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Family Medical Leave
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) - Overview
The Family and Medical Leave Act, (FMLA) entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. An employee who has worked for a covered employer for at least one year and has met the requirement of 1250 or more work hours during the 12 months prior to a request for leave is eligible to use time under The Family and Medical Leave Act according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.
An eligible employee will be provided up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within any 12 month period (beginning with the first day used) for the following qualifying reasons:
- The birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, to provide physical or psychological care for that child. This also includes incapacity due to pregnancy and prenatal medical care
- To care for an immediate family member who has been diagnosed with a serious health condition
- When the employee is unable to perform the functions of his or her job as a result of a serious health condition.
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. (See The Employee’s Guide to MILITARY FAMILY LEAVE)
Substitution of Paid Leave
Employees may choose or employersrequire 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.
Intermittent or Reduced Work Leave
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.
Employee Benefits During Leave
An employee on an 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.
Notification of Employer
An employee must provide the employer with at least a 30 day notice for the need of a 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.
Certification of Need for 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.
The employer will keep a record of whether absences are FMLA leave. Employees are required to cooperate in providing and completing the necessary forms as designated by the employer to assist in this effort of tracking leave if the time used is associated with a medical certification on file.
All medical information is confidential and to be kept in a separate file from other personnel information. Covered employers must inform employees if leave will be designated as FMLA –protected and the amount of leave counted against the employee’s leave entitlement. If the employer determines that the leave is not FMLA- protected, the employer must notify the employee.
The medical records of the employee are to be used only for purposes of implementing this policy.
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