Procedure 5.21.01 - Family and Medical Leave


Eligibility

Regular Employees – An employee who has been employed with the college for at least one year and who has worked at least 1040 hours during the past 12 months is entitled to a total of 12 work weeks, unpaid FMLA during any 12-month period for one or more of the reasons listed below. To be compensated during any period of leave (except Civil Leave) the employee is required to use available annual or sick leave.

  1. For the birth of a child and the care of the child after birth, provided the leave is taken within a 12-month period following birth.
  2. For the care of a child placed with the employee for adoption, provided the leave is taken within a12-month period following adoption.
  3. For the care of the employee’s child, spouse, or parent, when that child, spouse, or parent has a serious health condition.
  4. For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the his/her position. Leave without pay beyond the 12-week period is administered under the college’s Leave Without Pay Policy.
  5. To care for a family member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; is on outpatient status; or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness. In the case of caregiver leave allowed after the injury or illness of a service member, eligible employees are afforded the opportunity to take off up to 26 weeks in a 12 month period. These 26 weeks are not in addition to the 12 weeks that FMLA provides for other reasons. Family members are defined as spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin.
  6. For any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, parent or “next of kin” of the employee is on active duty (or been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation.

Temporary Employees – This policy does not cover temporary employees since normally the maximum length of temporary appointment is one year; however, if, by exception, a temporary employee is extended employment beyond one year, the employee is covered if he/she has worked at least 1250 hours during the past 12-month period. The 12-month period during which FMLA may be taken will be calculated on a rolling year basis measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. Under the rolling 12 month period, each time an employee takes FMLA leave the remaining leave entitlement would be any balance of the 12 weeks which has not been used during the 12 months. For the purposes of FMLA calculation, 12 weeks is defined as 480 hours. FMLA Qualifying Event Procedures

A. Requirements for Leave

  1. When an employee requests leave for personal illness or the illness of an eligible family member, an Application/Request for Leave must be completed. Additionally, the health care provider must complete the Certification of Health Care Provider form.
  2. The “serious health condition” for which care is provided must involve: 1) inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or 2) continuing treatment by a health care provider.
  3. Leaves are not available to cover short-term conditions for which treatment and recovery are very brief. For example, unless complications arise, leaves are not available for the common cold, earaches, upset stomachs, ulcers, headaches other than migraines, routine dental or orthodontia problems, and periodontal diseases. Also, leaves are not available for routine physical, eye, or dental examinations or for cosmetic treatments not requiring inpatient hospital care.

B.Spouse Aggregation

If a husband and wife are employed by the college, the total number of workweeks of leave is limited to 12 workweeks during any 12-month period where such leave is taken pursuant to the provisions in number 1 and 2 above and pursuant to number 3 if the leave request is to care for a family member who has a serious medical condition.

C.Application for Leave

  1. To request a leave an Application/Request for Leave form available from the Human Resources department must be completed and returned to the Human Resources representative.
  2. A decision concerning the request will be made within 48 hours if the application is for an emergency. Otherwise, a decision will be made as soon as the necessary certification/document has been received by the Human Resources department. Whenever possible, the leave request should be made before the leave is to begin.

D.Advance Notice of Leave

  1. Employees are expected to provide at least 30 days advance notice of request whenever they know of the need that far in advance. Otherwise, the need should be made known as soon as possible, ordinarily within one to two business days. When an employee is unable to give advance notice, a medical certification must be provided to the college within 15 days of the request. Failure to provide the required medical certification in a timely manner may result in the leave being denied until certification is submitted.
  2. Birth or adoption – Employees are required to give the supervisor no less than 30 days’ notice in writing of the intention to take leave, subject to the actual date of the birth or adoption. If the date of the birth or adoption requires leave to begin in less than 30 days, the employee provides such notice as is practicable.
  3. Planned Medical Treatment – When the necessity arises for leave to care for the employee’s child, spouse, or parent or because the employee has a serious health condition, the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule the treatment so as not to unduly disrupt operations of the college, subject to the approval of the employee’s health care provider or the health care provider of the employee’s child, spouse, or parent.

E. Certification

  1. The college may require that a claim for leave because of adoption be supported by reasonable proof of adoption.
  2. The college will require that a claim for leave because of a serious illness of the employee or of the employee’s child, spouse, or parent be supported by a doctor’s certification.
  3. When the college has reason to doubt the validity of the certification, the college may require the employee to get the opinion of a second doctor designated or approved by the college. When the second opinion differs from the opinion in the original certification provided, the college may require the employee to get the opinion of a third doctor approved jointly by the employer and the employee. The third opinion is final and is binding on the college and the employee. The college may require that the employee get subsequent recertification on a reasonable basis. The second and third certification and the recertification must be at the college’s expense.

F.Length and Scheduling of Leave

  1. Leave may be up to 12 weeks in a prior rolling 12-month period. Leaves for a newborn, newly adopted child, or newly placed foster child must be completed within 12 months of the child’s arrival.
  2. Leaves for serious health conditions of family members or the employee may be taken in segments (called intermittent leave) or on a part-time schedule when there is a medical need that can best be accommodated through such a leave schedule. To the extent possible, an employee should schedule intermittent and part-time leaves at times that will be least disruptive for the college. In this event it may be necessary for the employee to temporarily transfer to another position where such a schedule could be better accommodated.

