The online version of the College Employee Handbook is currently undergoing revisions. For the latest version of the college handbook, please see the College Employee Handbook PDF (updated November 2022).

Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

Purposes of Leave. Unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) can be taken (1) for the birth of a child; (2) for the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care; (3) where the employee is needed to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition; and (4) for the employee’s own serious health condition that causes the employee to be unable to perform the essential functions of their job; (5) for a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that an employee’s spouse, child or parent is on or has been called to active military duty in support of a contingency operation; or (6) if the employee is the son, spouse, daughter, parent, or next of kin caring for a military service member recovering from a serious injury or illness suffered while on active duty in the Armed Forces.

Amount of Leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles eligible employees to an unpaid leave of absence of up to twelve (12) weeks during any twelve-month period (measuring backwards from the date the employee last used family and medical leave) where the leave is for placement of a child with the employee for foster care, for the employee’s own serious health condition, for the serious health condition of a family member, or for a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter or parent of an employee is on or has been called to active military duty in support of a contingency operation.

Employees are entitled to up to a total of 26 weeks of leave during any single 12 month period (measuring forward from the date the employee’s first FMLA leave) to care for a covered service member if the employee is the son, spouse, daughter, parent, or next of kin caring for a military service member recovering from a serious injury or illness suffered while on active duty in the armed forces. An eligible employee is entitled to a combined total of 26 work weeks of leave for any FMLA-qualifying reason during this twelve-month period, no more than twelve weeks of which may be used for a qualifying reason other than service member caregiver leave.

Employees taking leave for the birth or adoption of a child are entitled to a four-month unpaid leave of absence during any twelve-month period (measuring backwards from the date the employee last used family and medical leave). 

Qualifications for Leave. In order to be entitled to FMLA leave, an employee must have been employed by the College for 12 months, working at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding FMLA leave.

Serious Health Condition. A serious health condition is defined as an illness or injury involving inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider. Continuing treatment includes one or more of the following:

  • A period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive, full calendar days that also involves:
    • In-person treatment by a health care provider, nurse, physical therapist or similar provider two or more times within thirty (30) days of the first day of incapacity, with the first visit occurring within seven (7) days of the first day of incapacity; or
    • In-person treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion within seven days of the first day of incapacity, which results in a regimen of continuing treatment.
  • Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or prenatal care;
  • Any period of incapacity due to a chronic serious health condition that requires periodic visits at least two times per year by a health care provider;
  • A period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment might not be effective; and 
  • Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, dialysis, physical therapy and the like.

Qualifying Exigency. Eligible employees may take FMLA leave while the employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent is on active duty or call to active duty status in the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves for one of the following qualifying exigencies:

  • To address any issues arising out of the short-notice deployment (seven calendar days or less prior to deployment) of a covered military member;
  • To attend military events and related activities such as official ceremonies, family support programs and informational briefings related to the active duty or call to active duty status of a covered military member;
  • To address childcare arrangements and certain College activities as a result of the active duty or call to active duty status of a covered military member;
  • To make certain financial and legal arrangements as a result of the active duty or call to active duty status of a covered military member;
  • To attend counseling for the employee, the covered military member or child of the covered military member, the need for which arises out of the active duty or call to active duty of the covered military member;
  • To spend time with a covered military member who is on short-term, temporary rest and recuperation leave during the period of deployment;
  • To participate in certain post-deployment activities such as arrival ceremonies or reintegration briefings for a period of 90 days following termination of the covered military member’s active duty status; and
  • To address issues related to the death of a covered military member while on active duty status, such as meeting and recovering the body and making funeral arrangements.

In its discretion, the College may permit an employee to take FMLA leave for other activities arising out of the active duty or call to active duty status of a covered service member. Further information about the types of activities that would constitute a qualifying exigency can be obtained from the Human Resources Office.

Caregiver Leave for Service Members. Eligible employees are entitled to FMLA leave to care for a member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty for which they are undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, therapy or is otherwise in outpatient status or on the temporary disability retired list. This leave does not apply to service members on the permanent disability retired list. Veterans who were members of the Armed Forces during the five year period preceding the time the veteran seeks medical treatment or is undergoing recuperation or therapy are also considered covered service members. For purposes of this leave, a serious illness or injury is one (i) incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the service member medically unfit to perform their duties, or (ii) an injury or illness that occurred before active duty but was aggravated by service in the line of active duty. To be entitled to such leave, the eligible employee must be the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin (nearest blood relative other than spouse, parent, son or daughter) of a covered service member.        

Spouse Rule. Spouses who both work for the College and are eligible for FMLA leave are entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks of leave in any twelve-month period if the leave taken is (1) for the placement of a child for foster care; or (2) to care for a parent with a serious health condition. If the leave is taken to care for a child with a serious health condition, the spouses may each take twelve weeks of FMLA leave.

If the leave is taken for the birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption, spouses who both work for the College and are eligible for FMLA leave are entitled to a combined total of four months of leave during any twelve-month period. 

