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Family and Medical Leave Act Advisor

Selecting a 12-Month Leave Year

Employers may choose one of four methods for determining the 12-month period in which the 12 workweeks of leave entitlement occurs:

  1. The calendar year;
  2. Any fixed 12-month "leave year"
  3. The 12-month period measured forward from the date any employee's first FMLA leave begins; or
  4. A "rolling" 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave.

Select a number above to learn more about that method for determining the 12-month leave year.

Employers are permitted to choose any one of the four alternatives provided the alternative chosen is applied consistently and uniformly to all employees. An employer wishing to change to another alternative is required to give at least 60 days notice to all employees, and the transition must take place in such a way that the employees retain the full benefit of 12 weeks of leave under whichever method affords the greatest benefit to the employee. Under no circumstances may a new method be implemented in order to avoid the FMLA's leave requirements.

An exception to this required uniformity applies in the case of a multi-state employer who has eligible employees in a state which has a family and medical leave statute. (See § 825.200(d)(2))

If an employer fails to select one of the four options for measuring the 12-month period before an employee requests leave, the option that provides the most beneficial outcome for the employee will be used. The employer may subsequently select an option only by providing the 60-day notice to all employees of the option the employer intends to implement. During the 60-day period any other employee who needs FMLA leave may use the option providing the most beneficial outcome to that employee. At the conclusion of the 60-day period the employer may implement the selected option.

Continue to Intermittent Leave or Reduced Leave Schedule or Return to the Employer Rights and Responsibilities Menu.

For more information on this aspect of the FMLA, see the FMLA regulations: § 825.200(b)