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FMLA – Who Can Use FMLA Leave?

Family and Medical Leave Information(FMLA)

Under the family and medical leave act of 1993 (FMLA), eligible employees of the U.S. Postal Service are entitled to receive unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. Qualified medical and family reasons include: personal or family illness, pregnancy, adoption, or the foster-care placement of a child.

The FMLA is intended “to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families.” It allows eligible employees to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to attend to the serious health condition of the employee, his or her parent, spouse or child, or for pregnancy or care of a newborn child, or for adoption or foster care of a child.


To be eligible for Family and Medical Leave Information leave, an employee must have been employed by the employer at least 12 months, and worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the employ­er employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 amended the FMLA to provide two types of military family leave for FMLA eligible employees: “qualifying exigency leave” and “military caregiver leave.”

Who Can Use FMLA Leave?

Employees who meet the following requirements are eligible for FMLA leave:
1) Worked for the USPS for at least 12 months before the leave is taken and
2) Worked at least 1250 hours in the 12-month period before the leave is taken.
The same eligibility requirements apply to employees seeking qualifying exigency leave and/or military caregiver leave.

How Much Leave Can Be Taken?

Employees may use up to 12 workweeks in any leave year for FMLA or qualifying exigency leave. Together, FMLA leave and qualifying exigency leave may total no more than 12 workweeks in any leave year.
USPS tracks this by hours, based on 12 weeks times the hours normally/regularly scheduled in the employee’s workweek.

  • Employees who work 40 hours/week, may use 480 hours of FMLA leave per leave year.
  • Employees who work 30 hours/week, may use 360 hours of FMLA leave per leave year

A “leave year” begins on the first day of the first complete pay period in a calendar year and ends on the day before the first day of the first complete pay period in the following calendar year.

How Can Leave Be Taken?

  • The leave can be taken in a single block of time. Example: One month to recover from surgery.
  • The leave can be taken in multiple, smaller blocks of time if medically necessary. (This is known as “intermittent leave.”)Example: Occasional absences due to condition or for doctor appointments if the child is over 18, he or she must be incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability at time the leave begins.
  • “Parent” includes biological, adopted, foster and step-parents, as well as persons who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a child, but not in-laws.
  • To care for an ill or injured spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin who is a covered servicemember.
  • For a qualifying exigency arising from the foreign deployment of an employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent who is a member of the Armed Forces (including the National Guard and Reserves).

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