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New parent child bonding

Our school district calendar runs from 7/01 to 6/30 yearly. If an employee took 6 weeks from 4/14/14 to 5/31/14 for the birth of a child, can the employee take FMLA again to start our new school year to bond with the child?

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks within a 12-month period of job protected, unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons including to bond with a newborn child.

Under FMLA regulations, an employee’s entitlement to FMLA leave for birth and bonding expires 12 months after the date of birth. Both mothers and fathers have the same right to take FMLA leave for the birth of a child. Birth and bonding leave must be taken as a continuous block of leave unless the employer agrees to allow intermittent leave.

Normally, a second request for leave to care for a newborn child who does not have a serious health condition within the first year would be considered intermittent leave since all of the leave was not taken consecutively. The employer must agree to allow the additional leave.

However, there are special rules for instructional employees of local educational agencies, including public school boards and elementary and secondary schools under their jurisdiction, and private elementary and secondary schools. The special rules do not apply to other kinds of educational institutions, such as colleges and universities, trade schools, and preschools. Such special rules can be found in 29 CFR Part 825.600-604, Special Rules Applicable to Employees of Schools. Under the regulations, leave taken for a period that ends with the school year and begins the next semester is leave taken consecutively rather than intermittently. Thus, if the employee in question is considered an instructional employee of a covered school, the employee should be allowed to take her remaining leave entitlement at the beginning of the school year.

One question that may affect the employee’s eligibility to take the second leave is why her initial leave ended four weeks prior to the end of the school year. Did the employee request only six weeks and then came back to work for four weeks? Or was the employee, regardless of her leave, not expected to work the last four weeks of the school year? If the employee only requested six weeks of leave and came back to work then the leave request for this year should be considered a second request and subject to approval.


This entry was posted on Thursday, August 14th, 2014 at 11:04 am and is filed under
Labor Laws.
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