The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), enacted in 1993 by Congress, is a federal law to help employees balance their work and family lives by allowing them to leave for certain qualifying condition. Time off work is provided for up to 12 work weeks in a 12 month period for a qualifying event for eligible College employees.
Columbus State employees (faculty, staff, regular or temporary and some part-time) who have been employed by the College for at least 12 months (time may not necessarily be consecutively but within the last seven years) AND who have worked for at least 1250 hours in the previous 12 month period.
- The birth of a child and the care of the newborn child.
- The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
- To care for an immediate family member of the employee who has a serious health condition.
- A serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of the job.
*FML also recognizes several Military Leave Entitlements.
The FMLA defines a serious health condition as an illness, injury, impairment, or a physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential care facility OR continuing treatment by a health care provider. Any absence involving hospitalization qualifies as a serious health condition.
When it is medically necessary, an employee can take leave on an intermittent basis or on a reduced leave schedule. Employees needing to take leave for a planned medical treatment must make a reasonable effort to schedule these appointments so as not to disrupt the employer's operation.
The Americans with Disabilities Act supports individuals with disabilities to ensure access, support and when appropriate, reasonable accommodations. Employees can request reasonable accommodations for disabilities and conditions related to pregnancy and birth. This could include requests for leave. The FML could potentially run concurrently with any leave accommodations made from the employee. The Human Resources Department (HR) will determine what constitutes a reasonable accommodation and how it impacts FML.
No. Medical records related to FML are kept in files separate from personnel-related records and only stored in HR. These records must be treated as confidential and made available on a need-to-know basis only. Supervisors and/or managers may be informed about necessary work duty restrictions, as well as necessary accommodations.
HR can provide the supervisor with information regarding the length of leave. Employees should inform their supervisor about the timing and length of leave because they are still required to comply with the department's usual and customary process for requesting leave, absent unusual circumstances. Further, HR can inform supervisors about any necessary restrictions of work or duties of the employee and necessary accommodations.
Possibly. An illness involving inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider is considered a serious health condition. Employees who are out for more than three (3) days, visits a doctor and receives a prescription should be referred to HR to begin the FML process. Employees who are out for more than three (3) days and the illness becomes a serious health condition requiring hospitalization should also be referred to HR to begin the FML process. Common seasonal sicknesses are not considered a serious health condition under the FMLA unless one of the above scenarios occurs.
Yes. Nothing in the FMLA prohibits employees from checking email while out on leave. However, the supervisor should not encourage employees to work while on leave.
Once HR learns of an employee's need for FML, they must provide the employee with an eligibility notice within five (5) business days of the initial request. The employee is provided with the necessary paperwork in this notice. The employee then has 15 days to return the medical certification (if required) to HR. HR is then responsible for designating the leave as FML qualifying and must provide a Designation Notice to the employee within five (5) business days of receiving the medical certification or receiving enough information to determine if the leave qualifies as FML.
No. HR is responsible for sending out the Notice of Rights and Responsibilities as well as the Designation Notice.
Employees must give at least 30 days' notice when the need for leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement for adoption or foster care, or planned medical treatment. If 30 days' notice is not possible, employees are required to provide notice "as soon as practicable." Employees must also provide notice as soon as practicable for foreseeable leave due to a qualifying exigency, regardless of how far in advance such leave is foreseeable. The regulations clarify that is should be practicable for an employee to provide notice of the need for FML that is foreseeable either the same day or next business day. In all cases, the determination of when an employee should practicably provide notice must account for the individual facts and circumstances. Likewise, when the need for FML is unforeseeable, employees are required to provide notice as soon as practicable under the facts and circumstances of the particular case, which are clarified under the regulations within the time prescribed by the employer's usual and customary notice requirements applicable to the leave.
When Mandy goes to her Monday physical therapy appointment for her serious health condition, she finds out that the appointment she previously had scheduled for Thursday has been changed to Friday. When she returns to work after her Monday appointment, Mandy informs her employer that she will no longer need to leave on Thursday for physical therapy, but will need to leave on Friday instead. Mandy has now provided notice of her need for foreseeable leave as soon as practivable.
Since the College is no longer utilizing MetLife to administer FML, all employees need to complete an eLeave Request Form when using leave covered by the FMLA. Employees entering time via CougarWeb will still continue to report FML time used in this manner. In addition, they will also submit leave request forms so the FML time can be tracted. Exempt employees will continue submitting leave request forms when FML time is used. All leave request forms related to FML should be forwarded by supervisors to email@example.com for processing.
The FMLA also provides certain military leave entitlements. You may take Family and Medical Leave (FML) for specified reasons related to certain military deployments. Eligible employees with an immediate family member on active duty or call to active duty in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation may use their 12 week leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies. Additionally, you may use up to 26 work weeks of leave during a 12 month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the service member medically unfit to perform their duties.
Employees may choose or employers require employees to use their accrued paid leave while taking Family and Medical Leave. In order to use paid leave for Family and Medical Leave, employees must comply with the employer’s normal paid leave policies. Reduction of pay for partial days off will not impact an employee’s exempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
An employee does not need to use this leave in one block of time. Leave can be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary. If leave is required intermittently, the employer may require the employee to transfer temporarily to an alternative position of equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates recurring periods of absence or a part-time schedule. Regardless, it is the responsibility of the employee to make every effort to schedule leave for planned medical treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operational mode of business.
An employee granted Family and Medical Leave will be returned to the same position held prior to leave or to an equivalent position including pay and benefits. A doctor’s release may be required if an employee is returning from a medical leave of three or more days. Employee fraud under this policy may result in disciplinary measures, including loss of the right to job reinstatement.
An employee on approved Family and Medical Leave has continuing coverage under the employer’s group medical insurance and may continue coverage for spouse and dependents during the period of unpaid leave. The employee on unpaid Family and Medical Leave continues to receive other benefits except (1) pension contributions (2) accrual of sick leave and vacation days during any period of unpaid leave. Employers may recover premiums paid to maintain an employee on the group health insurance during Family and Medical Leave when the employee fails to return to work for reasons other than (1) continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition that entitles the employee to leave, or (2) other circumstances demonstrated to be beyond the control of the employee.
An employee must provide the employer with at least a 30 day notice for the need of leave, or when an emergency condition prevents such notice, as soon as practicable. Employees must provide sufficient information for the employer to determine if the leave may qualify for Family and Medical Leave protection and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave. Sufficient information may include that the employee is unable to perform job functions; the family member is unable to perform daily activities, the need for hospitalization or continuing treatment by a health care provider, or circumstances supporting the need for military family leave.
In the case of medical leave for the employee’s illness or injury or that of a family member, the employee must in a timely manner, normally within 15 days of a leave, request the HealthCare Provider Certification form to obtain the following information from the doctor:
(1) the date of the serious health condition,
(2) the duration of the condition
(3) A statement by the responsible health care provider that the employee is need to care for the ill person and the estimated length of the leave, or a statement that the employee cannot perform the functions of the job
(4) The medical reasons for intermittent leave or reduced work schedule if required.
An eligible employee's use of approved FML will be recorded on the employee's official time records and counted towards the employee's basic leave or military family leave entitlement until the available leave entitlement is exhausted. Use of FML may be tentatively entered into the eligible employee's official time record while awaiting sufficient information or certification to confirm a FML-qualifying reason exists.
Human Resources will maintain copies of the employee's completed Employee Request for Family and Medical Leave, Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities, Designation Notice and all certification forms. These forms will be housed seperately and maintained in a secure database system in separate files, apart from employee personnel files in the Human Resources department.