Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for certain family and medical reasons. FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 26 weeks of leave for Service Member family leave.

Employees are eligible if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, and for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and if the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

Reasons for Taking Leave

Unpaid leave must be granted for any of the following reasons:

  • to care for the employee’s child after birth or placement for adoption or foster care; to care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition.
  • for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job. At the employee’s or employer’s option, certain kinds of paid leave may be substituted for unpaid leave.
  • to care for a spouse, child or parent, or next of kin who is a covered Service Member recovering from a serious injury or illness suffered in the line of active military duty.
  • A qualifying exigency arising out of the employee’s spouse, child, or parent’s active duty (or notification of an impending call or order to active duty) in the National Guard or Reserves in support of contingency operations.

Advance Notice and Medical Certification

The employee may be required to provide advance leave notice and medical certification. Taking of leave may be denied if requirements are not met.

  • The employee ordinarily must provide 30 days’ advance notice when the leave is “foreseeable.”
  • An employer can require medical certification to support a request for leave because of a serious health condition, and can require second or third opinions (at the employer’s expense) and a fitness for duty report prior to return to work.

Job Benefits and Protection

  • For the duration of FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s health coverage under any “group health plan.”
  • Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms.
  • The use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an employee’s leave.

Unlawful Acts by Employers

FMLA makes it unlawful for any employer to:

  • interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under FMLA.
  • discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by FMLA or for involvement in any proceeding under or relating to FMLA.

Enforcement

  • The U.S. Department of Labor is authorized to investigate and resolve complaints of violations.
  • An eligible employee may bring a civil action against an employer for violations. FMLA does not affect any federal or state law prohibiting discrimination or supersede any state or local law or collective bargaining agreement that provides greater family or medical leave rights.

Eligible Employee

An employee is eligible for Family and Medical Leave only if employed for 50 percent or more time schedule and for 12 months or more before the leave begins. Eligibility for Family and Medical Leave begins after three continuous days of absence for the following qualified reasons.

Leave Type Definitions

Leave Type Definition
Medical Leave (FMLA) Birth, or Employee’s Own Serious Health Condition 

  • A “serious health condition” means a condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider. When a leave is for a serious health condition, an employee will be required to provide medical certification from the employee’s health care provider.
  • In conjunction with obtaining medical verification for an employee’s medical leave, the employee’s current position description must be provided to the employee’s health care provider.
  • The employees may be required to obtain another opinion from a physician designated by the University for a second opinion. A third opinion of a physician may be required if the first two are in conflict. The third physician will be one selected and agreed upon by the employee and the University.
  • The employee may also be required to provide medical certification during the course of the leave and prior to the return from leave.
Personal Leave (FMLA) Care of Family Member with Serious Health Condition, Including Service Member Leave
Entitlement to the leave is subject to medical verification concerning the medical condition of the family member and certification that the employee’s presence is necessary or would be beneficial for the family member’s care.
Adoption, Care of Newborn Child Born to Spouse, or Foster Care Placement of a Child
Intermittent or Reduced Leave (FMLA) Under FMLA an employee may take intermittent leave or may work on a reduced schedule to decrease the usual number of hours worked per day or days per week. Intermittent or reduced leave schedules are subject to employer approval unless medically necessary.

Employee Notice

When a medical or personal leave is foreseeable, an employee must give 30 days’ advance notice; otherwise, the employee must give as much notice as practicable.

SUMMARY

UP TO 12 WEEKS OF FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE DURING A 12-MONTH PERIOD MAY BE TAKEN FOR ANY ONE OR ANY COMBINATION OF THE FOLLOWING QUALIFYING EVENTS

Pregnancy, Physically Giving Birth, and Care of Well Newborn Child (Female Employee)

For the first eight weeks, accrued sick leave is applied.

If sick leave is exhausted before the end of the eight-week period, accrued vacation leave, personal days, and available compensatory time off must be utilized.

For the remaining four weeks available under FMLA, accrued vacation leave, personal days, and available compensatory time off must be utilized. With approved medical certification, accrued sick leave will be applied if the mother or child is ill.

When available paid absences are exhausted, then balance of the leave will be taken as unpaid.

Care of Well Newborn Child Born to Spouse (Male Employee)

For the available 12 weeks of leave, the employee must utilize accrued vacation leave, personal days, and available compensatory time off. Accrued sick leave cannot be applied.

When available paid absences are exhausted, then the balance of leave will be taken as unpaid.

Adoption or Foster Care Placement of Child (All Employees)

For the available 12 weeks of leave, the employee must utilize accrued vacation leave, personal days, and available compensatory time off. Accrued sick leave cannot be applied.

When available paid absences are exhausted, then the balance of the leave will be taken as unpaid, except if the child is ill.

Medical Leave for Employee with Serious Health Condition (All Employees)

For the available 12 weeks of leave, the employee must first utilize all available sick leave.

When the sick leave is exhausted, accrued vacation leave, personal days, and compensatory time off must be utilized.

When the available paid absences are exhausted, then the balance of the leave will be unpaid.

Long term disability is available as described in the Benefits Handbook.

Personal Leave to Care for a Family Member with a Serious Health Condition (All Employees)

For the available 12 weeks of leave (or available 26 weeks of leave for Service Member Leave), an employee is entitled to utilize all available sick leave if the family member resides in the same household.

When sick leave is exhausted, or when the employee has chosen not to use sick leave for this purpose, accrued vacation leave, personal days, and compensatory time off must be utilized.

If the family member does not reside in the same household, sick leave cannot be utilized. The employee must utilize accrued vacation leave, personal days, and available compensatory time off.

When available paid absences are exhausted, then the balance of the leave will be unpaid.

University Sick Leave Use Policy

An employee may use accrued leave for personal illness or injury or for the care of an ill member of the immediate family living in the same household (spouse, parents, parents-in-law, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and children).

OTHER PERSONAL LEAVE (not FMLA qualified)

An employee may request a personal leave or absence from work without pay for a consecutive period between 11 work days and 3 calendar months, which may be granted after an employee has exhausted available vacation leave, personal days, or applicable and available compensatory time.

NOTE

For employees represented by collective bargaining agreements, please refer to the leave of absence section in the appropriate contract.

For Additional Information

Contact the nearest office of the federal Wage and Hour Division, listed in most telephone directories under U.S. Government, Department of Labor.

U.S. Department of Labor
Employment Standards Administration
Wage and Hour Division
Washington, D.C. 20210

WH Publication 1420
June 1993