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How Do Snow Days Affect FMLA Leave?

In the aftermath of a blizzard like the one the East Coast of the U.S. was digging out from during the last week of January, employers often ask how to calculate leave taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if their worksite was closed due to the weather. For an employee out on FMLA leave, should they count the snow day against the employee’s 12-week leave entitlement?

Although the FMLA rules do not directly address this question, the general rule for counting FMLA leave during a holiday week would likely apply. So:

  • If the employee is out on FMLA for the entire week, then yes, you can count the snow day against the employee’s 12 weeks of FMLA leave.
  • If the employee worked any part of the week, then only the days the employee would actually have been expected to report to work should be counted as FMLA leave.

Note that this rule applies for closures of less than a week. If an employer’s operations are shut down for one or more full weeks (for example, if your roof collapses under the snow and shuts down operations for a few weeks while repairs are made), any days the employee would not be expected to work should not be counted against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement.

Jeff Nowak is a partner at the law firm Franczek Radelet P.C. and author of the FMLA Insights blog, where this article, in slightly different form, originally appeared. © 2016 Franczek Radelet P.C. All rights reserved. Republished with permission.

Related SHRM Article:

PTO Use May Be Required During Inclement Weather, SHRM Online Legal Issues, January 2016

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