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FMLA FAQs


Click on the link below to learn the answers to many frequently asked questios about FMLA.

leave faqs

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

FMLA is a federal law which allows unpaid leave for up to twelve (12) work weeks in a 12-month period for certain qualifying events for eligible employees.  FMLA provides job protection for employees who take this leave.  The university uses a rolling twelve (12) month calendar.

FMLA is not a separate leave bank; it is the university's policy to substitute paid leave for unpaid FMLA when appropriate.  Substitution of paid leave is determined by the terms and conditions of the university's leave policies and Collective Bargaining Agreements.

Who is eligible for FMLA?

Employees are eligible if they have worked (including student work employment) for the university for at least twelve (12) cumulative months (employment prior to continuous break in service of seven (7) years or more is not counted) and for 1,250 hours (hours worked, not hours in pay status) over the previous twelve (12) months as of the date Leave is to begin, and who have not used their total twelve (12) work weeks entitlement during the individual's twelve (12) rolling-month period.  Any FMLA taken will reduce an employee's remaining available Leave entitlement.

Eligibility must be determined as of the date the FMLA leave is to start.  An employee may be on "non-FMLA Leave" at the time he/she meets the eligibility requirements and, in that event, any portion of the Leave taken for an FMLA-qualifying reason after the employee meets the eligibility is "FMLA Leave."

Employees returning from National Guard or Reserve service must be credited with hours they would have worked.

What is a qualifying event?

Examples of qualifying events are:

  • Overnight hospitalization of employee or qualified family member
  • Incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child care for the employee's child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care
  • Care for the employee's spouse, son/daughter under eighteen (18) (or over eighteen (18) only if he/she is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability at the time Leave is to begin), or parent, who has a serious health condition
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of the employee's job
  • Qualifying exigencies arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent on active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation
  • Twenty-six (26) work weeks of Leave to care for a covered service member of the Armed Forces, including National Guard or Reserves who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty, that renders the service member medically unfit to perform his/her duties) for which the service member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, therapy, in outpatient status, or is on the temporary disability retired list

What is not covered under FMLA?

FMLA is not intended to cover short-term conditions for which treatment and recovery are very brief (i.e. cold, flu, etc.).  Treatment does not include routine physical exams, eye exams, or dental exams.  Over the counter medications are not considered a course of treatment.

What is a serious health condition as defined under FMLA?

A serious health condition is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee's job, or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities.

What does continuing treatment mean?

Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive calendar days combined, with at least two (2) visits to a healthcare provider or one (1) visit and a regimen of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition.

Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.  For an incapacity of over three (3) days to qualify as a serious health condition based on "two (2) visits to a healthcare provider," the two (2) visits must occur within thirty (30) days of when the incapacity begins absent extenuating circumstances.  The healthcare provider must determine that the second visit is necessary, and the first visit must be within seven (7) days of the first day of incapacity.  This seven (7) day requirement also applies where the "one (1) visit to a healthcare provider followed by a regimen of treatment" standard is being applied.  Whether additional treatment visits are necessary within the thirty (30) day grace period is to be determined by the healthcare provider.

Who can request FMLA?

The employee. In addition, managers and supervisors should provisionally designate FMLA in writing to an eligible employee if a request is not made and there is enough information to believe that the absence meets the requirements of FMLA.

Who determines whether Leave qualifies under FMLA?

The university, in conjunction with information provided by the employee and the appropriate healthcare provider, determines whether or not FMLA is appropriate.  Eligible employees cannot choose to decline taking FMLA when there is a qualifying event.

In what way does FMLA protect me?

FMLA protects your job.  In most cases, your same job will be held for you up to a maximum of twelve (12) work weeks in twelve (12) months. If not the identical job, an equivalent job with the same pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment will be provided in accordance with university policy and collective bargaining agreements.

In addition, FMLA absences cannot be held against you for corrective action purposes regarding absenteeism. While you are on approved FMLA, the university will continue to pay its share of the cost for your basic life insurance, long-term disability insurance (if applicable), and for your health insurance even if you are in no-pay status.

Where can I find more specific information on Employee Rights and Responsibilities concerning FMLA?

