How to Calculate FMLA Leave Time Around the Holidays

By Sonal Shah, JD, Senior Employment Law Counsel
Published December 4, 2018

holiday leave time calendarThe holiday season is officially upon us. It’s time to start thinking about how the holidays affect the calculation of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) usage. Specifically, if your office is closed for the holidays, do those days count as FMLA time?

The answer? It depends. For employees taking leave on a continuous basis, you calculate the leave time in workweek increments. Thus, “the fact that a holiday may occur within the week taken as FMLA leave has no effect; the [whole] week is counted as…FMLA leave.” 29 CFR 825.200.

However, for employees taking leave on an intermittent or reduced scheduled basis, in increments of less than a full workweek, holidays should not count against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement, unless the employee was otherwise scheduled to work those particular days.

For example, let’s say your office is closed on Monday and Tuesday, December 24th and 25th. If the employee is off on those days due to the holiday and then takes FMLA for the rest of the week, the employee is considered to have taken a full week of FMLA leave. But, if the employee is off on Monday and Tuesday for the holiday, then takes two days of FMLA leave on Wednesday and Thursday, and works on Friday, then only Wednesday and Thursday will count as FMLA leave.

One last wrinkle: If your office closes entirely for one or more workweeks due to the holidays, then the days your employer's activities have ceased do not count against the employee's FMLA leave entitlement.

HR Source members with questions should see the Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet or contact us at or 800-448-4584.

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