year explained to me. For example I have an employee who had intermittent FMLA from 10/5/2012 to 10/5/2013. As of 10/30/2013 she had used 532.23hours, well beyond the 480. Then on 10/22/2013 she requested FMLA again. According to my supervisor as of 10/6/2013 she is in a new certification year and has another 480 hours to use minus any days she has used from 10/6/13 thru today that apply to the new FMLA request. I thought this was incorrect as she would only be entitled to another full 12 weeks on 10/5/2014. If we are using the rolling back method she would gain days as they roll off starting from 10/6/2013 or am I wrong? Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

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