Family and Medical Leave

PIM Number: 09

Dated: July 1, 2017

Category:  Benefits

Contact:  Benefits Director – ext. 0649

References

a. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993

b. 29 CFR 825, Final Rules effective January 6, 1995

c. OSHR Policy Manual, Section 5 

d. UNC Charlotte Policy Statement #102.4, "Annual Sick Leave for Faculty Members"

e. UNC Charlotte Policy Statement #102.6, "Leaves of Absence for Members of the Faculty",

h. PIM 29 - Shared Leave

i. Family Illness Leave, OSHR Policy Manual, Section 5

j. Vacation Leave

k. Sick Leave

l. Military Leave

n. Qualifying Exigency

o. Military Caregiver

p.   Definition of FMLA Terms

 

Purpose

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 was passed by Congress to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families, to promote the stability and economic security of families, and to promote national interests in preserving family integrity; to minimize the potential for employment discrimination on the basis of sex by ensuring generally that leave is available for eligible medical reasons (including maternity-related disability) and for compelling family reasons; and to promote the goal of equal employment opportunity for women and men.

Qualifying Reasons for FMLA

Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) provides up to 12 (or 26, as appropriate) workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following qualifying reasons:

  • Birth and care for a newborn;
  • Care for an adopted or foster child;
  • Care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition;
  • A personal serious health condition that prevents the employee from performing one or more of the essential functions of the position;
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in support of a contingency operation; and,
  • An eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered service member shall be entitled to a total of 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period (commencing on the on the date the employee first takes leave) to care for a covered service member who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty for which he or she is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy; or otherwise in outpatient status; or on the temporary disability retired list.

Covered Employees and Eligibility

An employee is eligible if he/she is

  • Full-time (Permanent, probationary, trainee, or time-limited),  has at least 12 months total service with the State, and has been in a pay status at least 1040 hours in the previous 12 months.
  • Part-time (half-time or more permanent, probationary, trainee, or time-limited) and has been in pay status at least 1040 hours during the previous 12-months.
  • Temporary, intermittent, or part-time (less than half-time) and has been in pay status at least 1250 hours during the previous 12 months.

Note:  9 month faculty please see Policy Statement #102.6.

The University’s Responsibilities

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not allow employees to waive their rights under the act.  The University is required to assess whether an FMLA qualifying condition exists when an employee is absent for more than three (3) consecutive work days.

When an eligible employee requests Family Medical Leave, or when the employee’s department becomes aware that an employee’s leave may be for an FMLA-qualifying reason, the employee must be notified of his/her eligibility to take Family Medical Leave and given the appropriate Extended Leave of Absence Resource Guide.

The approval of Family Medical Leave is based on

  • the number of hours of FMLA remaining in a 12 month rolling year.  The 12 month rolling year is determined by counting back 12 months from the date the leave begins.
  • The number of hours worked by the employee in the 12 months preceding the leave of absence.
  • Completion and submission of all required forms to the Benefits Office.

The Benefits office will review the request for leave and will notify the employee in writing when the leave is approved or disapproved.  If the employee is not eligible for FMLA leave, the notice must state at least one reason why the employee is not eligible.

The Employee’s Responsibilities

If an eligible employee is absent from work for more than 3 workdays due to a FMLA qualifying condition, or if the employer requests to determine if the absence is for an FMLA qualifying condition, the employee must:

  • Complete the appropriate forms contained in the Extended Leave of Absence Resource Guide and submit them to the Benefits Office at least 30 days in advance of planned medical treatment or birth/adoption of a child. When advanced notification is not possible, the employee should submit his/her paperwork as soon as possible.
    • The employee should have the treating physician complete the medical certification form if the leave request is based on his/her serious health condition, or the serious health condition of an immediate family member.
    • The employee must provide the completed forms to the Benefits Office within 15 calendar days after receiving the forms.  Failure to provide complete and sufficient certification of the need for leave within 15 calendar days may result in the denial of FMLA Leave and/or disciplinary action.  If the employee is notified that the certification is not complete, he/she has 7 calendar days to provide the requested information.
  • Report to the employee’s supervisor or HR Facilitator at reasonable intervals with a status and intent to return.
  • Notify the employee’s supervisor prior to the expiration of the leave if he/she will not return to work.
  • Prior to the employee’s return to work (for the employee’s own personal illness), have the treating physician complete the Fitness for Duty Certification form indicating that the employee is released to return to work and any restrictions or limitations.

The Supervisor’s Responsibilities

If an eligible employee is absent from work for more than 3 days due to his/her serious health condition, the supervisor must:

  • Notify the Benefits Office
  • Provide the employee with an Extended Leave of Absence Resource Guide under the following circumstances:
    • The employee has indicated that he/she is or was hospitalized related to an injury or illness;
    • The employee has provided information that he/she is or will be absent from work due to his/her own serious health condition or that of a family member; or
    • The supervisor has information that the employee suffers from a chronic condition and has been or will be absent from work due to that condition.
  • Complete the supervisor’s certification form contained in the Extended Leave of Absence Guide; track leave and time sheets through the university leave and time keeping system; submit leave usage and time worked in the university leave and time keeping system, if the employee is unable to make the entries; maintain periodic contact with the employee; advise the Benefits Office of the employee's first day of leave without pay if applicable.

