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So, let’s briefly re-visit the 12-month periods employers can choose from and then recommend the method most advantageous for employers. The FMLA regulations allow employers to utilize any one of four different methods to calculate the amount of FMLA leave an employee uses within a 12-month period.Per the regulations, an employer may choose any one of the following 12-month periods: Pros and Cons of Choosing a 12-Month Period Employers may select any one of these four counting methods, so long as the method is applied consistently and uniformly for all employees.Here, employers cannot avoid a situation where an employee takes FMLA leave later in the FMLA leave year, which is followed consecutively by as many as 12 weeks taken at the beginning of the following FMLA year (on February 1). Under the “rolling” method, known also in HR circles as the “look-back” method, the employer “looks back” over the last 12 months, adds up all the FMLA time the employee has used during the previous 12 months and subtracts that total from the employee’s 12-week leave allotment.
In theory, beginning on January 1, Jane could utilize 12 weeks of FMLA leave.In this example, this method of calculation allows Jane a total of 20 consecutive weeks of FMLA leave.(It could have been worse — Jane could have taken 12 weeks at the end of the year and another 12 at the beginning of the following calendar year, for a total of 24 consecutive workweeks of FMLA leave.) For employers seeking a continuity of business operations, this unintended result might be a difficult pill to swallow.Once the employer chooses a particular 12-month period, however, it cannot change to another 12-month period without first giving all employees at least 60-days’ notice of the change.If the employer fails to select one of the above 12-month periods, or if the employer has changed the method but it is within the 60-day window, the employer must use the 12-month period that provides the most beneficial outcome to that employee.