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Some part time or new workers may not be eligible for FMLA leave

Not every worker has rights to protections under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Rather, the benefit derives as such a right after a worker puts in some work time for a particular employer. Whether they are for medical issues that need healing time or the birth of a child or adoption where bonding time could be a grounds for FMLA leave, planning for meeting the time-worked requirement is key. The same is true of the California Family Rights Act.

Minimum 1,250 hours of work in prior year

First, the employee must have worked for the employer for a year before the first day of necessary leave. On top of that, while part-time employment is an acceptable form of employment for FMLA and CFRA purposes, there are minimum requirements there as well. The employee must have physically worked for a minimum of 1,250 hours during that prior year leading up to the need for leave.

Doing the math, and at 52 weeks in a year, the employee must have put in an average of slightly more than 24 hours per week of work. Of course, that is an average, and it can deviate so long as there are 1,250 hours in that 12-month period. But if a part-time employee generally takes off two weeks in the summer and perhaps a week or two in the winter, 25 hours worked in all other weeks will not suffice.

Only actual work hours count

Moreover, because several kinds of hours of non-work pay may not count towards the 1,250-hour annual minimum, an employer really needs to review employee paystubs to make sure 1,250 hours were actually work-present hours. The kinds of hours that do not count, even if paid, include the following:

  • Personal leave or days off
  • Holidays
  • Sick leave
  • Vacation time
  • Administrative or compensating time off
  • Informal time off

Once eligible, the employee can use the FMLA as needed as 12 work weeks or, if more appropriate, intermittently. The time may reduce down as small as 1/10 of an hour. 12 work weeks amount to 60 days or 480 hours for full-time employees. However, part-time employees will see a prorated amount due.

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