3 Methods For Tracking FMLA Leave

The 3 Methods for Tracking FMLA leave in your business

If you manage HR for a business of 50 or more employees it’s likely you’ve had the pleasure of tracking Family & Medical Leave (FMLA) time.  This can be one of the most frustrating tasks HR professionals tackle and certainly one I do not envy.  There are, however, some options for how to track the time and perhaps the choice you make can help ease the pain and make the process a bit more manageable.  Here are 3 methods we recommend for tracking FMLA leave in your business:

Method #1:  “Fixed Year” – Using this method the employee has 12 weeks of leave to be used anytime with a fixed 12 month period.  The period itself is up to the employer – calendar year, fiscal year, beginning at the employee’s anniversary date etc. NOTE that using this method means the employee could potentially use 12 weeks at the end of the 12 month period and then when the year renews use another 12 weeks resulting in a possible 24 weeks of leave. That’s a long time!

Method #2: Rolling Forward – This method uses the first day of leave under FMLA as the starting point and is then measured forward for a 12 month period.  Again, this method also makes it possible for the employee to use more than 12 weeks at a time.

Method #3: Rolling Backward - To implement this employer takes the first day of FMLA leave and then looks backward to see that there is still available leave time left within the previous 12 months.  It may not work for every business but if you want to prevent the possibility of an employee taking more than 12 weeks of consecutive FMLA leave this is the method for you. 

The Family & Medical Leave Act is regulated on the federal level which means that as a business owner/HR person you have very little choice in how it is implemented. This happens to be one area you have some control.  However you choose to track FMLA make sure it is clear in your policy so there is no question what your employee’s can expect.  If you have questions on tracking FMLA and what method is best for your company contact us anytime. businesssolutions@clark-mortenson.com 877-352-2121.


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