Can my hours be cut due to missing work for FMLA?

I have been on FMLA for 3 months. I filled the paper out twice from my doctor and have missed about 1 day of work a week, mostly a few hours late. My employer has told me that since I have been missing work they are going to cut my hours. If Istart coming in they will increase my hours. My FMLA is from Celiac disease and is not something that is going to go away. So at any job, are they just going to decrease my hours until I cannot afford to live with that job? I currently work about 30-35 hours; I’m being reduced to 20-25.

Asked on October 14, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no single, right answer. The company may not discriminate against you because of your use of FMLA leave; the law  specifically forbids retaliation against those making use of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

On the other hand, the company is allowed to run and manage its own business. If as a result of your being out on FMLA leave, they need, as a practical matter, to reallocate hours, give extra hours to someone whose appearance is more reliable, adjust schedules, etc., they may be able to do that--they don't have to let their business suffer, if it would suffer, because of your need for leave.

Therefore, the issue is whether this is illegal retaliation, in which case you may have a cause of action; or is it a legitimate response to your availability and business needs? If you feel this may be improper retaliation, you should consult with an employment law attorney to discuss your rights and recourse in greater depth, since it will require an in-depth evaluation of the circumstances.

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