Employees on FMLA can’t be denied any benefit they earned before taking leave. But what does the law say about employees on leave accruing benefits that are based on hours worked?
Generally, employees on FMLA don’t need to continue earning those benefits. Benefits are accrued based on employers’ individual policies.
For example, if your company gives employees vacation time based on the hours they work, they don’t need to accrue any PTO while on medical leave (as long as other types of unpaid leave are treated the same way).
The same goes for calculating seniority. Hours on FMLA don’t need to be factored into the equation.
But there is one area to look out for: Many companies let employees earn PTO while they’re out on paid vacation. When FMLA runs concurrently with paid leave, employers should continue following that policy.
Otherwise, they could get in trouble for treating an employee using FMLA leave differently than employees who haven’t taken FMLA.
(NOTE: FMLA can be one of the trickiest issues you and your managers handle. Get Get "The Right Answers to the 33 Toughest FMLA Questions You'll Ever Face" and get no-nonsense guidance on FMLA that will help you you steer clear of trouble in even the most challenging cases.)