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Ask the HR Expert — FMLA and Holiday Pay

Camille Bradbury /
Text: "Ask the HR Expert"

Q: We have an employee who will be on FMLA maternity leave during upcoming paid holidays. Do we need to pay this employee for those holidays?

A: Whether this employee is entitled to additional benefits (i.e., holiday pay) besides health insurance during her Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave is based on your organization’s established policy and what benefits are offered when employees take paid or unpaid leaves of absence.

If your organization doesn’t provide holiday pay to any employee who is on personal leave, educational leave, or another type of unpaid leave, the U.S. Department of Labor doesn’t require employers to provide holiday pay because it’s not a normal practice.

However, if your employees receive holiday pay while they’re on paid leave, your FMLA employee is entitled to holiday pay if she is substituting paid leave for unpaid FMLA leave.

As the employer, you have to be sure you are treating employees consistently with similar forms of non-FMLA/FMLA leave under your company’s policies.

Bottom Line:
Your company’s policy and pay protocols when employees are on leave will determine if you need to provide holiday pay for an employee taking FMLA leave.

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