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  1. #1

    Default Employer Denies Holiday Benefits Under FMLA

    This is in Colorado.

    I'm currently taking part in FMLA. One of the stipulations my company has is that employees using FMLA must use all there PTO (paid time off) except for 40 hours. I've heard this is common.

    I had a lot of PTO built up and am currently using it as per my company's regulations. However, my employer is saying that they won't give me holiday pay (Christmas and New Years) and that I must use my PTO instead.

    Now, if I were simply taking an extended vacation using all my PTO, I'd get holiday pay. However, since I'm under the FMLA and using my PTO, I'm not going to get paid my holiday pay. Is this legal? It certainly isn't fair.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    28,087

    Default Re: Employer Denies Holiday Benefits Under FMLA

    can you comply withthe rules regarding being paid for the holiday?

    FMLA does not set aside comapny rules as to pay and the requirements to recieve pay.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Employer Denies Holiday Benefits Under FMLA

    Although the law does not require that employees on FMLA (or any other kind of leave) be paid holiday pay (certain exceptions for exempt employees), the law does say that FMLA cannot be treated differently than employees on other kinds of leave. So if an employee on vacation or a non-FMLA leave of absence would get holiday pay, you should get holiday pay. If they wouldn't, you needn't.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Employer Denies Holiday Benefits Under FMLA

    If I wasn't on FMLA, I'd be getting holiday pay. That's what makes me so angry. In fact, I have a coworker who's on vacation right now using his PTO. We were talking how it didn't seem fair that he gets holiday pay for using his PTO but since I'm in the FMLA program I don't receive it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Employer Denies Holiday Benefits Under FMLA

    Then contact the US DOL and file a complaint.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Employer Denies Holiday Benefits Under FMLA

    I've sent an email to my HR department telling them what I've found and that people substituting PTO for unpaid FMLA leave are entitled to holiday pay just as employees who aren't in FMLA are.

    I'll see what they say and then file a complaint if warranted.

    Thanks for your help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Employer Denies Holiday Benefits Under FMLA

    That's an excellent way to handle it. Good luck.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Employer Denies Holiday Benefits Under FMLA

    Well, here's what my HR department says about the whole thing. Apparently, under FMLA, they put me on a 'leave' status, even though I'm being paid through my accumulated PTO. As such, they don't have to pay holiday benefits while on 'leave' status. I guess I'm out of luck.

    Here's their reply:

    Hello Jason,

    PERSON asked me to review and respond to your inquiry regarding holiday pay and FMLA. For your reference, I am including the link the Department of Labor website with the actual FMLA regulation. Under the FMLA, employees on paid or unpaid leave are not entitled to any "other benefit" (aside from Health benefits for up to 3 months) unless the employer also offers these "other benefits" to any employee on any other form of leave of absence (i.e. personal leave, military leave, etc.). Holiday pay is not a vested or accrued benefit and is not offered to any employee whose status is "Leave". Employees on leave also do not accrue PTO while on leave. However, the employer can require employees to use their accrued and vested vacation, sick and/or PTO as pay substitution while on unpaid leave. For leave policy purposes, COMPANY considers any time not worked for employees on leave as "unpaid" - even if they are using PTO, Disability, Worker's Comp, etc.

    COMPANY is compliant with the regulations for FMLA and we are administering it appropriately. If you click on this link, you can review the sections under "Other benefits" and Substitution for Paid Leave". These sections will provide with the information you are seeking.

    http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/1421.htm

    Here is an excerpt of the formal regulation:

    h) An employee's entitlement to benefits other than group health benefits during a period of FMLA leave (e.g., 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). [60 FR 2237, Jan. 6, 1995; 60 FR 16383, Mar. 30, 1995]
    http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/esa/ti...CFR825.209.htm

    If you have additional questions, contact me directly.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Employer Denies Holiday Benefits Under FMLA

    OK. I think I figured out what my company is doing.

    1. During paid leave, holiday benefits are paid and PTO accrual occurs.

    2. During unpaid leave, holiday benefits are NOT paid and PTO accrual does NOT occur.

    3. FMLA is considered unpaid leave at my company.

    4. Since I'm on FMLA, I'm considered to be on unpaid leave, even though I'm getting paid through the use of my accumulated PTO.

    5. Even though I'm required to use my PTO and am getting paid my regular salary while doing so, I'm still considered to be on unpaid leave and therefore my company does not have to pay me holiday benefits or allow my PTO to accrue at the regular rate.

    Seems really unfair to me. I should have just taken all my PTO time until it ran out after the holidays and then asked to be put on FMLA for the remaining time up to 12 weeks.


  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Employer Denies Holiday Benefits Under FMLA

    I don't have a problem with paid vs. unpaid leave being treated differently. From my perspective in HR, that's perfectly logical. I know for a fact that it is legal.

    What I have a problem with is their calling it unpaid leave when you are using your PTO. I don't think it would do any harm for you to call the US DOL and ask them what they think. You can call anonymously and if you would prefer, after you talk to them, to review it with your employer again before you file a claim (assuming the DOL agrees you have one) you can do that. But I'm not sure how they can call it unpaid leave when you're getting paid through your PTO.

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