In a recent article about mobile marketing I wrote for Law Practice Magazine, I explained why I am skeptical about the marketing value of law firm apps. I made an exception, however, for apps that provide a useful or practical function, whether for existing or potential clients.

The new Fisher & Phillips FMLA Leave App is a good example of the kind of practical app I had in mind. From the national labor and employment law firm Fisher & Phillips, the app enables employers and human resources managers to calculate basic FMLA leave requests and determine how much leave an employee has available. It is available for free in both iOS and Android versions.

Under the FMLA, employees are entitled to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave within a defined 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons. Employers may use any of four different methods to calculate the 12-month period. Among the most commonly used is the “rolling” 12-month period, measured backwards from the date an employee uses FMLA leave.

This rolling method is the one used by the app to calculate leave. It takes just four steps to perform the calculation:

  1. Enter the number of days the employee is requesting for FMLA leave.
  2. Enter the number of days of FMLA leave the employee has already used in the prior 12 months.
  3. Enter the start date of the requested leave.
  4. Indicate the days of the week the employee works (by flipping an on/off switch next to the day).

Once that information is entered, hit the calculate button and get the results. The app reports the number of days available for leave, the date the employee should return to work,  and how much leave the employee will have remaining upon return. An “email this” button lets the user send the calculation to the employee or elsewhere.

Needless to say, the app does not perform any sort of sophisticated FMLA leave analysis. For example, if an employee wants to take leave in an increment other than a work week, the app cannot calculate that. Also, the app does not calculate the longer period allowed for military caregiver leave.

For these more complex FMLA issues, the employer or HR manager may wish to consult an attorney. If so, then no doubt the folks at Fisher & Phillips hope the phone call goes to them.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.