Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Federal law, which provides up to 12 weeks of job protected leave for:

  • Birth and care of a newborn child of employee;
  • Placement with an employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
  • Taking care of a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition; or
  • Taking medical leave when employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition
  • Exigency leave associated with a family member's covered active duty service or call to covered service.
  • Taking care of a service-member or veteran undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy for serious injury or illness (up to 26 weeks in a 12 month period)

Basic elements of the law are as follows:

  • Provides security for employees who have worked at least 1,250 hours for current employer in the last 12 months.
  • Child defined as biological, adopted or foster, step, legal ward who is under 18 or over 18 and incapable of self‐care because of mental or physical disability that limits one or more of the "major life activities."
  • Parent does not include a parent "in law".
  • Serious health condition is defined as an illness , injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either any period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care ex; an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility and any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care of continuing treatment by a health care provider, which includes any period of incapacity ex; the inability to work attend school, or perform other regular duties due to:
    • A health condition, including treatment therefore or recovery there from lasting more than three consecutive days and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition that also includes treatment two or more times by or under the supervision of a health care provider with a continuing regimen of treatment; or
    • Pregnancy or prenatal care; a visit to the health care provider is not necessary for each absence; or
    • A chronic serious health condition which continues over an extended period of time, requires periodic visits to a health care provider, and may involve occasional episodes of incapacity; example asthma, diabetes, a visit to a health care provider is not necessary for each absence; or
    • A permanent of long term condition for which treatment may not be effective: example; terminal cancer. Only supervision by a health care provider is required, rather than active treatment; or
    • Any absence to receive multiple treatments for restorative surgery or for a condition which would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three days if not treated; example, chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer.
  • Serious injury or illness for a member of the armed forces (including a member of the National Guard or reserves) must have been incurred by the member in the line of duty on active duty in the armed forces and that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member's office, grade, rank or rating or for a veteran who was a covered service-member of the armed forces an injury or illness that was incurred by the member in the line of duty on active duty in the armed forces and that manifested itself before or after the member became a veteran.
  • Health Care Provider means doctors of medicine or osteopathy authorized to practice medicine or surgery by the state in which that doctor practices; or podiatrists, dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists, and chiropractors, authorized to practice and perform within the scope of their practice under state law or nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and clinical social workers authorized to practice and perform within the scope of their practice and perform within the scope of their practice as defined by state law; or any health care provider recognized by the employer or the employer's group health plan benefits manager.
  • Time taken off work due to pregnancy complications can be counted against the 12 weeks of family leave. Spouses employed by the same employer are jointly entitled to a combined total of 12 work weeks of family leave for birth and care of the newborn child, for placement of a child for adoption or foster care, and to care for a parent who has a serious health condition. Leave for birth and care or placement for adoption or foster care if used intermittently is subject to the employer's approval.
  • There must be need for medical leave, as distinguished from voluntary treatments and procedures, and it must be that such medical need can be best accommodated to an intermittent or reduced leave schedule. Elective cosmetic treatments which are not medically necessary are excluded, such as orthodontia or acne.
  • While the leave is unpaid, the employer may allow or mandate use of accrued leave to produce pay.
  • Employer must maintain contribution to health insurance during absence.
  • Workers compensation leave can count against an employee's FMLA leave entitlement, as they run together, if the reason for the absence is due a qualifying serious injury, and the employer properly notifies the employee in writing that the leave will be counted as FMLA leave.
  • Upon return from FMLA leave, an employee must be restored to his or her original job or to an "equivalent" job, which means virtually identical to the original job in terms of pay, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions.
  • An employer may require medical certification to qualify for leave and again for return to position.
  • Employer may ask questions to confirm whether the leave needed or being taken qualifies for FMLA purposes and may require periodic reports on an employee's status and intent to return to work after leave.
  • Leave may be taken at once or intermittently during a rolling 12 month period which begins at point of first day of leave.
  • Employer is not required to continue FMLA benefits or reinstate employees who would have been laid off or otherwise had their employment terminated had they continued to work during the FMLA period.
  • FMLA does not require that employees on FMLA leave be allowed to accrue benefits or seniority.

When use of leave for medical reasons is planned or known in advance the leave should be discussed with both your immediate supervisor and the Office of Human Resources to ensure all contractual and other legal rights are applied and understood. The administration of the FMLA tends to be based on the unique characteristics of each medical case. Early consultation with the Office of Human Resources is encouraged.

When returning from an injury, hospitalization, any surgery or protracted illness, all employees must report first to the College Health Service to submit physician's clearance to resume job duties. In some cases, the College Physician or Health Service Director may wish to discuss or examine the condition. This process is necessary to protect both college and employee. In general "light duty" is not allowed.