You can find more information here

What is the definition of spouse under FMLA?

All legally recognized married couples, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, or married under common law. This does not include domestic partners.

What is the definition of a son or daughter under FMLA?

Son or daughter means a biological, adopted, foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is either under age eighteen (18) or age eighteen (18) or older and "incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability, at the time leave is to begin."

What is the definition of parent under FMLA?

Parent means a biological, adoptive, step or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a son or daughter as defined above. This term does not include parents “in law.”

Can an employee take FMLA for placement of a child for adoption or foster care?

FMLA may be taken before the actual placement or adoption if required. FMLA leave to bond with a child after placement must be taken within twelve (12) months following placement.

Can an employee take FMLA to care for an adopted or fostered child with a serious health condition?

An employee may be eligible for FMLA to care for his/her adopted fostered child. All FMLA regulations and university time-off work rules apply.

Can a father of a newborn child take FMLA too?

Yes.  The father may take FMLA for the birth of a child, to care for his spouse following the birth of the child for the period of medical certification, and to care for that child (childrearing) or for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care.  Documentation requirements must be met.

If both spouses are UC employees, are they each eligible for twelve (12) weeks of FMLA per twelve (12) month period?

Sometimes, but not always.  When it is for their own serious health condition or the serious health condition of their spouse or child, they may each take 12 work weeks of FMLA.  Spouses who both work for the university are limited in the amount of family medical leave they may take for the birth and care of a newborn child, placement of a child for adoption or foster care, or to care for a parent who has a serious health condition to a combined total of twelve (12) work weeks (or twenty six (26) work weeks if leave to care for a covered services member with a serious injury or illness is also used).

How do I apply for FMLA?

Employees can request FMLA time verbally by contacting their supervisor. If you are FMLA eligible, your supervisor or business office will provide you with the Certification of Health Care Provider (CHCP) form which must be completed by you and your healthcare provider.  Your healthcare provider must submit the form to the university within fifteen (15) calendar days of receipt.

Even if you do not apply for FMLA, your supervisor may place you on FMLA Medical Leave of Absence when she/he determines you are eligible and knows you have a qualifying event.  It is the responsibility of management to place an eligible employee on FMLA when there is a qualifying event.  It is not the employee's choice to decline using FMLA.

Is advance notice required to take FMLA time?

Employees seeking to use FMLA time are required to provide thirty (30) day advance notice of the need to take FMLA time when the need is foreseeable or as soon as practicable.  Absent unusual circumstances employees must comply with the university's usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for requesting leave or the request for FMLA time may be denied.

Employees must follow university required notice procedures for substitution of paid leave for FMLA time.  Failure to comply with call-in procedures may result in discipline.

When does my year for FMLA purposes begin?

It begins the very first time you use your first day or hour of FMLA time.  For example, if you use your first day of FMLA time on March 3, 2016, your twelve (12) month calendar or "window" will be from March 3, 2016 through March 2, 2017.  During this twelve (12) month "window" you are limited to 12 work weeks (based on FTE) of FMLA time regardless of the number of qualifying events.

How do I get paid (versus being unpaid) while using FMLA time?

You are paid in conjunction with the university policies on sick time/vacation time/comp time.  You are paid only if you have accrued sick, vacation, or comp time.  Employees are required to substitute paid sick time for unpaid FMLA time, if absence is for medical reasons, and may elect to remain in pay status using vacation or comp time before being placed on a FMLA Medical Leave of Absence without pay. 

If I am on FMLA time on a holiday, will I be paid for that holiday and does the holiday count as FMLA time off?

If you are in a pay status on both the day before and the day after the holiday, you will be paid holiday pay.  If not, you will not be paid for the holiday.

For purposes of determining the amount of FMLA time used, the fact that a holiday may occur within the FMLA work week taken has no effect; the week is counted as a work week of FMLA leave.

What if my absence is due to a work-related injury or illness?  Is that also FMLA

Yes it can be. Contact Human Resources for additional assistance at 513-556-6381.

What happens to benefits while an employee is on FMLA?

