The federal Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) act gives many employees the right to take unpaid time off without fear of losing their employment in the event that they become ill, a family member becomes ill, they or someone in their immediate family becomes pregnant, or a new baby or adopted child is coming into their family. Each person who can qualify for time off under the FMLA will need to satisfy other requirements as well, one of which is that they have not already taken 12 weeks of FMLA leave within a given calendar period.

Calculating whether an employee has taken 12 weeks off within a 12-month period may not be entirely straightforward. Here are four methods that employers can use to calculate this period according to the FMLA:

  • Some employers simply use the calendar year to determine if an employee has already exhausted his or her FMLA leave.
  • Other employers use a fixed leave year based on any particular date, such as the date the employee began working at the company or the fiscal year.
  • Other employers begin calculating FMLA leave on the date of the first day of medical leave that the employee takes.

Once the beginning date of the year has been selected, it’s only a matter of counting the number of Family and Medical Leave Act days the employee utilized within this period. If the employee has already exhausted his or her 12 week supply of time off, then the employer is no longer required to reserve the employee’s job. If you have questions about your Family and Medical Leave Act rights, be sure to learn more about your legal rights by speaking with a qualified attorney.