Family Medical Leave Act
1. What is FMLA leave? The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with unpaid leave for the employee’s own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a parent, spouse or child, for childbirth, caring for a newborn child (childrearing), placement of a child for adoption or foster care, and for certain leaves associated with the employee’s or certain family member’s military service or to care for certain family members or next of kin who are servicemembers with serious illness or injury.
2. Am I eligible for FMLA leave? An employee is eligible for FMLA leave if he or she has been employed by the school district for at least 52 weeks and worked 1,250 service hours during the 12-month period immediately prior to the start of leave.
3. What is a “serious health condition? A “serious health condition” means an illness, injury impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves one or more of the following:
Inpatient Care. An overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility including any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care.
Incapacity and Treatment. A period of incapacity (e.g., inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities) of more than three consecutive, full calendar days, including any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition), that also involves:
(a) Treatment two or more times within 30 days of the first day of incapacity (unless extenuating circumstance exist), by a health care provider, by a nurse or physician’s assistant under direct supervision of a health care provider, or be a provider of health care services (e.g. physical therapist) under orders of, or on referral by a health care provider; or
(b) Treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion within seven days of the condition, which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the health care provider.
(a) Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy; and
(b) Prenatal or postnatal care.
Chronic Conditions Requiring Treatments. A chronic condition:
(a) Requires periodic visits for treatment by a health care provider (at least two per year), or by a nurse or physician’s assistant under direct supervision of a health care provider.
(b) Continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of a single underlying condition); and
(c) May cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity (e.g. asthma, diabetes, epilepsy)
Permanent/Long-term Conditions Requiring Supervision
A period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. The employee or family member must be under the continuing supervision of, but need not to be receiving active treatment by a health care provider. Examples include Alzheimer’s, a severe stroke, or the terminal stages of a disease.
Multiple Treatments (Non-Chronic Conditions)
Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery therefrom) by a health care provider or by a provider of health care services under the orders of, or on referral, by a health care provider, either for restorative surgery after an accident or other injury, or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment, such as cancer (chemotherapy, radiation, etc), severe arthritis (physical therapy), kidney disease (dialysis).
4. When should I apply for FMLA? As soon as you know of the need for leave that may qualify as FMLA leave, you should submit a request for FMLA. For a foreseeable leave, such as for birth, adoption or planned medical treatment, you must provide at least a thirty (30) days-notice. For leave that is not foreseeable, you must provide leave as soon as practicable after learning of your need for leave.
5. How do I apply for FMLA? Your responsibilities include: • Notifying your work site supervisor as soon as you know that such a leave will be needed.
6. What if I don’t need to take all 12 weeks at once? There is an intermittent or reduced schedule option for FMLA leave. The employee is allowed to take the 12 weeks intermittently or on a reduced work schedule. Make sure to involve the supervisor to minimize operational disruption.
7. While on leave do I receive a paycheck? If the employee has any paid accrued sick leave, paid personal leave, and comp-time, that time will run concurrently with the FMLA leave and the employee would receive pay for those days. Employees also may use any available vacation leave during FMLA leave. Once all paid leave has been exhausted, the employee will be on approved unpaid leave for the remainder of the FMLA leave. If the employee has Short Term Disability and has filed an approved claim, disability benefits/pay will begin the 15th calendar day of absences. The employee has an available percentage option which determines the amount of disability pay. The employee would be on approved unpaid leave if they have no paid accrued time or Short-Term Disability.
8. What if I have no accrued time off and no Short-Term Disability? If the employee is a member of the Sick Bank, a total of 15 days can be borrowed from the bank. Borrowed days must be paid back to the sick bank. Once the 15 days have been exhausted, the employee is eligible to file for Catastrophic Leave / donated days. Donated days are not paid back. Forms for Sick Leave Bank and Catastrophic Leave are located in the Human Resources Department.
9. Does FMLA leave count towards retirement? FMLA counts towards retirement if the employee is in paid status. Once all pay status has been exhausted, FMLA leave will not count towards retirement.
10. Does FMLA affect my insurance? An insurance allocation is the amount the State pays for each employee’s insurance premium. The employee accrues one allocation of insurance benefit for every month worked and one extra allocation for every three consecutive months worked. If the employee does not have enough allocations to cover premiums for all months, then the insurance price for the employee will be their premium plus the amount the state pays. If you are in pay status, FMLA will not affect your insurance. If you are in unpaid status, FMLA will affect your insurance as follows: You must pay the employee portion of the premium, and if you have not earned enough allocations to cover 12 months then you must pay the full premium (the State portion plus the employee portion of the premium). If such premium payments are not made, insurance coverage will lapse and no benefits will be paid for claims incurred while the policy has lapsed. The Board retains the right to collect all insurance premiums from the employee which was paid by the Board if the employee does not return to work after FMLA leave has ended, unless the employee does not return because of a serious health condition or other circumstances beyond the employee's control.
