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PG-52 Family and Medical Leave

Policy: PG-52
Subject: Family and Medical Leave
 
Approval Date: 09/17/93
Revision Date: 06/01/02; 12/06/02; 6/30/2015; 08/08/19
Last Review Date: 08/08/19
 
PURPOSE:
To provide employees with unpaid job- protected leaves of   absence in keeping with the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 and to guide employees in understanding their rights and responsibilities under the FMLA.
 
REASONS FOR LEAVE:
Any University employee who has completed at least 12 months of service and who has worked at least 1,250 hours with the University in the previous 12 months is covered by this policy. The 1,250 hours do not include time spent on paid or unpaid leave. Employees returning from Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)-covered service are credited with hours of service that  would have been performed but for the USERRA-covered service. The University will measure the 12-month period as a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any leave under this policy.
 
Eligible faculty and staff are able to use up to a total of 12 weeks of leave in any rolling 12-month year with proper medical or other documentation for the following types of absences:

  • An employee may take leave for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee’s position
  • The serious health condition of an employee's immediate family member
  • Caring for a newborn or newly-placed adopted child or foster child
  • Qualifying exigency leave for families of members of the National Guard or Reserves or a regular component of the Armed Forces when the covered military member is on covered active duty or called to covered active duty.

Military Family Leave Entitlements: Eligible employees whose spouse, son, daughter or parent is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status may use their 12-week leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies. Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings. FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a single 12-month period. A covered service member is: (1) a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness; or (2) a veteran who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable at any time during the five-year period prior to the first date the eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for the covered veteran, and who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness.
 
 
Protections of FMLA Leave:
An employee returning to work following an FMLA leave will be able to return to the same job or an equivalent position. Any benefits in place immediately before the leave will be reinstated provided that the employee returns to work the first work day following the end date of the FMLA leave or any approved extended leave up to 30 days following the FMLA leave.
 
 
SUBSTITUTION OF PAID LEAVE:
An employee is required to use, concurrently with the FMLA leave, the following paid leaves in the order listed: (1) sick leave available for use, as defined by the policy governing the reason for the leave; (2) accrued compensatory time, if available; and (3) vacation leave to which the employee is entitled. Where the FMLA leave is paid as a workers’ compensation absence, then the employee is not required to use other forms of paid leave. An eligible employee has a right to take FMLA leave even if unqualified to take paid leave.

DEFINITIONS:
Definition of Serious Health Condition: A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job, or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities. Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regimen of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.

The term "parent" means the biological parent of an employee or an individual who stood in "loco parentis" to an employee when the employee was a child, i.e., an individual who was charged with parental rights and responsibilities for the employee.

A "son" or "daughter" means a biological, adopted, foster child, stepchild, legal ward or a child of a person standing in loco parentis who is under 18 years of age, or 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.
 
 
MEDICAL CERTIFICATION:
The University requires health care provider certification of the need for a leave of absence because of a serious health condition of the employee, or of the son, daughter, spouse or parent of the employee. The certification is to state:

  1. The date on which the serious health condition commenced;
  2. The probable duration of the serious health condition;
  3. The appropriate facts regarding the serious health condition;
  4. A statement that the employee is needed to care for the son, daughter, spouse or parent (as applicable), and the estimated period of time such care will be needed;
  5. A statement that the serious health condition makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his/her job.
  6. The University may, at its expense, require the opinion of a second health care provider of its choosing. If a conflict occurs between the opinions of the first and second health care providers, the opinion of a third health care provider, jointly chosen by the University and the employee, at the University's expense, may be required. This person's opinion will be final and binding. Recertification on a reasonable basis, at the University's expense, is also permitted.

 
 
NOTICE REQUIREMENTS:
Employees are to give at least 30 days notice of all foreseeable leaves for an expected birth or adoption, or for planned medical treatment.
However, if the date of birth, adoption or medical treatment requires the leave to begin in less than 30 days, the employee is to provide as much notice as is practicable under the circumstances. Employees are to make a reasonable effort to schedule planned medical treatments so as not to unduly disrupt the University's operations. Supervisors are responsible for insuring the Exception Approval Forms are completed for FMLA leaves.
 
