Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") is a federal law that provides eligible employees unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.
An eligible employee is entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for a qualifying event. An eligible employee who cares for a covered military service member is eligible for up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period.
An employee is eligible for FMLA leave if: he or she has (1) been employed by the College for a minimum of one year; and (2) worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the 12-month period before the leave begins.
III. FMLA Leave Year
Generally, an employee is entitled to take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave during a 12-month period for a qualifying event or up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave for care for a covered military service member.
For the purpose of calculating how much FMLA leave an employee is entitled to take, the College uses a rolling, 12-month period, measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. Each time an employee takes FMLA leave, the 12-month look back period begins. Thus, if an employee has taken previous FMLA leave during the 12-month look back period, the amount of FMLA leave available to the employee is calculated by subtracting the number of weeks of FMLA leave previously taken during the 12-month look back period from the total number of weeks allowed (12 or 26).
IV. Leave Entitlement
A. Qualifying Events
An employee who is eligible for FMLA leave is entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for any of the following qualifying events:
(1) A serious health condition of the employee that prevents the employee from performing their job.
(2) To care for the employee's child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care (leave must conclude within the 12 months after the birth or placement).
(3) To care for the employee's immediate family member (i.e., spouse, child, or parent) who has a serious health condition.
(4) To attend to a "qualifying exigency" arising out of the fact that an employee's spouse, child, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or who has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty.
In addition, a qualifying employee who needs time off to care for a military service member with a serious injury or illness may take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave.
"Military service member" is defined as a spouse, child, parent, or next of kin of the employee who is a member of the Armed Forces, including National Guard or Reserves, who becomes injured in the course of active duty and whose injury has rendered him or her medically unfit to perform his or her assigned military duties.
B. Serious Health Condition
A "serious health condition" is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:
(1) Inpatient care (e.g., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity (for purposes of this section, defined as the inability to work, attend school, or perform regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment therefor, or recovery therefrom), or any subsequent treatment.
(2) Continuing treatment by a health care provider, which includes any one or more of the following:
(a) A period of incapacity (i.e., inability to work, attend school, or perform regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment therefore, or recovery therefrom) of more than three (3) consecutive calendar days, and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition that also involves:
(i) Treatment two (2) or more times by a health care provider, or by a nurse or physician's assistant under direct supervision of a health care provider, or by a provider of health care services (e.g., physical therapist) under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider.
(ii) Treatment by a health care provider on a least one (1) occasion that results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the health care provider.
(b) Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care.
(c) Any period of incapacity or treatment for such incapacity due to a chronic serious health condition. A chronic serious health condition is one that:
(i) Requires periodic visits for treatment by a health care provider, or a by a nurse or physician's assistance under direct supervision of a health care provider.
(ii) Continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of a single underlying condition).
(iii) May cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy).
(d) A period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. The employee or family member must be under the continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a health care provider (e.g., Alzheimer's, a severe stroke, terminal stages of a disease).
(e) Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery therefrom) by a health care provider or by a provider of health care services under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider, either for restorative surgery after an accident or other injury, or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment, such as cancer (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.), severe arthritis (physical therapy), kidney disease (dialysis).
Treatment for purposes of the above section includes, but is not limited to, examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists and evaluations of the condition. Treatment does not include routine physical examinations, eye examinations, or dental examinations.
A regimen of continuing treatment includes, for example, a course of prescription medication (e.g., an antibiotic) or therapy requiring special equipment to resolve or alleviate the health condition (e.g., oxygen). A regimen of continuing treatment that includes the taking of over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, antihistamines, or salves; bed-rest; drinking fluids; exercise; and other similar activities that can be maintained without a visit to a health care provider is not, by itself, sufficient to constitute a regiment of continuing treatment for purposes of FMLA leave.
V. Limits on Length of Leave
A. Regular FMLA Leave
If both spouses are employed by the College, they are entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks of leave, rather than 12 weeks each, for the birth or placement of a child, or to care for a parent with a serious health condition.
B. Military Service Member Leave
If both spouses are employed by the College, they are entitled to a combined total of 26 weeks of leave, rather than 26 weeks each, for (1) covered military service member leave, or (2) covered military service member leave in combination with any FMLA leave taken for the birth or placement of a child, or to care for a parent with a serious health condition. If covered military service member leave is taken in combination with leave for the birth or placement of a child, or to care for a parent with a serious health condition, both spouses are still only entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks of leave, rather than 12 weeks each, for the birth or placement of the child, or to care for the parent with a serious health condition.
