The Mailbag- FMLA Compliance.

AuthorDavenport, Anniken

In her recent HR Specialist webinar, The FMLA Master Class, attorney Anniken Davenport fielded questions regarding FMLA compliance. Here are a few Q&As from that event:

Does pregnancy change the eligibility calendar?

Q If an employee becomes pregnant prior to her 12-month anniversary date, is she still eligible for FMLA?

  1. The employee's FMLA eligibility would begin upon her reaching a total of 12 months and 1,250 hours of service up to the date of FMLA usage. Thus, if an employee will have reached those milestones on the date she gives birth, she would be eligible for 12 weeks of birth and bonding leave. If she were not to reach those milestones until after giving birth, her eligibility would begin when she does.

    Example: An employee gives birth on Jan. 1, but she won't reach her 12-month eligibility until Jan. 5. (She has already worked the required 1,250 hours in the past year.) She would have to take some other form of leave for the actual birth and four days afterward. But she would then be able to take the full 12 weeks beginning on January 5 and forward.

    When can workers take FMLA to care for sibling?

    Q Are siblings ever considered "immediate family" for purposes of employees taking FMLA to care for them?

  2. Generally, employees are not eligible for leave to care for siblings except under limited circumstances. For example, if an employee is by circumstances--such as the death of parents--taking care of minor siblings, the siblings would be considered a "son or daughter" for FMLA leave purposes.

    The same would apply if the sibling is over age 18 but incapacitated by a mental or physical disability. For example, if your employee is caring for his 25-year-old brother who is confined to bed with paralysis, the sibling may qualify as a child.

    For more examples of such "in loco parentis" relationships covered under FMLA, see the DOL fact sheet at

    Exempt employee on dialysis: How to handle FMLA?

    Q We have an exempt employee who qualifies for FMLA and needs dialysis twice per week for...

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