McKenzieHRFamily And Medical Leave Act #1 | McKenzieHR

Family And Medical Leave Act #1

Question: Have you ever had a situation where you looked back when applying FML leave, instead of looking ahead when counting the 12 month period? From my research this appears to be legal, just verifying I am reading and interpreting this correctly.



Yes, you can look back.  It is a rolling twelve month look back.  When the employee applies for FMLA, you look back a year to see how much FMLA was used in the past 12 months to see how much time the employee has used and how much they have left.  The problem with this is you have to continually roll the year and change the amount of time available.  It works to the business’ advantage, but is administratively burdensome.  There are a few people who get sick a lot and it would be good for these few.  Typically, someone needs FMLA for a temporary thing and it works well by just stating that the FMLA starts on January 15, 2014 and they have until January 14, 2015 to use their 12 weeks of FMLA.


That is exactly my dilemma.  One is the bookkeeping aspect, that it could turn into a nightmare.  The other is, what if I don’t want to look back?  Can I selectively look back and look forward at the same time?  (I think I know the answer.)

We have a woman who is coming off of FML for an adoption.  She know wants a reduced schedule to 3 days a week.. Instead of reducing the schedule, I would rather start her using FML again.


Thank you,




You have to pick one of the four options for the FMLA year and you can’t do two different FMLA years for different employees.

As for the employee who is returning from the birth or adoption of a child, you have the option of allowing the reduced schedule leave for child care, but the time off can still be charged to FMLA.  You can also deny this request.  This type of thing happens in schools all the time.

So I have a couple of questions:

When did the leave start?

How much time has she used since then?

This will determine the amount of time she has available for FMLA from the date she started the leave.  If she has time available, then allow her to go on reduced schedule until her FMLA is exhausted.  Once the adoption turns into child care, FMLA does not apply.

Call me if you need to talk.


She exhausted all of her leave between October and December. I think they are working her reduced right now, but I have denied every request that has come through so far.  This would be precedent setting for sure.  I am leaning towards flat out denying it.



What you are doing is allowing her to work part time.  It has nothing to do with FMLA.  Her FMLA is exhausted – so it does not apply.  If she has exhausted her FMLA in December, she does not have FMLA time to take until October of 2014.

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