Do employees on FMLA leave get holiday pay?


Independence Day is just around the corner. Many employers have holiday pay policies that require employees to work the day before the holiday and the day after the holiday. Many employers also wonder whether employees on FMLA leave during that time are entitled to holiday pay.

The FMLA doesn’t have much to say about it:

  • An employee’s entitlement to [holiday pay] is to be determined by the employer’s established policy for providing such benefits when the employee is on other forms of leave — paid or unpaid, as appropriate (825.209(h) for all you fellow FMLA nerds out there).

To put this into practice, let’s say your policy says that employees who are on vacation the day before and after the holiday are entitled to receive the holiday pay. Employees who are on sick leave, however, are not entitled to receive the holiday pay.

So, if Emma Employee is on FMLA leave and chooses to use vacation during the leave so she can be paid, she would be entitled to the holiday pay. If she chooses to use sick leave, she would not be entitled to the holiday pay.

For employers with simple PTO policies, they would also apply. If an employee is on PTO the day before and after the holiday get the pay, and Emma chooses to use PTO during the otherwise unpaid FMLA leave during the holiday, she would get the holiday pay.

You may always provide the holiday pay for employees who are on FMLA leave regardless of whether they also use PTO. If so, you might consider including that in your applicable policies.

This year, Independence Day is on a Sunday, so perhaps your company will recognize Monday the 5th as the holiday. In such situation, employees might need to work the Friday before and Tuesday after. This would generally for employees who work a Monday – Friday schedule.

Key to remember:  ​Whether employees receive holiday pay while on FMLA leave depends upon what the company policy indicates. The FMLA doesn’t generally govern holiday pay.

This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.


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