 
BOTH SPOUSES EMPLOYED:
When both husband and wife are employed by the University, the aggregate number of work weeks of leave for both employees is limited to 12 weeks over a 12-month period if the leave is for a birth, placement for adoption or foster care, or to care for a sick parent. For other types of leaves under the Act (i.e., serious illness of the employee or the employee's spouse or child), each employee retains the right to take up to 12 work weeks of leave.
 
 
INTERMITTENT LEAVES AND REDUCED WORK SCHEDULES:
The employee may take FMLA leave in 12 consecutive weeks, may use the leave intermittently (take a day periodically when needed over the year) or, under certain circumstances, may use the leave to reduce the workweek or workday, resulting in a reduced hour schedule. In all cases, the leave may not exceed a total of 12 workweeks (or 26 workweeks to care for an injured or ill service member over a 12-month period).

The University may temporarily transfer an employee to an available alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits if the alternative position would better accommodate the intermittent or reduced schedule, in instances of when leave for the employee or employee's family member is foreseeable and for planned medical treatment, including recovery from a serious health condition or to care for a child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care.

For the birth, adoption or foster care of a child, the University and the employee must mutually agree to the schedule before the employee may take the leave intermittently or work a reduced hour schedule. Leave for birth, adoption or foster care of a child must be taken within one year of the birth or placement of the child.

If the employee is taking leave for a serious health condition or because of the serious health condition of a family member, the employee should try to reach agreement with the University before taking intermittent leave or working a reduced hour schedule. If this is not possible, then the employee must prove that the use of the leave is medically necessary.
 
 
VACATION AND SICK LEAVE ACCUMULATION:
A faculty or staff member on a leave of absence will not accumulate vacation or sick leave unless he/she is paid for 11 or more days in that calendar month.
 
 
UNIVERSITY HOLIDAYS:
A faculty or staff member will not receive salary or compensatory time for any University holiday(s) that occurs while he/she is on an unpaid leave of absence. If employer’s activity ceases for one or more weeks during an employee’s leave, this time does not count toward the 12-week FMLA leave.
 
 
INSURANCE COVERAGE:
An employee may continue his/her group health, dental and life insurance coverages during a leave at the same level and under the same conditions he/she would have received had the leave not occurred. It is the employee's responsibility to make arrangements with the Office of Human Resources for payment of the required premiums if he/she is off the payroll during the leave of absence. Failure to do so may result in the termination of such insurance coverages. Notwithstanding the above, the University shall maintain its contributions to the group health, dental and life insurance coverages at the same level and under the same conditions the employee would have received had the leave not occurred.
 
 
JOB REINSTATEMENT:
An employee will be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position with the same pay and benefits that he/she received and under the same terms and conditions of employment as when the leave began.

In the event of a serious health condition, the University shall require the employee to provide certification from an appropriate health care provider indicating that he/she is able to resume work. Also, the University may require an employee on leave to report periodically on his/her status and intention of returning to work.
 
 
EARLY RETURN TO WORK:
If a faculty or staff member desires to return to work before his/her approved leave ends, he/she is to contact the appropriate administrative officer to determine an acceptable date for returning to work.
 
 
PROCEDURE FOR REQUESTING FMLA LEAVE:
All employees requesting FMLA leave must provide verbal or written notice of the need for the leave to the Office of Human Resources. Within five business days after the employee has provided this notice, the Office of Human Resources will complete and provide the employee with the DOL Notice of Eligibility and Rights.

When the need for the leave is foreseeable, the employee must provide the University with at least 30 days' notice. When an employee becomes aware of a need for FMLA leave less than 30 days in advance, the employee must provide notice of the need for the leave either the same day or the next business day. When the need for FMLA leave is not foreseeable, the employee must comply with the University’s usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for requesting leave, absent unusual circumstances.
 
 
DESIGNATION OF FMLA LEAVE:
Within five business days after the employee has submitted the appropriate certification form, the Office of Human Resources will complete and provide the employee with a written response to the employee’s request for FMLA leave using the DOL Designation Notice.
 
 
INTENT TO RETURN TO WORK FROM FMLA LEAVE:
On a basis that does not discriminate against employees on FMLA leave, the University may require an employee on FMLA leave to report periodically on the employee’s status and intent to return to work.