11. While on FMLA, do I accrue sick/vacation time? Vacation and sick time will accrue while on FMLA if the employee is in pay status.
12. What happens with my other benefits? Any unused employment benefits accrued by the employee up to the day on which the leave begins will not be lost upon return to work.
13. If I need to extend my leave do I need to contact my supervisor or Human Resources? Contact both the supervisor and Human Resources. Send in writing (letter, email, etc.) to Human Resources the request to extend leave time along with the corrected dates. We will notify you if any additional medical documentation is required.
Family Medical Leave: Employees who meet certain qualifications may be eligible for up to (60) workdays of unpaid leave for themselves, or to care for a family member. Members will earn the insurance allocation during this leave.
5.11 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
5.11.1 Eligible Employees – The FMLA is applicable to all persons who have been employed for at least twelve (12) months and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during that twelve (12) month period.
5.11.2 Medical Leave Provided by the Act – Under the FMLA, eligible employees are entitled to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave during any twelve (12) month period for one or more of the following reasons:
a. The birth and first year care of a newborn child;
b. The placement of a foster child or adoption;
c. The care of an immediate family member, defined as a spouse, child or parent, with a serious health condition;
d. The taking of medical leave because of the employee’s own serious health condition.
For the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, the entitlement to leave for child care expires at the end of the twelve (12) month period beginning on the date of birth, adoption, or placement. Leave associated with the illness of a child will only be provided if the child is under eighteen (18) years of age or is incapable of self-care due to physical or mental disability.
5.11.3 Serious Health Conditions – The term “serious health condition” means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves the following:
a. Any period of incapacity in connection with or following inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility.
b. Continuing treatment by a health-care provider, to include any period of incapacity due to:
1. A health condition, including treatment and recovery, lasting more than three (3) consecutive, full calendar days, and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition that also involves:
Treatment two or more times, within 30 days of the first day of incapacity, unless extenuating circumstances exist, by a health care provider, by a nurse under direct supervision of a health care provider, or by a provider of health care services (e.g., physical therapist) under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider; or
Treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion, which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the health care provider.
The requirement for treatment by a health care provider means an in-person visit to a health care provider. The first (or only) in-person treatment visit must take place within seven days of the first day of incapacity.
Whether additional treatment visits or a regimen of continuing treatment is necessary within the 30–day period shall be determined by the health care provider.
“Extenuating circumstances” means circumstances beyond the employee’s control that prevents the follow-up visit occurring as planned by the health care provider, and will depend on the situation.
2. Pregnancy or prenatal care;
3. A chronic, serious health condition which continues over an extended period of time, requires periodic visits to a health care provider, and may involve episodes of incapacity (e.g., asthma and diabetes);
4. A permanent or long-term condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g. Alzheimer’s, severe stroke) and for which supervision of a health-care provider is required;
5. Multiple treatments for restorative surgery or for a condition which would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive, full calendar days if not treated.
5.11.4 Military Family Leave Provided by the Act
a. Qualifying Exigency Leave – Under the FMLA, an eligible employee with a spouse, child, or parent on active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation may utilize the twelve (12) week medical leave entitlement to address qualifying exigencies resulting from that service.
b. Military Caregiver Leave – An eligible employee, who is the spouse, child, parent, or next of kin of a covered service member, is entitled to take up to twenty-six (26) weeks (including any medical leave provided by the Act) of unpaid leave during any twelve (12) month period (beginning the first day of the leave) to care for an individual covered service member with a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty while on active duty that may render the service member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank, or rating. A covered service member is a member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and 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 incurred in the line of duty on active duty.
5.11.5 Spouse Employed by the Board – Spouses who are both employed by the Board are limited to a combined total of twelve (12) weeks of family leave for the birth and care of a newborn child, for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, for the care of a parent who has a serious health condition, and for qualifying exigency leave. Spouses who are both employed by the Board are limited to a combined total of twenty-six (26) weeks for military caregiver leave.
5.11.6 Intermittent Leave – An employee may take leave intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule only when medically necessary to care for a spouse, parent, or child or to receive planned medical treatment. Intermittent leave should be scheduled to the extent practicable so as not to unduly disrupt the operations of the Board. Intermittent leave may be further limited for teachers in accordance with federal law.