When an employee takes covered military service member leave in combination with any other type of FMLA leave, the employee may still only take a maximum of 12 weeks during any 12-month period for the non-covered military service member leave, i.e., for the birth or placement of the child, to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, because of the employee's own serious health condition, or because of a qualifying exigency. For example, an employee may, during the single 12-month period, take 16 weeks of covered military service member leave and 10 weeks of FMLA leave to care for a newborn child. However, the employee may not take more than 12 weeks of FMLA leave to care for the newborn child, even if the employee takes fewer than 14 weeks of a covered military service member leave.
VI. Reduced Schedule or Intermittent Leave
An employee may take FMLA leave in 12 consecutive weeks, may use the leave intermittently (take a day periodically when needed over the year) or, under certain circumstances, may use the leave to reduce the workweek or workday, resulting in a reduced hour schedule. In all cases, the leave cannot exceed a total of 12 workweeks (or 26 workweeks to care for an injured or ill military service member over a 12-month period).
Intermittent or reduced schedule leave may be taken in the smallest increment of time the College permits for paid leave.
If an employee needs leave intermittently or on a reduced schedule for planned medical treatment or appointment, then the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule the treatment or appointment at a time that minimizes disruption to the College and must consult with the supervisor prior to scheduling in order to arrange a schedule that best suits the needs of both the employee and the College.
The College may temporarily transfer an employee to an available alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits if the alternative position would better accommodate the intermittent or reduced schedule, in instances of when leave for the employee or employee's family member is foreseeable and for planned medical treatment, including recovery from a serious health condition or to care for a child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care.
Leave for the birth or placement of a child must be taken within 12 months after the birth or placement and may be taken on an intermittent basis only if the College agrees.
VII. Notice and Certification of Leave
An employee must ordinarily provide 30 days advance notice of the need for FMLA leave when the leave is foreseeable (e.g., birth of a child, planned surgery). If the need for leave is due to a qualifying exigency and is foreseeable, the employee must give notice as soon as is reasonable and practicable.
If the need for FMLA leave is not foreseeable, the employee must give notice as soon as practicable.
Absent unusual circumstances, an employee must comply with the College's usual and customary notice procedures when requesting FMLA leave. The College may delay or deny commencement of the FMLA leave period if the employee does not meet notice requirements.
The College requires medical certification of the employee's serious health condition, as well as the serious health condition of a family member. The certification form is available from Human Resources. The form must be completed by a health care provider and returned to Human Resources within 15 calendar days after receipt of the certification form, unless it is not practicable to do so and the employee provides a reasonable explanation for the delay. Failure to provide certification may result in delay or denial of FMLA leave.
The College may directly contact the health care provider for verification or clarification purposes using a health care professional, an HR professional, leave administrator, or management official. The College will not use the employee's direct supervisor for this contact. Before the College makes this direct contact with the health care provider, the employee will be a given an opportunity to resolve any deficiencies in the medical certification.
The College has the right to ask for a second opinion if it has reason to doubt the employee's certification. The College will pay for the employee to get a certification from a second doctor, which the College will select. If necessary to resolve a conflict between the original certification and the second opinion, the College will require the opinion of a third doctor. The College and the employee will mutually select the third doctor, and the College will pay for the opinion. This third opinion will be considered final. The employee will be provisionally entitled to leave and benefits under the FMLA pending the second and/or third opinion.
C. Military Leave Certification
The College requires certification of the qualifying exigency for military family leave and for the serious injury or illness of the covered military service member. The employee must respond to such a request within 15 days of the request or provide a reasonable explanation for the delay. Failure to provide certification may result in a delay or denial of leave. The certification forms are available from Human Resources.
The College may request recertification for the serious health condition of the employee or the employee's family member no more frequently than every 30 days unless circumstances have changed significantly, or if the College receives information casting doubt on the reason given for the absence, or if the employee seeks an extension of his or her leave. Otherwise, the College may request recertification for the serious health condition of the employee or the employee's family member every six months in connection with an FMLA absence.
VIII. Interaction with Other Leave
While on FMLA leave, an employee is required to use accrued paid sick leave first if the leave qualifies for paid sick leave under the College's paid sick leave policy.
After all sick leave is exhausted or if the leave does not qualify for paid sick leave, an employee must use accrued personal leave, followed by accrued vacation leave.
Leaves such as workers' compensation or any other leave that the College may authorize will run concurrently with, not in addition to, FMLA leave. This FMLA policy does not alter any rights an employee may otherwise have as a result of having had a workers' compensation claim allowed.
