How the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Can Apply to Overtime

Mandatory overtime can apply to the FMLA

The FMLA can apply to overtime, but some employers might not realize this fact. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an opinion letter in February of 2023 stating that FMLA can affect overtime hours. The letter confirmed that employees can use intermittent FMLA leave when they’re unable to work the required overtime hours. In fact, they can take their FMLA leaves on an hour-by-hour basis.

What is a reduced leave schedule and how does it work?

A reduced leave schedule is a leave that reduces the usual number of weekly hours by the week or per workday. This is not new, but the opinion letter that addresses this fact is.

When the FMLA can apply to overtime, what industries does this affect the most?

According to  ,the following industries will likely have to deal with this issue:

  • Health care
  • Police
  • Firefighters

These industries often work 24/7 and overtime is more prevalent than in other lines of work.

How should an employer view a request to use FMLA time for overtime?

For example, in the health care industry, employees often work 12 hours, which are long shifts. Different states have different laws affecting overtime, which can affect the length of shifts. However, when an employee has not used their FMLA leave, the request not to work overtime should be treated as an FMLA protected leave. This is provided that the reason for the leave meets FMLA requirements.

Calculating used and unused FMLA leave time is something employers should keep track of and do. In other words, an employee working a typical 40 hour week would be eligible for 12 weeks or 480 hours of unpaid FMLA leave per year, if the work is for a covered employer.

As an employer, do you need legal assistance with FMLA and overtime pay issues?

If you are a company owner and have questions or concerns about dealing with the FMLA and overtime pay, an experienced employment law defense attorney can help. Whenever possible, it is wise to consult with a lawyer before legal issues arise. Call (718) 275-6500 to arrange an appointment with Stephen D. Hans & Associates, P.C.