What Is FMLA Leave?
Eligible employees are entitled under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons.. Eligible employees are entitled to:
Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
- the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
- the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
- to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
- a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
- any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
- Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).
Who Are Eligible Employees?
These eligibility requirements do not apply to Pregnancy Disability Leave.
Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if they have worked for at least one year, and for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months. The Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator will make the determination of whether an employee qualifies for FMLA leave. Whether an employee's leave is designated as FMLA is not a decision that the employee or supervisor can make independent of the Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator. Therefore, it is critical that all supervisors immediately report any medical leave to the Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator to make this determination.
In addition to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, an eligible employee is entitled to continuation of health benefits during the leave period and restoration to the same or equivalent job if the employee returns within the period allowed under the FMLA. Although FMLA leave is unpaid, the University requires the employee to use accrued sick and annual leave before the employee may go out on leave without pay.
How Do I Request FMLA Leave?
Employees may request Family Medical Leave by completing and submitting a request form. Request for leave should be made at least 30 days prior to your leave start date to ensure that your leave will be properly recorded. If the leave is unforeseeable, notify your supervisor and the university’s Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator as soon as possible about your need for leave. Supervisors – if you receive a notification or any updates from an employee regarding a leave of absence, please be sure to notify Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator so that the leave can be properly administered.
The Next Steps
Upon receipt of your request, the Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator will forward you your Notice of Eligibility & Rights and Responsibilities under the Family and Medical Leave Act along with the appropriate Certification Form to be completed to process the request. The Medical Certification form should be returned to the Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator no later than 30 days prior to the expected leave start date (if the leave is foreseeable), or by the due date indicated on Part B of the Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities form. Once the Medical Certification forms are returned, the Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator will forward a Designation Notice , designating the leave as FMLA-protected and/or if more information is needed.
What to do while you are still out on leave?
Update your time sheet appropriately to reflect your usage of annual, sick, or leave without pay to avoid any discrepancies in your pay.
Supervisors will need to continue to review, approve, and submit their employee’s timesheet while they are on leave. If your employee is unable to update their time sheet, please coordinate with Payroll to assure their time sheet is updated accurately.
Employee Intermittent FMLA Tracking Responsibilities
Under FMLA, an employee may go on intermittent leave taken in separate blocks of time. Once approved for intermittent FMLA, employees will be required to state “FMLA-related” when calling in due to an unplanned FMLA- related absence. Additionally, employees are required to submit an Intermittent FMLA Tracking Form to their supervisor (timekeeper) within each payroll period reflecting all FMLA-related hours used and when attesting to the usage of zero FMLA. While on Intermittent FMLA, employees must submit their signed, completed tracker, on or before the timesheet due date for that pay period.
If you go on leave without pay, you will need to pay for the employee portion of your benefits, if applicable.
- Coordinate with the Office of Payroll to arrange to make your personal payments to continue your benefits (only if you are on leave without pay, i.e., not receiving a paycheck from the university).
- If your leave was due to Pregnancy Disability Leave or Parental Bonding, notify the Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator within 7 days of the birth of your child. Remember to enroll your newborn into benefits (medical,dental, vision, life) within 30 days from date of birth. If you need help with this process, please contact the Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator.
If your leave is extended beyond the date originally identified by your treating health care provider, immediately notify your Supervisor and the Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator.
What to do when you are ready to return to work?
Have your doctor complete a Return-to-Work Certification indicating the date you can return to work and if you have any restrictions. Contact your supervisor and Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator to confirm your return-to- work date and provide a copy of your Return-to-Work Certification. Supervisors – Please ensure that your employee has notified the Senior Benefits/ADA Coordinator of their return to work.
FMLA Hours Calculation Method
Eligible employees may receive up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period, measured forward from the date that any FMLA leave is used (see example below). Under this method, an employee would be entitled to 12 workweeks of leave during the 12-months beginning on the first date FMLA leave is taken. The next 12-month period would then begin the first time FMLA leave is taken after completion of any previous 12- month period. Employees taking FMLA leave may fall in and out of FMLA protection based on their FMLA usage in the prior 12 month.
Example for Determining Available Time
If an employee requests leave on June 3, 2009, the 12-month period for this employee and this occasion would be June 3, 2009 until June 2, 2010. The next time the employee requests leave (after June 2, 2010), a new 12-month leave year would begin.
Duration of Leave for a Service Member or Veteran
When leave is to care for a service member or veteran with a serious injury or illness, an eligible employee may take up to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for that service member or veteran. Leave to care for an injured or ill service member or veteran, when combined with other FMLA qualifying leave, may not exceed 26 weeks in the single 12-month period during which the 26 weeks of military caregiver leave is available.
A single 12-month period for purposes of military caregiver leave begins on the first day that an employee takes military caregiver leave and ends twelve months after that date, regardless of the rolling 12-month period that the University uses for determining available leave for other FMLA-qualifying reasons.