Can part-time workers get Family Leave when someone dies?


Q. Are part-time workers entitled to Family Leave when a death occurs in the family? I’m a part-time worker and my supervisor didn’t give me any time off when my father died from the coronavirus. I have to use my accumulated paid time off instead. Prior to COVID-19 I’ve worked an average of 30 hours biweekly.
— Grieving

A. We are very sorry to hear of the loss of your father.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows certain employees to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons.

One of those reasons is “to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition,” said Cynthia Aiken, a certified financial planner with Peapack Private Wealth Management in Bedminster.

She said to be eligible for this unpaid leave, the employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months and meet other requirements.

At 30 hours biweekly, you do not meet that requirement, she said.

Aiken said there is also something called Funeral Leave, but the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employers to pay employees for time off when attending a funeral. Furthermore, New Jersey law does not require employers to provide employee bereavement leave, she said.

“Although your supervisor wasn’t required to pay you for the time you missed while attending the funeral, it sounds as though you were paid from your accumulated paid time off,” Aiken said. “You may want to ask your supervisor or human resources representative directly about the company policy for funeral leave so that you understand it completely.”

If you prefer not to be paid for funeral leave out of your accumulated paid time off, then you may want to speak to your supervisor about alternative arrangements, she said.

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This story was originally published on Jan. 6, 2021. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.