Family and Medical Leave
Pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), employees who have worked for the College for at least twelve (12) months and at least 1,250 hours during the prior twelve (12) months may take up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave ("FMLA" leave) for any of the following four reasons:
- Birth of a child of the employee and in order to care for the newborn child;
- Placement of a child into the employee's family by adoption or by a foster care arrangement;
- Care of the employee's spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition; or
- Inability of the employee to perform the functions of the employee's position due to a serious health condition.
Any FMLA leave taken by an employee during the preceding twelve (12) month period will be used to determine the amount of available leave. For instance, an employee who takes 4 weeks of FMLA in December will have an additional 8 weeks of FMLA available, if needed, in January and February.
FMLA leave for the birth and/or placement of a child into an employee's family may only be taken within the twelve (12) months after the date of the birth or placement of the child. In the case of unpaid leave for the birth or placement of a child, intermittent leave or working a reduced number of hours is not permitted, unless both the employee and the College agree. If both spouses are employed by the College, the combined leave shall not exceed twelve (12) weeks.
For purposes of this policy, a serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves:
- Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with or consequent to such inpatient care; or
- Continuing treatment by a health care provider, which includes any one or more of the following:
- a period of incapacity due to a serious health condition of more than three consecutive calendar days plus either two or more treatments by a health care provider or one treatment by a health care provider followed by a regimen of continuing treatment;
- a period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care;
- a period of incapacity or treatment for such incapacity due to a chronic health condition such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy;
- a period of incapacity due to a permanent or long-term condition for which treatment may not be effective such as Alzheimer's or a severe stroke; and
- a period of absence due to a serious health condition to receive multiple treatments or that would result in incapacitation without multiple treatments, such as cancer requiring chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
As used above, the term "incapacity" means that the employee must be unable to work at all or unable to perform any of the essential functions of the employee's job.
- In the case of unpaid leave for serious health conditions, the leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced hours basis only if such leave is medically necessary or to provide care or psychological comfort to an immediate family member with a serious health condition. In such cases, the College has the option, in its sole discretion, to require the employee to transfer to a temporary alternative job for which the employee is qualified and which better accommodates the intermittent leave or reduced hours leave than the employee's regular job. The temporary position will have pay and benefits equivalent to those of the employee's regular job.
- In cases of leave due to a serious health condition of the employee (including pregnancy and childbirth) or an immediate family member, paid sick days and, if needed, paid vacation time must be used before taking unpaid leave. In cases of leave for the placement of a child through adoption or foster care, paid vacation must be used before taking unpaid leave. Both the paid and unpaid leave will be counted in calculating the total period of FMLA leave used. Once the College has knowledge that the leave being taken qualifies as a Family and Medical Leave absence, the employee will be notified orally or in writing within two business days, absent extenuating circumstances, that the vacation and/or sick leave will be counted towards the total of twelve (12) weeks of family leave. If notice to the employee is oral, it will be confirmed in writing no later than the following payday. If notice is not given to the employee by the date the leave starts, the College may not designate the leave as FMLA leave retroactively, unless the College does not have sufficient information as to the employee's reason for taking the leave until after the leave commences. Ordinarily, the College will only designate the leave as FMLA leave prospectively, as of the date of notification to the employee that the time is being charged against the employee's FMLA entitlement.
- When the necessity of leave is foreseeable due to the expected birth or placement of a child, the employee must provide the College at least thirty (30) days notice of the employee's intention to take leave. If the date of birth or placement of a child requires the employee's leave to begin in less than thirty (30) days from the date of notice to the College, the employee must provide such notice as soon as practicable.
- Where the necessity for leave is due to a family member's or an employee's own serious health condition and is foreseeable based on planned medical treatment, the employee must:
- give at least thirty (30) days' notice, or as soon as practicable if treatment starts in less than thirty (30) days; and
- make a reasonable effort to schedule the treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the operation of the College, subject to the approval of the healthcare provider.
- Where the need for leave is unforeseeable, the employee must give notice as soon as practicable under the circumstances. Except in extraordinary circumstances, such notice must be given within one or two days of the commencement of the leave. At the time notice is given, the employee must provide the College with sufficient information to enable the College to determine whether or not the reason for the requested leave is a reason for which leave may be taken under this policy. Failure to do so will result the request for FMLA leave being denied and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge, for violation of the College's attendance policy.
- Any leave request based on a family member's or employee's own serious health condition must be supported by certification from a healthcare provider on a form which the College will provide. The employee must provide a copy of the certification to the College in a timely manner after the College's request for medical certification. A maximum of fifteen calendar days will be allowed to provide the certification, unless circumstances make it impracticable to obtain the certification within this period of time, and the employee has made diligent, good faith efforts to obtain the certification. Certification from the healthcare provider must contain:
- the date the serious health condition began;
- the possible duration of the condition;
- the appropriate medical facts regarding the condition;
- if the leave is based on the care of a spouse, child or parent, a statement that the employee is needed to provide the care and an estimate of the amount of time that need will continue;
- if the leave is based on the employee's own serious health condition, a statement that the employee is unable to perform the functions of the employee's job; and
- in the case of intermittent leave or leave on a reduced hours basis for planned medical treatment, the date the treatment is expected to be given and the duration of the treatment.
- If the employee completely fails to provide the medical certification requested by the College, then the leave is not FMLA leave. If applicable, the employee may also be subject to discipline, up to and including discharge, for violating the College's attendance policy.
- During FMLA leave, the College will continue to pay its portion of the health insurance premium, and the employee must continue to pay the employee's share of the premium. Failure of the employee to pay the employee's share of the premium may result in loss of coverage, after 15 days written notice to the employee. If the employee does not return to work after the expiration of the leave, the employee will be required to reimburse the College for health insurance premiums paid during the leave, unless the employee does not return because of the presence of a serious health condition which prevents the employee from performing one's job, the continuation of a serious health condition of the employee's family member or circumstances beyond the control of the employee.
- During the unpaid portion of FMLA leave, the employee shall not accrue employment benefits, such as vacation leave, sick leave, retirement contributions, etc. Employment benefits accrued by the employee up to the day on which the family leave of absence begins will not be lost.
- The College may require an employee on FMLA leave to report periodically on one's status and the intention of the employee to return to work, and also periodic recertification of the medical condition. Failure to report as requested or to obtain requested certification will result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge. An employee taking leave due to the employee's serious health condition, except for intermittent leave, is required to obtain a fitness-for-duty certification at the employee's expense with regard to the condition that causes the need for FMLA leave.
- Employees who return to work from FMLA leave within or on the business day following the expiration of the twelve (12) weeks are entitled to return to their original job or an equivalent position without loss of benefits or pay. (The FMLA does have a very limited exclusion to this, the details of which may be accessed on the web at www.dol.gov ) However, pay increases conditioned upon seniority, length of service or work performed would not be granted until the approximate length of service, seniority, etc. was attained after returning to work.
Applications for FMLA leave must be submitted in writing and signed by the employee's immediate supervisor. Applications should be submitted at least thirty (30) days before the leave is to commence or as soon as possible if thirty (30) days notice is not possible. Appropriate forms must be submitted to the Office of Human Resources to initiate a family leave and to return the employee to active status.