6th Circuit Rules on Definition of Hours of Service

John GarnerLegislative Updates, Resources

On May 2, 2007, in the case of Carla Mutchler v. Dunlap Memorial Hospital, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court ruling that the hours for purposes of the hours of service requirement under FMLA is determined based on the actual hours worked.

Dunlap Memorial Hospital offered registered nurses a “Weekender Program” under which participating nurses work two 12-hour shifts each weekend and one holiday each year. Nurses who work the full scheduled 48 hours in a two-week period are paid for 68 hours of work. Prior to taking leave for surgery, Carla Mutchler had worked 1,242.8 hours in the year preceding the leave, falling short of the 1,250 hours required to be eligible for FMLA leave. Mutchler argued that her hours of service should include the 10 additional hours per week she did not work but for which she received compensation under the Weekend Program.

The FMLA regulations state “Any accurate accounting of actual hours worked under FLSA’s principles may be used.” The court concluded that weekender hours do not count for purposes of FMLA eligibility.

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