Family and Medical Leave
Owner: Human Resources
Pertains to: Faculty, Staff
Description: Eligible employees, as defined further in this policy, may be eligible to take up to 12 weeks (or 26 weeks, if leave is taken to provide care for a qualifying family member injured during active military service) of unpaid, job-protected family and medical leave during a 12-month period.
Employees may be eligible for FMLA leave under the following conditions:
- The employee has worked for the University for at least 12 months; and
- The employee has worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately before the date when the leave would begin (this calculation includes only actual hours worked, and will not include any holiday, vacation, or other forms of paid leave that may occur during the relevant 12-month review period, regardless of whether such time is counted as hours worked for overtime purposes); and
- The employee is employed at a worksite where there are 50 or more University employees within a 75-mile radius.
Calculation of 12-Month Period
For purposes of calculating the 12-month period during which the 12 weeks of leave may be taken, the University uses a “rolling” 12-month period measured backward from the date on which the FMLA leave will be used.
Example: If an employee requests an FMLA leave that would begin on September 1, 2016, the employee’s request will only be approved if the employee has not taken 12 weeks of FMLA leave during the time period between September 1, 2015, and September 1, 2016. If the employee has taken any FMLA leave during that time period, i.e., since September 1, 2015, then the employee’s request for FMLA leave will only be approved for the difference between 12 weeks and the amount of FMLA leave the employee already took since September 1, 2015. For example, if the employee has taken 4 weeks of leave since September 1, 2015, and requests a 12 week leave beginning September 1, 2016, the employee will only be approved for 8 weeks of leave, because the employee has already used 4 weeks of his 12-week entitlement during the 12-month period “rolling” backward from September 1, 2016.
Reasons for FMLA Leave
Family and medical leave may be taken for one or more of the following reasons:
- The birth of the employee’s child or placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care; or
- To care for the employee’s spouse, child*, or parent who has a serious health condition; or
- For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job.
*For purposes of leave to care for an employee’s child, a “child” includes: (1) a child under the age of 18 years; and (2) a child of the employee who is 18 years of age or older and who is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability at the time the FMLA leave is to begin.
Family and medical leave also may be taken for one or more of the following reasons pertaining to military personnel and their families or next of kin:
- Qualifying Exigency: If an employee’s spouse, child (any age), or parent is on active military duty, is called to active duty, or is notified that he or she will be called to active duty status, the employee may take up to 12 weeks of leave to address a “qualifying exigency,” which may include a short notice of deployment; attending certain military events and ceremonies; attending family support or assistance programs; providing childcare on an urgent basis related to the military duty; arranging for alternative child care; addressing certain financial and legal arrangements; attending certain counseling sessions; attending post-deployment reintegration briefings; and attending school conferences for the military member’s children.
- Service member Family Leave: If an employee is the spouse, child (any age), parent, or next of kin of a covered servicemember (of any age), the employee may take up to 26 weeks of leave while that servicemember is on active duty, or in some circumstances, after he or she has become a veteran, for the purpose of providing care to that servicemember for his or her serious injury or illness incurred or exacerbated in the line of duty while on active duty.
Unlike other leaves under this policy, for purposes of leave to provide care for a covered service member, the 12-month period during which 26 weeks of leave may be taken is measured using “forward-rolling” 12-month period beginning on the first day of leave taken for this reason and ending 12 months later.
Procedure for Requesting Leave
The employee should contact Human Resources as soon as the employee realizes the need for FMLA leave, providing at least 30 days’ advance notice whenever such notice is possible.
The employee must complete a Request for Family and Medical Leave request form, which is available from Human Resources. To be considered complete, the form must indicate why a leave of absence is needed and the anticipated length of the leave, including the dates on which the leave is anticipated to begin and end.
