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Incentive pay hours don’t count toward the 1,250 hours required for FMLA leave

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in Employee Benefits Program,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. We are a hospital and we give employee “bonus” hours if they agree to work weekends and at other times that are difficult to staff. An employee has requested FMLA leave to care for a family member. Our employee has actually worked less than the FMLA-required 1,250 hours in the year, but because of the bonus hours, she has been paid as if she worked more than 1,250 hours. Does she qualify?

A. The FMLA requires an employer to grant requested leave to an employee for (among other things) care of a family member. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals recently noted that the 1,250-hours requirement uses the same standards as are applied to the Fair Labor Standards Act. "Hours worked" means actual hours, not paid hours.

Thus, you have no obligation to grant FMLA leave. You may, of course, elect to grant the employee personal leave. 

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