Can an employer force me to use my vacation time for FMLA leave and deny my vacation3 days before it was scheduled?

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Can an employer force me to use my vacation time for FMLA leave and deny my vacation3 days before it was scheduled?

I was approved for my vacation more then a month ago. 2 weeks before my vacation I was diagnosed with a medical problem which would need surgery and requires me to be out of work for approximately 3 weeks. The surgery is schedule 2 weeks after my return from vacation. I notified my supervisor and was advised that my vacation was still good. Then, 3 days before my vacation, I was advised that my vacation was denied and that I must use my vacation towards my FMLA leave which I did not want.

Asked on May 12, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, employers may do this, unfortunately--though in some circumstances, they need to pay compensation:

1) As a general matter, employers have near-absolute discretion as to when an employee may take vacation. An employer may refuse vacation if it conflicts with work requirements, staffing requirements, or an individual employee will be out too long. An employer may grant, then withdraw, approval for vacation, subject to the below:

If the employee has already incurred nonfundable costs in reliance on the employer having previously approved a vacation schedule (e.g. nonrefundable airfare), then the employer would have to reimburse the employee for the costs the employer caused the employee.

2) The law allows an employer to require an employee to use paid leave (sick or vacation) towards some or all of FMLA leave.


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