4.05 Family Medical Leave of Absence

Origination date: 10/1/93
Revised: 1/1/2000
Applicability: Academic Professionals, Administrators, Classified Staff, Faculty, Service Professionals

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to recognize employees may need to take time away from work due to 1) personal illness, 2) family illness or 3) other qualified family matters.

Eligibility

Regular employees working at least 50% time (twenty hours per week) who have been working for the university for a continuous period of not less than one year are eligible for Family Medical Leave of Absence. An employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the prior twelve months before a Family Medical Leave of Absence can be approved. A regular employee working less than 50% time (temporary, occasional or probationary) is not eligible.

Duration and Qualifying Reasons

An eligible employee may request a total of twelve work weeks of Family Medical Leave of Absence during any twelve month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • the birth or adoption of a child of an employee.
  • the placement of a child with an employee for adoption or foster care.
  • to care for the spouse, or child, or parent of an employee if such spouse, child, or parent has a serious health condition.
  • a serious health condition that prevents an employee from performing the essential job functions of his/her position. Refer to Policy 4.04 Extended Leave of Absence.

The entitlement to leave for the birth or placement of a child shall expire at the end of a twelve month period beginning on the date of such birth or placement.

In the case in which a husband and wife are both employed by the university and are entitled to leave under this policy the total amount of work weeks of leave to which both may be entitled will be limited to twelve work weeks during a calendar year for:

  • for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a child after birth.
  • for the adoption or foster care placement of a child or to care for the child after placement.
  • to care for a parent with a serious health condition. The parent cannot be an "in-law."

Scheduling Medical Leave

Family Medical Leave of Absence may be taken intermittently or by working a reduced schedule, in order to care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition and/or because a serious health condition prevents an employee from performing the job functions of his/her position. However, the employee must try to schedule leave so as not to disrupt departmental or university operations. The taking of leave intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule shall not result in a reduction in the total amount of leave to which the employee is entitled.

Family Medical Leave of Absence taken for the birth or placement of a child may not be taken intermittently.

Unauthorized or fraudulent use of this benefit may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Pay Status

The university will require the employee to substitute any accrued sick or vacation leave for any part of the twelve week Family Medical Leave of Absence period in order to allow the employee to remain on paid status. Non-exempt employees may also use accumulated compensatory time balances to stay on paid status if they wish.

The employee will be on an unpaid status if accrued leave balances are depleted.

Documentation Requirements

Requests for Family Medical Leave of Absence must be submitted in writing to the department head and made at least thirty days in advance of the need for leave for birth, adoption, or planned medical treatment when the need for such leave is foreseeable.

The thirty-day advance request is not required in cases of medical emergency or other unforeseen events. The employee shall provide as much notice as is practicable, however, to avoid disrupting the operations of the university.

All requests for Family Medical Leave of Absence (except for requests for leave for the birth or adoption of a child) must be accompanied by a Certification of Physician or Practitioner. This certification must include enough information to confirm a serious health condition exists, the probable duration and the specific period of incapacity. In the case where the employee needs to care for a child, spouse or parent with a serious health condition, the certification must include a description of the care and an estimate of the time that the employee needs to care for the family member. If the request is for intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule for planned medical treatment the statement must state the dates on which such treatment is expected to be given and the duration of such treatment.

An employee may be required to provide recertification at thirty day intervals during the Family Medical Leave of Absence period.

The certification form must be provided within 15 calendar days from the date the employee is notified it is required. Failure to provide medical certification may delay commencement of the leave or may result in denial of the request.

All requests for Family Medical Leave of Absence are first submitted to the immediate supervisor, then forwarded to the department head, the dean/director and the appropriate vice president/provost. A copy of the original request and accompanying statements should be forwarded to the Human Resources Department.

Effect on Benefits

Group Health and Dental Insurance: The university will continue to pay the employer's portion of the group health insurance premiums (medical and dental) for the duration of the Family Medical Leave of Absence whether the employee is in pay or non-pay status. However, if the employee’s premium payment is more than 30 days late, the university may discontinue coverage.

Other Insurances: Participation in automobile insurance, life insurance, long and short-term disability insurance may be maintained and coverage continued if the employee pays the required premiums on the established due date. If the employee elects to continue coverage he/she must pay the entire cost of the insurance, which includes both the employee's and the university's portion of the cost. Arrangements must be made with the Human Resources Department prior to the beginning of the leave. Failure to make such arrangement prior to the beginning of the leave or to make payments within established timelines could result in termination of the employee's benefits.

Leave Accruals: Vacation and sick leave hours will only accrue while an employee is on a paid status.

Retirement: No refund of any retirement contribution is made upon the commencement of the leave, since the return of the employee is anticipated. Service credits do not accrue during any period of unpaid leave, but will commence upon the employee's return to work.

Other Benefits: The educational aid benefit remains in effect for employees during the leave period as does the use of university facilities.

Continuous Service: Computation of service dates for continuous service, vacation accrual rates, seniority, and general pay adjustments will include this leave as creditable service providing the employee returns to work on the first workday following the termination of the authorized leave.

Return to Work

The granting of Family Medical Leave of Absence will in most circumstances be followed by the employee’s return to his/her former or essentially equal position. The practical effect of this is that the department head should hold the employee's regular position anticipating the employee's return from Family Medical Leave of Absence. However, the department head can hire a temporary replacement for the duration of the leave. It is the employee’s responsibility to notify his/her supervisor of the intent to return to work at least two weeks prior to reporting back to work to facilitate planning and completion of paperwork. A physician’s release may be required.

Failure to Return or Accept Employment

An employee will be considered to have voluntarily terminated employment if he/she:

  • fails to return to work upon the expiration of the Family Medical Leave of Absence; or
  • fails to contact his/her department head two weeks prior to the end of the Family Medical Leave of Absence to request an extension ( if applicable); or
  • advises the university of his/her intention not to return to work; or
  • refuses comparable reemployment.

An employee who voluntarily terminates at the end of the Family Medical Leave of Absence for reasons listed above, will be required to return to the university the full insurance premiums paid by the university on behalf of that employee during the period of the Family Medical Leave of Absence.

Continuation of Leave After Family Medical Leave of Absence

Employees who require additional leave from work beyond the 12 weeks provided in this policy may request an extended leave of absence in accordance with policy 4.04 Extended Leave of Absence.