Ask An Advisor: Can Employees Accrue Paid Leave During FMLA Leave?

This week I received an interesting question regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Does an employee continue to accrue paid leave while out on FMLA leave?

The answer is: It depends! If an employer’s policy allows for continued leave accrual while an employee is out on an unpaid status, like FMLA, then the answer is yes. However, if an employer’s policy does not allow for continued leave accrual, then the answer is generally no.

According to the FMLA regulations 825.209(h): “Any benefits that would be maintained while the employee is on other forms of leave, including paid leave if the employee substitutes accrued paid leave during FMLA leave, must be maintained while the employee is on FMLA leave.

With that in mind, employers should look at their policies and procedures to determine if an employee should continue to accrue leave while out on FMLA leave. If this particular piece of the puzzle is not in an established policy, it may be a good idea to review past practices from similar situations to determine an employer’s actions going forward. Creating a policy that addresses the accrual of paid-time-off benefits during FMLA leave is also recommended. Because as we all know, consistency is key in HR! And what we do for one, we must do for all.

If you want to know more about accrued paid leave during FMLA or have other HR questions, we’d love to help! Give us a call or send an e-mail. We’re also available by chat. It’s one of the most valued benefits of SHRM membership!

The SHRM Ask an Advisor service is a member benefit where SHRM's HR Knowledge Advisors offer guidance, real-life personal and professional experiences, and resources to assist members with their HR-related inquiries. We receive questions from HR pros on topics ranging from COVID-19 vaccine requirements to Employee Relations.

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