IX. Maintenance of Benefits
A. Healthcare/Dental/Vision Benefits
During an employee's FMLA leave, the College will maintain healthcare, dental, and vision benefits on the same conditions as if the employee was working, subject to applicable plan documents and law.
During an employee's FMLA leave, the College will continue to pay the College's share of premiums for healthcare, dental and vision benefits. If any portion of the FMLA leave is paid, the employee's share of the benefit premiums will be paid through automatic payroll deductions. If an employee is on unpaid FMLA leave, the employee must make arrangements to pay the employee's share of the premiums. Human Resources will notify the employee of the associated cost, conditions of payment, and any other pertinent details regarding the premiums and payments. If the employee is more than thirty (30) days late in paying the employee's share of any premiums, the College's obligation to maintain the benefits may lapse.
If an employee elects not to return to work at the end of his/her FMLA leave, the employee will be required to reimburse the College for the cost of the premiums paid by the College for maintaining coverage during the unpaid leave, unless the employee cannot return to work due to a serious health condition, the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious illness or injury of the covered military service member, or because of other circumstances beyond the employee's control.
The College may require certification of the employee's inability to return to work for purposes of this section.
B. Life Insurance and Long-Term Disability Insurance
If an employee is on paid FMLA leave, coverage will remain in place and automatic payroll deductions for voluntary life insurance will continue.
If an employee is on unpaid FMLA leave, the employee must make arrangements with Human Resources to pay the premiums for voluntary life insurance directly to the College in order to maintain coverage. Human Resources will notify the employee in writing if he or she is required to pay the cost of coverage, including rates and due dates.
If an employee is on FMLA leave in conjunction with the 90-day qualifying period for disability benefits, the premiums for basic life insurance and longterm disability insurance will continue to be paid by the College pending the outcome of the application for disability benefits. When there is doubt as to whether the disability will become long-term, Human Resources will determine whether the College will continue to pay these premiums.
C. Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and State Teachers
If an employee is on paid FMLA leave, employer and employee contributions to Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, State Teachers Retirement System, or the Alternative Retirement Plan will continue. If an employee is on unpaid FMLA leave, such contributions will not be made.
An employee who wants additional information about unpaid leave and the impact on retirement plans should contact the appropriate retirement system.
D. Accrual of Leave
An employee will not accrue vacation or sick leave while on unpaid FMLA leave and will not be allotted any personal leave until he or she returns to work.
X. Employee Responsibilities regarding Leave
An employee on FMLA leave must submit re-certification forms in a timely manner, keep the College updated periodically about the medical status of the employee or applicable family member, and planned return to work. If an employee or applicable family member has a change in status during leave, this must be reported to Human Resources.
An employee on unpaid FMLA leave must submit insurance premiums on time if the employee wants to continue coverage during unpaid FMLA leave.
XI. Return to Work
An employee who has been absent for FMLA leave is expected to return to work on the estimated return to work date identified by the employee's health care provider. If the employee is unable to return to work on that date, the employee must provide updated documentation to Human Resources supporting the need for additional leave and the new estimated return to work date.
If an employee has been on FMLA leave for the employee's own serious health condition, the College will require a written release from the employee's health care provider certifying the employee's ability to return to work. This release must be submitted to the Office of Human Resources prior to the employee's first day back to work. Failure to do so may delay the employee's authorization to return to work.
An employee who fails to return to work at the expiration of FMLA leave may be terminated.
B. Restoration to Position
Upon return from FMLA leave, the College will make every effort to restore the employee to the employee's original position or an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.
In the case of "key employees" (those among the highest 10% paid employees), if leaving a position open for the duration of a leave or reinstating such employee upon return from leave is determined in good faith to cause "substantial injury" to the College's operations, the College will notify that key employee in writing of its determination and the denial of restoration rights.
C. Reinstatement of Benefits
If any insurance benefits lapsed during unpaid FMLA leave, the insurance benefits will be reinstated upon return to work at pre-leave levels. If benefits have been discontinued or changed for all employees during the employee's FMLA leave, the reinstatement of benefits will be in accordance with the new guidelines and conditions for such benefits.
Effective Date: May 25, 2016
Supersedes and replaces: Family and Medical Leave Policy, last revised and approved by Board of Trustees, Resolution #2007-05, May 8, 2007, and Family and Medical Leave Procedures, approved by the Board of Trustees, Resolution #1994-05, March 8, 1994.
- Last Revised: 08/18/2023