Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 

The FMLA is a labor law allowing an eligible employee to take job-protected unpaid leave due to a serious health condition (as defined by the FMLA) that makes the employee unable to perform his/her job; to care for a sick family member; or to care for a new child (including by birth, adoption or foster care). Additionally, the FMLA allows an employee to take job-protected unpaid leave to care for a covered service member or veteran with a serious injury or illness and allows for exigency leave for military families.

Eligible employees are defined as:
• having worked for that employer for at least 12 months; and
• having worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave; and,
• work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed at the location or within 75 miles of the location

Eligible employees are entitled to:
Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:

• the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
• the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
• to care for the employee's spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition

Definition of Spouse:
In compliance with recent United States Supreme Court precedent, the term "spouse" for federal tax purposes, and for other federally mandated benefits, including the Family Medical Leave Act, shall include a same sex spouse where the marriage is legally recognized in the State where the marriage was performed.

For most employer-provided benefits, however, federal law does not compel benefit plans to provide coverage for same sex spouses. In keeping with past practice of the University, Texas law (which does not recognize same sex marriage), and the teachings of the Catholic Church, the term "spouse" is defined as a legally recognized union between a man and a woman, including properly executed and legally authorized common law marriages.

Parent means biological, adoptive, step or foster parent or any other individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a child. The term does not include "parents in law."

Child means biological, adopted, foster, stepchild, legal ward or child of person standing in loco parentis, who is under the age of 18 or age 18 or older and "incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability."

In loco parentis is defined as including those with day-to-day responsibilities to care for or financially support a child.

• a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his/her job;
• any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on "covered active duty;"

Twenty-six workweeks of military caregiver leave- leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member's spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin.

Intermittent Leave/ Reduced Schedules:
The FMLA allows employees to take FMLA on an intermittent basis or to work a reduced schedule under certain circumstances. Employees needing intermittent/ reduced schedule leave for foreseeable medical treatment must work with their employers to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt the employer's operations.

Intermittent leave can be recorded in as small of increments of time as a quarter hour (15 minutes). In cases of FMLA leave, exempt (salaried) employees should document all leave time taken including partial day leave time. The FMLA allows deduction of partial leave days when a physician orders an exempt employee to work less than 8 hours per day and the leave is requested under the Family Medical Leave Act policy.

Medical Insurance and Pay during FMLA Leave:
During FMLA leave, group health insurance coverage continues under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Additionally, the University requires employees to use their accrued sick and vacation leave time during the entirety of their FMLA leave. If the leave time is depleted during the FMLA leave, the employee will go into an unpaid status. Disability leave, including workers' compensation leave (to the extent it qualifies) will be designated as FMLA leave and will run concurrently with FMLA.

Employee Responsibilities
In general, employees must give Human Resources at least 30 days advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when he/she knows about the need for the leave in advance and it is possible and practical to do so. In cases where it is not possible to give advance notice, the employee should give notice as soon as it is known that the leave is needed and as soon as it is practical to do so. The employee should contact Human Resources in order to request leave under the FMLA.

The employee will be required to provide support for their request for FMLA by a certification issued by a health care provider or written documentation of a military member's covered active duty or call to covered active duty status for requests for exigency leave. Certification forms should be obtained from Human Resources. Failure to provide certification may result in denial of the leave request.

Employees are required to report all time used under the FMLA in writing to Human Resources. If the leave is intermittent it should be reported on a per pay period basis. Additionally, the University may require an employee on FMLA leave to report periodically on their status and intent to return to work. In some instances, the employee may be required to prove a medical release to return to work.

For more information about the FMLA, employees are encouraged to visit the following website: whd/fmla