Advice and Resolution Corner - FMLA 12-Month Period

Document created by 1050210 on Nov 13, 2014
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Published Date: 08/18/2014


Reneé Watkins

By Reneé Watkins


[Don’t miss the Advice and Resolution Corner Plus members-only webcast scheduled for this Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 8:30 am. Register now at]




How is the 12-month period calculated under FMLA?




The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees who work for covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave in a defined 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons. Generally, employers may select one of four options to establish the 12-month period to be uniformly applied to all employees taking FMLA leave.


The employer may use any of the following methods to establish the 12-month period:


  1. The calendar year – 12-month period that runs from January 1 through December 31;
  2. Any fixed 12 months – 12-month period such as a fiscal year, or a year starting on an employee’s anniversary date;
  3. The 12-month period measured forward – 12-month period measured forward from the first date an employee takes FMLA leave. The next 12-month period would begin the first time FMLA leave is taken after completion of the prior 12-month period; or
  4. A “rolling” 12-month period measured backward – 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. Under the ‘‘rolling’’ 12-month period, each time an employee takes FMLA leave, the remaining leave entitlement would be the balance of the 12 weeks which has not been used during the immediately preceding 12 months.


Employers may select any one of the four methods to establish the 12-month period as long as the method is applied consistently and uniformly for all employees.


Before changing to a different method of calculating the 12-month period, an employer must first give all employees at least 60 days notice of the intended change and the transition must take place in such a way that the employees retain the full benefit of their leave entitlement under whichever method affords the greatest benefit to the employee.


If an employer fails to select one of the 12-month period methods discussed above, the employer must use the 12-month period method that is the most beneficial to the employee.


Lastly, under no circumstances may an employer change the 12-month period to avoid the requirements of the FMLA.


For more information, attend the Advice and Resolution Corner Plus members-only webcast scheduled for this Wednesday, August 20, 2014 from 8:30 am until 9:00 am. You can self-register for this webinar at


During this webcast we will take a “deeper dive” into this topic. The webinar will last around 30 minutes exploring some of the most common questions we receive from employers. Feel free to share this link with anyone from your organization who would benefit from attending.