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Q. Are we required to pay holiday pay to employees who are on FMLA leave? Does the holiday extend an employee’s FMLA time off?
A. With the holidays fast approaching, these are timely questions! With respect to holiday pay, the FMLA regulations state that employers must follow their own established policies in place for other forms of leave. So, if the employer’s policy is that employees on any type of unpaid leave of absence are not eligible for holiday pay, then no holiday pay is required for employees on FMLA leave during the holiday week. On the other hand, if your company pays holiday pay to employees who are on vacation the week of the holiday, for example, and the employee is substituting vacation for unpaid leave, then the employer must pay holiday pay to the employee on FMLA leave. It is therefore critical that the employer’s policy clearly states whether and under what conditions holiday pay will be paid, including when an employee is on leave. If you do not have a policy, or your policy is not clear, now would be a good time to put an updated policy in place.