FMLA

Purpose

To outline an employee's rights for leave in accordance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”) and additional provisions granted by the University.

Scope

This policy applies to all eligible employees of the University who are either full-time, part-time, and intermittent/short-term and classified as Executive, Administrator, Academic Administrator, Academic, and Staff. Policies affecting employees represented by a union are found in the appropriate Agreements.

An “eligible employee” is an employee who 1) has worked for the University for at least 12 months and 2) has at least 1,250 hours of service for the University during the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of the leave.

Qualifying Reasons

An eligible employee may take leave for up to 12 work weeks for one or more of the following reasons:

  • For birth of a son or daughter, and to care for the newborn child;
  • For placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for the employee's spouse, partner, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition;
  • Because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of the employee's job (including treatment related to prenatal care and pregnancy related conditions);
  • Because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, partner, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty status);

An eligible employee may take leave for up to 26 workweeks in a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the spouse, partner, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the covered service member (“military caregiver leave”).

Birth of a son or daughter, and to care for the newborn child:

An eligible employee's entitlement to FMLA leave for birth and bonding expires 12 months after the date of birth. Both mothers and fathers have the right to take FMLA leave for the birth of a child and care of a healthy newborn child (i.e., bonding time). Birth and bonding leave must be taken as a continuous block of leave. Requests for alternatives to a continuous block of leave will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved in advance. To initiate such a request, an employee must contact his or her Human Resources Representative. {Insert hyperlink: /hr-representatives}

  • Mothers who have given birth must use all available sick leave, as applicable under University Policy HR 34, for the period of incapacity due to pregnancy (usually, but not always, 6 to 8 weeks). and They may elect  to use or not use all or part of accumulated vacation, personal holiday, service days, or compensatory time off, as applicable, during the leave prior to commencement of no-pay status for the balance of the leave.
  • Non-birth mothers and fathers may elect to use accumulated family sick days, personal holiday, service days, compensatory time off, and vacation, as applicable, prior to commencement of no-pay status for the balance of the leave.
  • Under certain conditions, employees may be required to substitute paid leave provided and accrued pursuant to applicable policies. All FMLA leave will run concurrently with all University paid or unpaid leave.

Placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care

FMLA leave may be taken before the actual placement or adoption of a child if an absence from work is required for the placement for adoption or foster care to proceed. For example, the employee may be entitled to FMLA leave to attend counseling sessions, appear in court, consult with his or her attorney or the birth parent’s representative, submit to a physical examination, or travel to another country to complete an adoption before the actual date of placement. FMLA leave to bond with a child after placement must be taken as a continuous block of leave.  Requests for alternatives to a continuous block of leave will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved in advance. . An employee’s entitlement to FMLA leave for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care expires 12 months after the date of placement.

  • The employee may elect to use personal holiday, service days, compensatory time off, and accumulated vacation, as applicable, prior to commencement of no-pay status for the balance of the leave.
  • Under certain conditions, employees may be required to substitute paid leave provided and accrued pursuant to applicable policies.  All FMLA leave will run concurrently with all University paid or unpaid leave.

Care for the employee's spouse, partner, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition

An eligible employee may take FMLA leave to provide care for his or her spouse, partner, son, daughter, or parent because of the family member’s serious health condition.   

  • The employee shall first use all available family sick days, personal holiday, service days, compensatory time off, and accumulated vacation, as applicable, prior to commencement of no-pay status for the balance of the leave.
  • Under certain conditions, employees may be required to substitute paid leave provided and accrued pursuant to applicable policies.  All FMLA leave will run concurrently with all University paid or unpaid leave.

Employee’s serious health condition

An eligible employee is entitled to FMLA leave if a serious health condition (including incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care) makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position.  An employee is “unable to perform the functions of the position” where the health care provider finds that the employee is (1) unable to work at all; or (2) unable to perform any one of the essential functions of the employee's position.

An employee who must be absent from work to receive medical treatment for a serious health condition is considered to be unable to perform the essential functions of the position during the absence for treatment.

  • The employee shall first use accumulated sick leave, as applicable, following which the employee shall have the option to use or not use all or part of accumulated vacation, personal holiday, service days, or compensatory time off, as applicable, prior to commencement of no-pay status for the balance of the leave.
  • Under certain conditions, employees may be required to substitute paid leave provided and accrued pursuant to applicable policies.  All FMLA leave will run concurrently with all University paid or unpaid leave.

Qualifying exigency

Eligible employees are entitled to FMLA leave for a “qualifying exigency” arising from the military deployment of an employee’s spouse, partner, son, daughter, or parent to a foreign country. Qualifying exigencies for which an employee may take FMLA leave include making alternative child care arrangements for a child of the military member when the deployment of the military member necessitates a change in the existing child care arrangement; attending certain military ceremonies and briefings; taking leave to spend time with a military member on Rest and Recuperation leave during deployment; or making financial or legal arrangements to address a covered military member’s absence; or certain activities related to care of the parent of the military member while the military member is on covered active duty. For FMLA absences related to military exigency leave, a copy of the military member's active duty orders will be required.

  • The employee shall first use all accumulated vacation, personal holiday, service days, and compensatory time off, as applicable, prior to commencement of no-pay status for the balance of the leave.
  • Under certain conditions, employees may be required to substitute paid leave provided and accrued pursuant to applicable policies.  All FMLA leave will run concurrently with all University paid or unpaid leave.

Military Caregiver Leave

Eligible employees may take up to 26 workweeks of FMLA leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of the service member.   Eligible employees of both current service members and certain veterans are entitled to military caregiver leave.

