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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

In last month's Business Talk column, a subscriber asked about holiday pay for workers taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Several of you asked us to elaborate on the answer.

To decide whether you're on the hook for holiday pay, look at two things: What the company policy allows and whether the employee is on paid or unpaid FMLA leave. The rule of thumb, according to a Labor Department directive: If an employee is on paid FMLA leave (meaning he's substituting paid leave for all or part of his FMLA leave), then he's likely entitled to holiday pay. If he's on unpaid FMLA leave, he's not entitled to it.

The issue gets stickier if you try to enforce a holiday policy that requires employees to work the days before and after a holiday to be paid for the holiday itself. The reason: Attendance policies can't penalize employees for using FMLA leave.

Example: Say an employee arranged a reduced work schedule to undergo FMLA-qualifying medical treatments. If his intermittent FMLA leave happens to occur right before or right after a holiday, you shouldn't withhold holiday pay due to his absence.

Best bet: Apply your practices consistently. If you grant holiday pay to employees on other types of leave, provide the same benefit for those on FMLA leave.

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