In the event that spouses who both work for the College are taking leave during a single twelve-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness, they are limited to a combined total of 26 weeks of leave during that single twelve-month period if leave is taken for the birth of the employee’s child or to care for the child after birth, for placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care or to care for the child after placement, to care for the employee’s parent with a serious health condition, or to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.

Intermittent or Reduced Schedule Leave. If medically necessary for the care of a seriously ill family member or the employee’s own serious health condition, leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule. The health care provider’s statement supporting such leave must specifically state that intermittent or reduced schedule leave is medically necessary. The employee seeking intermittent or reduced schedule leave must make reasonable efforts to schedule any planned medical treatment so as not to disrupt unduly the College’s operations. Employees are ordinarily expected to consult with the Human Resources Office prior to the scheduling of such treatment in order to work out a treatment schedule which best suits the needs of both the employee and the College. The College reserves the right to transfer an employee taking such leave for planned medical treatment to an alternative position, with equivalent pay and benefits, which better accommodates intermittent or reduced-schedule leave. 

Employee Notice. In order to take FMLA leave, the employee is required to give the College at least thirty (30) days advance notice if the need for the leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement for adoption or foster care, planned medical treatment for the serious health condition of the employee or family member, or the planned medical treatment for the serious injury or illness of a covered service member. If the thirty-day notice cannot be given because of an unexpected change in circumstances, a medical emergency, or the like, notice must be given as soon as practicable, normally within the same day or within one business day of when the employee became aware of the need for FMLA leave. 

If the need for leave is not foreseeable, the employee should ordinarily provide the notice required by the College’s sick leave policy. Such notice must provide sufficient information for the College to determine whether the FMLA may apply to the leave request. Calling in “sick” without providing more information will not be considered sufficient notice to entitle an employee to FMLA leave. An employee giving notice for the leave must explain the reasons for the needed leave so as to allow the College to determine whether the leave qualifies as family and medical leave. Employees also have an obligation to respond to the College’s questions to determine if a leave request is FMLA-qualifying. If an employee fails to explain the reasons for the leave, or fails to respond to reasonable inquiries regarding the leave request, leave may be denied.

If the required notice is not given, the leave may be delayed or denied.

Medical or Other Certification. If the employee wishes to take FMLA leave to care for their seriously ill spouse, child or parent, to care for a covered service member with a serious illness or injury, or because of the employee’s own serious health condition, the employee must provide to the College a medical certification from the treating health care provider. This certification must be provided within fifteen (15) calendar days of the College’s request for such certification. The employee can obtain a form for this medical certification from the Benefits Services Manager. The College also reserves the right to obtain clarification or authentication of the medical certification and/or a second or third medical certification at the College’s expense as allowed by the FMLA. Periodic recertification may also be requested by the College in accordance with FMLA regulations. 

If an employee wishes to take FMLA leave for a qualified exigency, the employee must provide the College with a copy of the covered service member’s active duty orders or other appropriate documentation and a certification by the employee in a form that will be provided by the College. This certification must be provided within fifteen calendar days of the College’s request for such certification. 

If the certification provided is determined by the College to be incomplete or insufficient, the employee will have up to a maximum of seven (7) calendar days to cure any deficiency. Failure to provide complete and sufficient certification may lead to delay or denial of the leave request.

Substitution of Paid Leave. FMLA leave is unpaid. However, an employee must first substitute any applicable accrued paid leave available to them, such as parental leave, sick leave or vacation, to render a portion of the leave paid. Any remaining FMLA leave will be unpaid. All worker’s compensation leave, short-term disability, sick leave, parental leave and vacation leave will run concurrently with FMLA leave.

Continuation of Benefits. During the period of FMLA leave, group health insurance coverage will remain in effect for the employee. If paid leave is substituted as discussed above, the employee’s portion of the premium will be paid by payroll deduction as it normally is. If all or part of the leave is unpaid, then the employee must pay their portion of the premium as other premiums are paid by employees on leave without pay. If the employee’s portion of the premium is not paid in a timely manner, the employee’s group health insurance coverage may lapse during their FMLA leave. If the employee does not return to work after their FMLA leave, the College reserves the right to recover all group health insurance premiums paid by the College for the employee’s health insurance coverage unless the failure to return to work was for reasons beyond the employee’s control.

Benefit accruals, such as vacation or sick leave, will be suspended during the leave and will resume upon return to active employment.

Status Report. While the employee is on FMLA leave, they must report to their supervisor every two weeks on their status, including whether the employee intends to return to work and the date on which they will return to work if known. Employees should give at least two (2) business days’ notice of the date they will return to work.

Fitness for Duty Certification. If the employee has been on FMLA leave because of their own serious health condition, before the employee can return to work, they must provide a medical certification from their treating health care provider verifying that the employee is able to perform the essential functions of their job. If the employee does not provide this medical certification, they will not be permitted to return to work.

Return from Leave. When the employee returns from FMLA leave, they will be given the same job they had when they left or an equivalent job. However, if the employee is a key employee as defined in the FMLA (among the highest paid 10% of all employees within 75 miles of their worksite), the employee may be denied the right to return to the College under certain circumstances. If the employee does not return during or at the end of their FMLA leave, they may lose their right to be returned to their former job or an equivalent one.