  • The employee shall first use all  family sick days, personal holiday, service days, compensatory time off, and accumulated vacation, as applicable, prior to commencement of no-pay status for the balance of the leave.
  • Under certain conditions, employees may be required to substitute paid leave provided and accrued pursuant to applicable policies.  All FMLA leave will run concurrently with all University paid or unpaid leave.

Intermittent Leave or Reduced Leave Schedule

Intermittent leave is leave taken in separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason, rather than for one continuous period of time, and may include leave periods from an hour or more to several weeks. A reduced leave schedule is a leave schedule that reduces an employee's usual number of working hours per workweek and/or per workday.

When medically necessary due to the employee's own serious health condition, to care for a child, spouse, partner or parent with a serious health condition, or for military caregiver leave, an eligible employee may take FMLA leave intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule. Leave due to a qualifying exigency may also be taken on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule.  Leave taken after the birth of a healthy child or placement of a healthy child for adoption or faster care may not be taken on an intermittent leave or reduced leave schedule basis unless approved in advance as indicated above.  

An employee that is granted an intermittent leave or a reduced leave schedule may be required to temporarily transfer to an alternative position during such leave. Such alternative position shall be at the same salary as the employee's regular position. Whenever possible, the employee shall make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment so as not to unduly disrupt operations.

The taking of leave intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule shall not result in a reduction in the total amount of leave to which the employee is entitled. Only the amount of leave actually taken may be counted toward the total amount of legally mandated leave time.

Examples: (1) If an employee who normally works Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm with a one hour unpaid lunch, works four hours per day on a reduced leave schedule, the employee would use 20 hours of leave per week while on the reduced leave. (2) If an employee who normally works Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, works Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, the employee would use 8 hours of leave per week while on the reduced leave.
Available paid leave for intermittent and reduced schedule leave shall be used in the same manner as continuous leave.

Certifications

General Rule

The University typically requires a certification form for FMLA absences related to the employee's own serious health condition, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or for military caregiver leave. When needed to confirm that an employee whose FMLA leave was occasioned by the employee’s own serious health condition is able to return to work and/or perform essential functions of the employee’s job, the University will require the employee to present certification from the employee’s health care provider that the employee is able to resume work. This fitness-for-duty certification should relate only to the particular health condition that caused the employee’s need for FMLA leave.  .  The first time an employee requests For FMLA leave absences related to military qualifying exigency leave, the employee must complete the certification and provide a copy of the military member's active duty orders or other documentation issued by the military which indicates that the military member is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status, and the dates of the military member’s covered active duty service will be required.

All certifications should be submitted to the appropriate University contact. For information regarding the appropriate contact(s) in a particular college, campus, or administrative area please consult the Human Resources Representative.

Authentication and Clarification of Certification

When permitted by law, the appropriate University contact(s) may take steps to authenticate and/or obtain clarification of a certification.

When permitted by law, the University may require, at its own expense that the employee obtain the opinion of a second healthcare provider designated by the University (but not employed by the University). If the second opinion conflicts with that of the employee's healthcare provider, the University may require, at its own expense, that the employee obtain the opinion of a third healthcare provider designated jointly by the University and the employee. The opinion of the third healthcare provider shall be final and binding.

Recertification

When permitted by law, requests for recertification may be made on a reasonable basis.

NOTE: The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers and other entities covered by GINA Title II from requesting or requiring genetic information of an individual or family member of the individual, except as specifically allowed by this law. To comply with this law, we are asking that employees and health care providers not provide any genetic information when responding to this request for medical information. 'Genetic Information' as defined by GINA includes an individual's family medical history, the results of an individual's or family member's genetic tests, the fact that an individual or an individual's family member sought or received genetic services, and genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or an individual's family member or an embryo lawfully held by an individual or family member receiving assistive reproductive services.

Notice

Employees shall provide at least 30 days advance notice if the need for the leave is foreseeable. If 30 days’ notice is not practicable because of a situation outside of the employee's control, notice must be given as soon as practicable. Except in extraordinary circumstances, employees are expected to give notice within no less than one or two working days of learning of the need for leave.

If an employee fails to give 30 days’ notice for foreseeable leave with no reasonable excuse for the delay, the University may deny the taking of leave until at least 30 days after the date the employee provided notice.

Membership in University Insurances while on Family Medical Leave

An employee who is on an approved leave under the FMLA shall continue to be eligible for membership in all group medical insurance plans at the employee rates.

  • An employee receiving paid leave (using sick, family sick days, accumulated vacation, personal holiday, service days, and compensatory time off) shall continue to have the employee costs for all group insurance plans in which enrolled deducted from his or her paycheck
  • An employee who is not receiving paid leave will be billed directly for the employee cost of University insurance while on an approved FMLA leave.
  • Discontinuation of coverage may result if payments are not kept current.
  • Employees may choose to discontinue participation in group insurance plans while on leave. However, a decision not to continue insurances is considered a break in continuous benefits participation and may have an adverse effect on the employee's eligibility to continue the insurances after retirement (see HR54). If coverage is not continued during the leave and is requested at a later date the following restrictions will apply.
  • Except as provided by law, proof of eligibility will be required for re-enrollment in life insurance, long-term disability/annuity premium benefit and long-term care.
  • Except as provided by law, medical, dental, vision, Voluntary Accidental Death and Dismemberment (VAD&D) coverage can be requested when the employee returns to work.  Your coverage becomes effective on your date of return from leave, provided you have completed the necessary enrollment forms no later than thirty-one (31) days following your date of return to work.  If this time period is not met then coverage can only be requested during the annual open enrollment period and will be effective January 1 of the following year.  There are not exceptions to enrollment if you lose your coverage as a result of failure to pay for premiums during the leave period.