The use of FMLA time cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of the employee's Leave. During FMLA-related Leave, the University must maintain the employee's health coverage under any "group health plan" on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work. If on paid Leave, employee health care contributions continue to be deducted from the paycheck. If on unpaid Leave, the employee must make arrangements with the Human Resources Department to pay for the health care that would have been deducted from the paycheck.

 

As a supervisor or manager, what is my responsibility regarding FMLA?

You are responsible for knowing about and understanding FMLA.

You must be able to determine when your employee might be experiencing a qualifying event under the FMLA by inquiring sufficiently and appropriately to employee requests for time away from work. You must then follow the proper procedures to place your employee on FMLA, if appropriate. It is your responsibility to provisionally designate FMLA even if the employee does not apply for it. The employee may not choose to decline FMLA if they are eligible for it and have a qualifying event.

As soon as you are aware of your employee's FMLA qualifying event, you must notify your employee of his/her eligibility for FMLA. If the employee is not eligible, you are required to give the employee a completed WH-382 within five (5) business days of notice/request. If eligible, you are to provide the employee with a cover letter, CHCP form, and the Employee Rights and Responsibilities document within five (5) business days of notice or request.

You must track FMLA absences appropriately via payroll data entry.

What is intermittent FMLA?

Intermittent FMLA is FMLA time taken in separate blocks due to a single qualifying event.

Can an employee take intermittent FMLA for prenatal care?

Yes, because prenatal care is determined to be a serious health condition under the FMLA definition.  All prenatal physician visits taken during working hours should be reported as FMLA if the employee is FMLA eligible.

Can an employee take intermittent FMLA for childrearing?

Yes. Time taken for childrearing or placement may be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule, with the approval of the department.  Time taken for childrearing, foster care or adoption must be taken within twelve (12) months of the date of the birth or placement of the child.

An employee and his child come down with a cold and the employee needs to stay home for two (2) consecutive days.  They see the doctor and receive medical care.  Would this qualify as FMLA?

No.  There is no serious medical condition involved.

An employee and his child come down with an illness and the employee needs to stay home for four (4) consecutive days.  They see the doctor twice and receive a regimen of continuing medical treatment.  Would this qualify for FMLA?

Yes, as long as the employee has met all other requirements, has not exhausted FMLA time, and if the doctor visits are within thirty (30) days of when the incapacity begins; absent extenuating circumstances.

An employee suffers a severe stroke and is hospitalized.  The doctor informs the employee she/he can not perform his/her job under the circumstances and advises her/him to take one (1) month off work to recover, undergo therapy, or have a minor surgical procedure.  Would this qualify as FMLA time?

Yes, as long as the employee has met all other requirements and has not exhausted FMLA time, this would be considered a serious health condition and the employee would need to follow up with a request to the department and submit the appropriate CHCP form to the university for review.

An employee has been employed at the university for 8.5 months and has worked 1,500 hours.  The employee has a baby.  Is she eligible for FMLA?

No.  The employee must be employed at least one (1) cumulative year in the 7 years preceding the first day of need for leave and have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months. Employment prior to a continuous break in service of seven (7) years or more is not counted. (Note: Medical Leave would still be applicable, but it would not be FMLA time.)

An employee's wife has been diagnosed with cancer; her physician has requested the employee stay home with her on Tuesdays and Thursdays to take her to chemotherapy, help her bathe, and take her to physician appointments.  Would this qualify for FMLA time?

Yes, as long as the employee has met all other requirements and has not exhausted FMLA time.  The CHCP form must be filed with the university for review. (FMLA can be provisionally designated pending CHCP submission and review.)

An employee's absence is designated FMLA for the eight (8) weeks following the birth of her child.  She would like to take an additional four (4) weeks to bond with the child.  Does FMLA apply?

Yes, as long as the employee has met all other requirements.  The Leave reason must be changed from Paid or Unpaid FMLA-Medical to Paid or Unpaid FMLA-Childrearing.  Sick time applies to childbirth, but not childrearing.  The employee may use vacation time to remain in pay status for Childrearing Leave.

Due to downsizing, several job abolishments occur in a department, including the job of an employee on FMLA Leave.  Does FMLA protect this individual's job?

No. The FMLA does not protect against job abolishment.

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