If an employee requests a leave for the serious health condition of the employee or the employee’s spouse, child or parent, the employee also will be required to submit medical certification by a health care provider supporting the need for leave and also may be required to submit periodic reports during the leave regarding the employee’s status and intent to return to work. The University reserves the right to request a second opinion, at the University’s expense, to verify the medical justification for a leave. If the opinion of the second health care provider differs from that of the employee’s own health care provider, the University may, at its discretion, request a third and binding opinion, at the University’s expense, by a health care provider agreed to by both the University and the employee.
If leave is granted, the University will designate whether the leave (or any portion) will be paid or unpaid and will communicate its expectations and requirements to the employee for the term of the leave, including expected date of return, frequency with which status reports from the employee are expected, medical certification required by the University, etc. While an employee is out on leave, the University may require the employee to provide recertification(s) from a health care provider. Human Resources will be the employee’s University contact while on leave, and all communications regarding the leave must be directed by the employee there.
When medically necessary, FMLA leave may be taken on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis. If an employee would like to take such a leave, the employee should inform the University accordingly when submitting the leave form and provide information as to the need for leave and the schedule desired. The employee is expected to attempt to work out a leave schedule which both meets the University’s needs without unduly disrupting the University’s operations and is consistent with the advice of the employee’s health care provider.
While on FMLA leave, an employee must use any allotted and unused paid vacation leave and floating holiday days, and, if the leave is taken due to the serious health condition of the employee or of their spouse, child, or parent, the employee must also utilize any sick time available. Whatever paid leave is used by the employee will run concurrently with (i.e., be counted toward) the 12 or 26 weeks of leave available under this policy. After any available and applicable paid time off is exhausted, the balance of the leave will be unpaid. While on intermittent FMLA, exempt employees may use whole or half day increments of paid time off, non-exempt employees may take off time in 1 hour increments. In the event that no paid leave is available to an employee, FMLA leave will be unpaid.
In addition, any period during which an employee receives workers’ compensation or short-term disability benefits also will run concurrently with the employee’s entitlement to FMLA leave, provided the employee’s leave is due to the employee’s serious health condition within the meaning of the FMLA.
Where any part of an employee’s FMLA leave is paid leave under another University program or policy (vacation, sick pay, short-term disability, etc.), the employee is required to comply with the notice, eligibility, and/or certification requirements applicable under such program or policy in addition to those requirements under the FMLA.
Eligibility for Benefits
During an FMLA leave, the University’s share of any group health, dental and life insurance benefits will continue to be paid, and the employee is required to continue to pay the employee’s share of premiums to maintain any health and dental and other insurance benefits under the University’s group plans.
To the extent an employee’s FMLA leave is paid pursuant to this policy, then the employee’s payments for insurance will be processed through payroll as usual. Where any part of an employee’s FMLA leave is unpaid, then the employee must make arrangements with Human Resources to pay the employee’s normal share of premiums. If the employee’s premium payment is more than 30 days late, then the employee’s coverage may be dropped. The University will notify the employee in writing at least 15 days before health coverage stops that it has not received the employee’s premium payment.
Return from Leave and Reinstatement
Upon returning from FMLA leave, employees are eligible for reinstatement to the same or equivalent job held at the time of the leave, except that employees are not protected from actions that would have affected them if they were not on FLMA leave, such as a reduction-in-force.
Prior to returning from an FMLA leave for an employee’s own serious health condition, the employee may be required to submit medical certification supporting that the employee is cleared to return to work. Failure to provide such certification when required may result in a denial of job reinstatement until such a certification is provided. If medical restrictions exist at the end of the leave, the University will review and discuss the situation with the employee, and determine whether the work restrictions can be reasonably accommodated.
It is the employee’s responsibility to return to work by the date agreed upon or to request an extension of leave. Failure to return to work or to communicate the need for an extension to Human Resources may lead to termination of employment, subject to applicable law.
This policy is for informational purposes only. It is not a contract of employment, and nothing in it is intended to create or imply a contract for employment or for the provision of any employment benefit. The University eserves the right to interpret the provisions of this policy and to modify any or all matters contained in this policy at any time, with or without prior notice, subject to applicable law.