5.11.7 Calculating Leave – The Board calculates leave based on the “rolling” method described by the FMLA. Under the “rolling” method, each time an employee takes FMLA leave, the remaining leave entitlement would be the balance of the twelve (12) weeks which has not been used during the immediately preceding twelve (12) months.
5.11.8 Use of Vacation and Sick Leave – If an employee has available sick leave, vacation leave, personal leave or other applicable paid leave, the employee must utilize those forms of leave before taking unpaid leave under the FMLA. In that instance, the paid leave and the FMLA leave will run concurrently and the employee’s twelve (12) weeks of unpaid FMLA leave will be reduced by the paid leave utilized, as long as the need for such leave results from one or more of the qualifying reasons under the FMLA. The substitution of paid time for unpaid FMLA leave does not extend the length of FMLA leave.
5.11.9 Notice – Employees seeking leave under the FMLA must provide thirty (30) days advance notice of the need to take leave and the duration of the leave, if known, when the need is foreseeable. When the need for leave is unforeseeable, employees should notify their supervisors as soon as possible. Employees must also provide notice of the need for qualifying exigency leave as soon as practicable. Calling in “sick,” without providing the reasons for the needed leave, will not be considered sufficient notice for FMLA leave under this policy. Employees must respond to certain questions to determine if absences are FMLA-qualifying. If an employee fails to explain the reasons for FMLA leave, the leave may be denied. When employees seek leave for FMLA-qualifying reasons, they must specifically reference the qualifying reason for the leave or the need for FMLA leave. The employee must email this notice to their immediate supervisor, and the System’s Benefits Coordinator, as soon as possible.
5.11.10 Certification for Medical or Military Caregiver Leave – Every request for FMLA leave based upon the serious health condition of the employee or employee’s spouse, children, or parents, or leave as a military caregiver must be supported by medical certification issued by the appropriate health care provider on forms provided by the Board. It is the employee’s responsibility to provide their supervisor with timely, complete, and sufficient medical certifications. Whenever the employee’s supervisor requests employees to provide FMLA medical certifications, employees must provide the requested certifications within fifteen (15) calendar days after the request, unless it is not practicable to do so despite an employee’s diligent, good faith efforts. The employee will be notified if the medical certifications are insufficient or incomplete and provide employees at least seven (7) calendar days to cure deficiencies. FMLA leave will be denied if employees do not timely cure deficiencies or otherwise fail to timely submit requested medical certifications.
For leave based on a serious health condition of the employee or employee’s spouse, child, or parent, the Board reserves the right to obtain a second opinion from an independent health-care provider designated by the Board. If the opinion received by the employee and the second opinion conflict, the Board and the employee must agree on a third provider to issue a binding opinion. Both the second and third opinions (if necessary) will be at the expense of the Board.
5.11.11 Medical Recertification – Depending on the circumstances and duration of FMLA leave, the Board may require the employee to obtain recertification of medical conditions giving rise to the need for leave. The Board will notify employees if recertification is required and will give employees at least fifteen (15) calendar days to provide medical recertification.
5.11.12 Certification for Qualifying Exigency Leave – Certification will be required by the Board for requests for qualifying exigency leave. Certification must be timely submitted on forms available from the Board. For the first such request, certification may include a copy of the military service member’s duty orders or other military documentation.
5.11.13 Return to Work – The Board may require an employee who has taken leave due to the employee’s own serious medical condition to provide the Board with a healthcare provider’s certification in order to return to work. Any employee who takes leave under these provisions will be entitled to be restored to the original position held when the leave commenced or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.
5.11.14 Maintenance of Benefits – Benefits accrued by the employee before leave is taken are not lost when approved FMLA leave is taken. Employees who are on approved FMLA leave will remain eligible to participate in benefit programs in which the employee was enrolled at the time of the leave, provided that the employee will continue to be responsible for payment of employee’s portion of any cost, premium, or like payment that is required to maintain eligibility for the coverage or benefit. An employee that does not return to work after FMLA leave, will be required to reimburse the Board for the cost of benefits coverage extended to the employee during the leave, unless the reason for the employee’s failure to return to work is (i) a continuing serious health condition suffered by either the employee or a family member, or (ii) other circumstances beyond the employee’s control.
5.11.15 Instructional Employees – Medical leave taken by eligible instructional employees is subject to further limitations and provisions established by the FMLA. The Superintendent or his designee is authorized to develop additional information and guidelines concerning Instructional Employees.