Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) OVERVIEW
FMLA is intended to allow employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for medical reasons, for the birth or adoption of a child, for the care of a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition, for the care of a covered service member with a serious injury or illness, or because of a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.
An eligible employee is defined as an individual who:
- Has been employed by the district for at least twelve (12) months (need not be consecutive months of employment); and
- Has been employed for at least one thousand two hundred fifty (1,250) hours of service during the twelve-month (12-month) period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave*; and
- Is employed at a worksite where fifty (50) or more employees are employed by the district within seventy-five (75) miles of the worksite.
*Full-time teachers are presumed to be eligible for FMLA leave, unless the district can clearly
demonstrate that the teacher did not work 1,250 hours during the previous twelve (12) months.
For the purpose of determining continuing eligibility for FMLA, this district will calculate the
“twelve-month (12-month) period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave” as the calendar year. (September 1 – September1)
Eligible employees are entitled to up to twelve (12) workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a twelve-month (12-month) period for one (1) or more of the following reasons:
- The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one (1) year of birth*;
- The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one (1) year of placement*;
- To provide care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or
- For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job.
- For any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty.
*If the district employs both spouses to whom this provision applies, the husband and wife are limited to a total of twelve (12) workweeks during the twelve-month (12-month) period, which
can be divided any way they choose and can be overlapping. Both parents are eligible to take their remaining weeks of FMLA leave for another FMLA-qualifying purpose, including but not limited to, a serious health condition of the child, or to recover from a C-section or other birth
An eligible employee who is a covered service member's spouse, child, parent, or next of kin may also take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave in a single 12-month period to care for the service member with a serious injury or illness.
An employee does not need to use leave in one block. When it is medically necessary or otherwise permitted, employees may take leave intermittently or on a reduced schedule. If the employee requests intermittent leave or leave on a reduced schedule, the District may require that the employee transfer to a temporary, alternative job for which the employee is qualified and that better accommodates the intermittent or reduced hour leave than the employee’s regular job. The temporary position will have pay and benefits equivalent to the employee’s regular job.
FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave; however, the District requires all eligible accumulated paid leave, such as vacation leave (if applicable), personal leave, and sick leave, be exhausted and run concurrently prior to the employee being placed on unpaid leave status. Sick leave may only be used for medical needs. All time will be counted as part of the 12 weeks of FMLA leave.
MILITARY CAREGIVER LEAVE
An eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered
servicemember is entitled to a total of twenty-six (26) workweeks of leave during a twelve-month (12-month) period to care for the servicemember who is recovering from a serious illness or injury sustained in or aggravated by service in the line of duty while on active duty in the Armed Forces.
The servicemember must either be currently in the Armed Forces and unable to perform regular duties, or was in the Armed Forces and was discharged under other than dishonorable conditions within five (5) years of receiving the medical treatment, recuperation or therapy prompting the employee's leave request. Such leave shall only be available during a single twelve-month (12-month) period.
During the single twelve-month (12-month) period, an eligible employee shall be entitled to a
combined total of twenty-six (26) workweeks of leave, including the twelve (12) weeks for a
“qualified exigency.” However, there is no limitation on the availability of leave during any other twelve-month (12-month) period. If the district employs both spouses to whom this section
applies, the husband and wife are limited to a total of twenty-six (26) workweeks during the
twelve-month (12-month) period for all types of FMLA leave.
Employees must comply with the district’s usual and customary requirements for requesting leave and provide enough information for the district to reasonably determine whether the FMLA may apply to the leave request. Employees generally must request leave thirty (30) days in advance when the need for leave is foreseeable. When the need for leave is foreseeable less than thirty (30) days in advance or is unforeseeable, employees must provide notice as soon as possible and practicable under the circumstances.
When an employee seeks leave for a FMLA-qualifying reason for the first time, the employee need not expressly assert FMLA rights or even mention the FMLA. If an employee later requests additional leave for the same qualifying condition, the employee must specifically reference either the qualifying reason for leave or the need for FMLA leave.
USE OF ACCRUED PAID LEAVE
Once it has been determined that the leave is for an FMLA-qualifying reason, any accrued paid leave, such as sick or vacation leave, used by an employee for absences which qualify for FMLA coverage will be counted as FMLA leave, unless the district determines otherwise.
INTERMITTENT OR REDUCED LEAVE SCHEDULE
The district will comply with the mandates of FMLA, including any special rules which may apply regarding the taking of intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule, or leave near the end of an academic term by instructional employees. Intermittent leave means to take leave for periods of a particular duration, not to exceed the duration of the planned medical treatment; or to transfer temporarily to an available alternative position offered by the employer for which the employee is qualified that has equivalent pay and benefits and better accommodates recurring periods of leave than the regular employment position of the employee. The district will consider requests by employees for intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule on a case by case basis.
LEAVE DURING PERIODS NEAR THE CONCLUSION OF THE ACADEMIC TERM
The following special rules apply with respect to periods of leave near the conclusion of an
academic term in the case of any eligible employee employed principally in an instructional
capacity by the district or school:
- Leave more than five (5) weeks prior to end of term. If the eligible employee begins leave more than five (5) weeks prior to the end of the academic term, the district or school may require the employee to continue taking leave until the of the term if the leave is at least three (3) weeks in duration and the return to employment would occur during the 3-week period of the term.
- Leave less than five (5) weeks prior to end of term. If the eligible employee begins leave less than five (5) weeks prior to the end of the academic term, the district or school may require the employee to continue taking leave until the end of the term if the leave is of greater than two (2) weeks duration and the return to employment would occur during the 2-week period before the end of the term.
- Leave less than three (3) weeks prior to end of term. If the eligible employee begins leave less than three (3) weeks prior to the end of the academic term and the duration of the leave is greater than five (5) working days, the district or school may require the employee to continue to take leave until the end of the term.
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE
The district will continue group health insurance coverage for an employee on FMLA leave under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave and will provide any necessary notice of termination of such insurance coverage due to the employee’s failure to pay his/her portion of the premium or the employee’s request for termination of coverage. Such notice will be provided at least fifteen (15) days prior to the termination of coverage.
When an employee requests FMLA leave due to his or her own serious health condition or a covered family member’s serious health condition the district may require certification in support of the leave from a health care provider. The district may also require periodic recertification of a serious health condition.
Upon return from FMLA leave, the employee will be restored to his or her original job or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. An employee’s use of FMLA leave will not be counted against the employee under a “no-fault” attendance policy.