G. Charge

  1. For the birth of a child, the employee will exhaust available annual leave before going on leave without pay, except in the case of a disability (eg. complications associated with pregnancy) sick leave may be used.
  2. For the adoption of a child, the parents exhaust available annual leave before going to leave without pay.
  3. For the illness of an employee’s child, spouse, or parent, the employee exhausts available sick and annual leave before going on leave without pay.
  4. For the employee’s illness, the employee exhausts available sick and annual leave before going on leave without pay. If the illness extends beyond the 60-day waiting period required for short-term disability, the employee may choose whether to use the balance of available leave or begin drawing short-term disability benefits. Periods of paid leave, including leave taken under the Voluntary Shared Leave Policy, account for any part of the 12 workweeks.
  5. Employees will be required to submit an approved leave request indicating the number of hours and type leave being requested prior to the leave commencing.

H.Effects of Leaves on Benefits

  1. During the leave, health care coverage will be continued as long as the employee pays their portion of the insurance premiums, and leave time will count as time worked for purposes in establishing future eligibility of benefits based on length of service.
  2. Employees may elect to continue other benefits. However, to continue other benefits coverage during the leave the employee must pay the entire cost of these other benefits. Failure to pay insurance premiums within 30 days after the agreed upon payment date will result in cancellation of coverage.

I.Extensions of Leave

  1. In the event an employee is unable to return at the expiration date, an extension must be requested. The request must be accompanied by certification of the attending health provider of the serious health condition and the need for your care (when a family member is ill) or your inability to perform your job functions (when the employee is ill). This request should be submitted as soon as the employee is aware of the need to extend the leave and at least two (2) business days before the leave expires.
  2. An employee whose request for FMLA that is approved beyond twelve (12) weeks may not be guaranteed his/her same job position and pay upon his/her return. If the college replaces the position of an employee on extended leave, he/she will be able to apply for any open position for which he/she is qualified and medically “fit for duty.”
  3. After the period of leave pursuant to this policy, if the employee is unable to return to work, the supervisor must be notified immediately. Failure to report at the expiration of the leave, unless an extension has been requested and approved, may be considered a resignation.

J.Notice of Return from Leave

  1. At the time of the leave request an employee must indicate the projected duration of the leave. If the employee or family member recovers earlier than anticipated the employee will be expected to return to work as soon as care is no longer required.
  2. An employee on another type of leave (newborn, newly adopted or new foster child) who wishes to return early must contact their supervisor to make arrangements to return.

K. Return from Leave

  1. Reinstatement – An employee is reinstated to the same position held when the leave began or one of like pay grade, pay, benefits, and other conditions of employment. The college may require the employee to report at reasonable intervals to the supervisor regarding the employee’s status.
  2. Benefits – An employee is reinstated without loss of benefits accrued when the leave began. All benefits accrue during any period of paid leave. However, no benefits are accrued during any period of leave without pay.
  3. Health Benefits – The college maintains coverage for an employee under the State’s group health plan for the duration of leave at no cost to the employee. Additional costs of dependent or family coverage continue to be the responsibility of the employee. The college may recover its premium if an employee fails to return after the period of leave for any reason other than the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition or other circumstances beyond the employee’s control.

L.Termination

  1. An employee must return from a leave of absence the first scheduled work day after the leave ends. If an extension has not been granted, and the employee does not return at that time, he/she will be subject to corrective action up to and including termination.
  2. An employee who accepts employment from another employer while on leave may be terminated. (If there is a general workforce reduction while the employee is on leave, and the employee would have been affected in accordance with the reduction process, the employee will be notified of the decision at the time of the layoff).

M. Confirmation of Leave

The Human Resource Office will notify an employee by mail of their leave status and FMLA eligibility 48 hours after your Human Resource Representative receives application and proper certification and/or documentation.

Other Leaves of Absence

A Leave of Absence may be granted when an employee has a situation that is of a special or unusual nature that may require extended time away from work, or when an employee does not qualify for FMLA.

Intermittent Leave or Reduced Work Schedule

With approval of the administration, the employee may take leave intermittently or on a reduced schedule to care for the employee’s child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition or because the employee has a serious health condition. If such leave is foreseeable, based on planned medical treatment, the college may require the employee to transfer temporarily to an available alternative position for which the employee is qualified and that has equivalent pay and benefits and better accommodates recurring periods of leave. Interference with Rights

A. Actions Prohibited

It is unlawful to interfere with, restrain, or deny any right provided by this policy or to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee for opposing any practice made unlawful by this policy.

B. Protected Activity

It is unlawful to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because the employee does any of the following:

  1. Files any civil action or reinstitutes or causes to be instituted any civil proceeding under or related to this policy.
  2. Gives, or is about to give, any information in connection with an inquiry or proceeding relating to any right provided by this policy.
  3. Testifies, or is about to testify, in an inquiry or proceeding relating to any right provided under this policy.

Enforcement

A violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 can result in any of the following or a combination of any of the following:

  1. S. Department of Labor investigation
  2. Civil liability with the imposition of court costs and attorney’s fees
  3. Administrative action by the U.S. Department of Labor