Reduced or Intermittent Work Schedules

The FMLA provides that, when medically necessary, an employee may work a reduced or intermittent work schedule because of his or her own serious health condition. When it is determined to be medically necessary, an employee may also request permission to work a reduced or intermittent schedule to care for the employee's spouse, child, parent or service member who has a serious health condition. There is no minimum limitation on the amount of leave taken intermittently, however, for accounting purposes, supervisors are asked not to require leave accounting for increments less than one quarter of an hour.  If possible, the reduced work schedule must be defined and agreed upon by both the employee and the employee’s supervisor.

 An employee may arrange a reduced or intermittent work schedule for childbirth or adoption only when the supervisor agrees to such an arrangement. In the case of childbirth, if the medical certification (see the Extended Leave Of Absence Resource Guide) indicates the mother is unable to perform the essential functions of her own position, then intermittent leave is not an option.

If a reduced or intermittent work schedule is necessary, based on planned medical treatment, the supervisor may request the employee transfer temporarily to an available alternative position for which the employee is qualified with equal pay and benefits, and which better accommodates recurring periods of leave.

Supervisors are to notify the Benefits Office whenever a staff member requests a reduced schedule for Family and Medical Leave purposes. The Benefits Office will make the necessary arrangements to assure the individual is not overpaid.

Employees may choose to use sick, annual, or bonus leave for an intermittent leave of absence.  Supervisors should ensure that leave usage for FML is coded correctly in the university leave and time keeping system, by using the FMLA designation attached to the sick, vacation and bonus leave codes.

Leave Charges

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides for 12 work weeks (normally 480 hours) of unpaid leave. To remain in a paid status, an eligible employee can concurrently use his/her accrued leave along with his/her FMLA leave entitlement. When an employee is on FML he/she can use leave in the following manner:

If leave is for:

 

Then, the employee :

Birth (applies to both parents) and child care after birth

 

may choose to exhaust all or any portion of sick leave, and/or vacation/bonus leave, comp time or go on leave without pay during the period of disability. Shared leave may be used only during the period of disability only if all of leave has been exhausted.

Only vacation/bonus leave or leave without pay may be used before and after the period of the employee’s disability.

Adoption

 

may choose to exhaust all or any portion of vacation/bonus leave, a maximum of 30 days’ sick leave (see Sick Leave Policy), or go on leave without pay.

Foster Care

 

may choose to exhaust all or any portion of vacation/bonus leave or go on leave without pay. 

Serious Health Condition of Child, Spouse, Parent

 

may choose to exhaust all or any portion of sick leave and/or vacation/bonus leave, or go on leave without pay. Shared leave may be used only after all other leave has been exhausted.

Employee’s Serious Health Condition

 

does not have the option of taking leave without pay if he/she has any available sick leave; however, the employee may use vacation/bonus leave in lieu of sick leave. The employee is not required to use his/her vacation/bonus leave prior to going on leave w/out pay. If the covered absence extends beyond the 60-day waiting period required for short-term disability, the employee may choose to exhaust the balance of his/her leave or begin drawing short-term disability benefits. Shared leave may be used only after all other leave has been exhausted and before the beginning of Short-Term Disability.

Military Exigency

 

may choose to exhaust available vacation and/or bonus leave or any portion thereof, or go on leave without pay.

Military Caregiver

 

may choose to exhaust available sick leave, vacation leave and/or bonus leave, or any portion thereof, or go on leave without pay.

 

FMLA and Medical Benefits

The University will pay the employer cost of individual medical coverage while the employee is on FML whether it is paid or unpaid leave.  The employee is still responsible for the portion of premium that he/she would normally pay while working.  If an employee does not return to work at the end of the leave period, the University will initiate action to recover its portion of the health insurance premiums paid on behalf of the employee unless the failure to return to work is due to the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition or other circumstances beyond the employee’s control.

Return to Work

If the employee’s leave is related to the employee’s serious health condition, the employee must submit a Fitness for Duty Certification to his/her Department and to Benefits before returning to work.  The employee will be reinstated to the same position or a position that is equivalent to the position held when FMLA began.

Extension of Leave

Employees wishing to extend leave beyond the 12 week or 26 week period may wish to consult PIM-5 - Leave Without Pay or the OSHR Family Illness Leave Policy

In cases of leave without pay outside of Family and Medical Leave, the employee is responsible for full payment (including the University's contribution) of health insurance coverage should the employee decide to continue University-sponsored health coverage.

FML Forms

 

This Personnel Information Memorandum (PIM) supersedes PIM-9 dated 11/11/2009.

 

PIM Number: 
09
PIM Category: