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Sep09

FMLA Eligibility

I have an employee who has worked for us for 5 years but they work less than 1250 hours per year. Are they eligible for FMLA?

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides qualified employees of covered employers up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. An eligible employee under the FMLA is one who:
• Works for a covered employer;
• Has worked for the employer for at least 12 months;
• Has at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave; and
• Works at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

Thus, the employee’s extended length of service with the company is irrelevant in determining eligibility for FMLA leave. If the employee has not worked 1,250 hours in the 12 month period preceding the leave, then he is not eligible for FMLA leave.

Keep in mind there are special requirements for airline flight crews and special exceptions for returning military service members. If either applies to you, please comment on this question and we can research the eligibility criteria.

As a note, if an employee is not eligible for FMLA leave you may consider offering a personal leave of absence. Personal leaves of absence outside of legally mandated leaves are at the discretion of the employer. Such leaves are often considered in an effort to retain qualified employees. Just remember, if you decide to offer a personal leave to this employee, the same benefit should be awarded to other similarly situated employees to avoid discrimination claims. In fact, if personal leaves of absence are offered at all, it’s best to adopt a policy that clearly outlines eligibility criteria, allowable lengths of leave, and application procedures.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 at 7:58 pm and is filed under
Benefits, Labor Laws.
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