Section VI - Employment Matters

VI E 4

Leave - Family and Medical Leave

To provide a general overview (purpose and provisions) of family and medical leave as mandated by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

In general, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles qualified employees up to twelve weeks of paid or unpaid leave per 12-month period for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a spouse, son, daughter or parent who has a serious health condition, when unable to work because of their own serious health condition, or for Military Family Leave Entitlements. The FMLA also requires employers (with some exceptions) to continue to provide employer paid health care insurance during such leave and to reinstate the employee to the same or equivalent position upon return from such leave.

Although the FMLA is rather lengthy and complex, the following are a few of the applicable provisions which all employees should be familiar with:

  1. All vacation leave (including the bonus vacation leave) and sick leave must be exhausted before going on unpaid FMLA leave. Paid vacation and sick leave, when used for a FMLA qualifying event, counts toward the twelve-week entitlement. Such leave must be designated by the employee and his/her supervisor as FMLA leave on the appropriate sick or vacation leave form as the leave is taken and not after the employee has returned from leave, when possible.
  2. Only employees who have been employed for at least one year and who have worked a minimum of 1250 hours during the previous twelve-month period are eligible for FMLA leave.
  3. An employee may be required to present a doctor's certification when requesting FMLA leave due to their own serious health condition or to care for the employee's spouse, son, daughter or parent who has a serious health condition. Standard forms are available through the Human Resources Office.
  4. In cases where the need for leave is foreseeable, such as an expected childbirth or planned medical treatment, the employee is required to provide the College with at least thirty days' notice before the date the leave is to begin. When circumstances prevent such notice, the employee is expected to give notice as soon as possible.
  5. Employees who purchase health or dental insurance for dependents through payroll deductions will be expected to make arrangements for the payment of such premiums through the Business Office for the continuation of coverage during any periods of unpaid leave. Any premium past due for more than 30 days may result in a lapse of coverage.
  6. FMLA leave is intended to address serious health conditions lasting more than three days, not short-term conditions for which treatment and recovery is brief. For purposes of FMLA, “serious health condition” entitling an employee to FMLA leave means an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care as defined in Sec. 825.114 or continuing treatment by a health care provider as defined in Sec. 825.115.
  7. Before returning to work after having been on leave for a serious medical condition, the employee should present Human Resources with a doctor's release indicating the date the employee may return to work along with any work related restrictions the doctor determines as necessary.
  8. Military Family Leave Entitlements:

    Eligible employees whose spouse, son, daughter or parent is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status may use their 12-week leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies. Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post deployment reintegration briefings.

    FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a single 12-month period. A covered service member is: (1) a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness; or (2) a veteran who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable at any time during the five-year period prior to the first date the eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for the covered veteran, and who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness.

*The FMLA definitions of “serious injury or illness” for current service members and veterans are distinct from the FMLA definition of “serious health condition.”

The “single 12-month period" leave to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness begins on the first day the employee takes leave for this reason and ends 12 months later, regardless of the 12-month period established by the employer for other types of FMLA leave. An eligible employee is limited to a combined total of 26 workweeks of leave for any FMLA-qualifying reason during the “single 12- month period.” (Only 12 of the 26 weeks may be for a FMLA-qualifying reason other than to care for a covered service member.)

As stated earlier, the FMLA can be complex and is therefore impractical for complete publication in this handbook. For this reason, all employees who are confronted with family and medical leave needs as addressed by the FMLA are asked to discuss the circumstances of such needs with the Human Resources Office. Further information will be provided at that time.


Adopted: 04/15/1999

Revised: 10/25/2001, 01/17/2002, 01/16/2003, 05/21/2009, 09/19/2013