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Human Resources

Human Resources

Policies and Procedures

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Effective 10/19/13
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Table of Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Employee Eligibility
  3. Notice of FMLA
  4. Duration of Leave
  5. Military Families
    • Notice for Leave due to Active Duty of Family Member
    • Certification Related to Active Duty or Call to Active Duty
    • Combined Total Leave
  6. Maintaining Pay Status and Insurance Benefits
  7. Medical Certification
  8. Return to Work Certification
  9. Employee Status after Leave
  10. Definitions
  11. Appendices

1. Purpose

In accord with federal law, the College provides to eligible employees a leave of absence pursuant to the provisions under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law in 1993 and amended in 2010 to include leave provisions for Military Families. This definition was expanded in February of 2013 to a class of employees not applicable to Eckerd College -- airline flight crew members. The purpose of this policy is to set forth guidelines and procedures to be followed in complying with FMLA.

The FMLA law requires that employers with fifty (50) or more employees provide Continuous, Intermittent, or Reduced Schedule job protected unpaid leave for any Employee meeting the criteria set forth by FMLA. The Office of Human Resources administers FMLA on a twelve (12) month calendar from the date of commencement of leave.

FMLA may have interactions with other laws and/or policies such as Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Workers' Compensation, and Short Term Disability (STD).
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2. Employee Eligibility

Employees must be employed by the College for at least twelve (12) months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the preceding twelve (12) months prior to the date FMLA commences.

Employee's purpose of leave must be for one of the following reasons:

  • To care for a child after birth, adoption, or placement in your home for foster care.
  • To care for your spouse, child, parent, or domestic partner who has a Serious Health Condition.
  • For your own Serious Health Condition.
  • To care for family members who incur a “serious injury or illness” as a result of active military service.
  • A Qualifying Exigency arising out of the fact that a family member is called to active military duty.

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3. Notice of FMLA

Foreseeable FMLA leave should be requested by the employee from Human Resources and the employee’s Supervisor at least thirty (30) days in advance of the anticipated leave, using the Request for Family and Medical Leave Form (Appendix A).  If the request is for intermittent leave or reduced scheduled leave, the employee is also required to provide medical certification and complete appendix A.  When the need for leave is unforeseen, an employee should give notice to Human Resources and the supervisor of the need for FMLA leave as soon as possible.  In adherence to the College Sick Leave Policy, the supervisor should notify Human Resources when an employee takes more than three (3) consecutive sick leave days or has frequent intermittent leave patterns.
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4. Duration of Leave

Under FMLA, eligible Employees are entitled to a maximum of twelve (12) work weeks in a twelve (12) month period. Depending on the reason, this leave may be used continuously, intermittently, or as a reduced schedule leave. Eligible Employees who are members of Military Families are eligible for a maximum of twenty-six (26) work weeks of leave in a twelve (12) month period.
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5. Military Families

Under FMLA, eligible Employees of Military Families are entitled to leave as follows:

  • Caregiver Leave: Up to twenty-six (26) weeks in a single 12-month period of unpaid job-protected leave for an Employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent or Next of Kin to care for a covered service member, i.e., undergoing medical treatment for a “serious injury or illness.”
  • Active Duty Leave: Twelve (12) weeks unpaid job-protected leave for Employees who have a Qualifying Exigency related to spouse, son, daughter or parent on Active Duty or notified of an impending call to Active Duty status.
    1. Notice for Leave due to Active Duty of Family Member
      In any case in which the necessity for leave is foreseeable, whether because the spouse, a son, daughter, parent, of the Employee is on Active Duty, or because of notification of an impending call or order to Active Duty in support of a contingency operation, the Employee shall provide such notice to the employer as is reasonable and practicable.
    2. Certification Related to Active Duty or Call to Active Duty
      Eckerd College requires a request for leave be supported by appropriate certification.
    3. Combined Total Leave
      Eligible Employees may request up to a maximum of 12 work weeks of family or medical leave or 26 work weeks of service member leave within a rolling 12-month period measured from the start date of any Family or Medical Leave.

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6. Maintaining Pay Status and Insurance Benefits

Leave under FMLA is unpaid, unless the Employee has accrued paid leave, such as sick, vacation, and personal days. Any available sick leave must be used while on FMLA. If an Employee does not have any paid leave available or if the leave is exhausted during this period, the Employee's absence would be unpaid unless he/she is a member of the Sick Leave Pool and/or Short Term Disability qualified.

If the Employee was receiving 403(b) contributions before going on FMLA leave, he/she will continue to receive contributions as long as he/she is on paid leave status. Once paid leave has been exhausted and the Employee is no longer in a pay status from Eckerd, the Employee becomes responsible for making timely payments of the Employee’s portion of premiums for insurance benefits (health, dental, life, long-term disability) as well as contributing to his/her health flexible spending account, if applicable. Contributions to the Employee's retirement 403(b) plan will resume when Employee returns to pay status. Human Resources will discuss the arrangements for payment with the Employee at the onset of FMLA leave and confirm in writing using the Response to Request for Leave Form within 5 business days of receiving the Request for Leave Form.
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7. Medical Certification

Once FMLA leave has been requested using the Request for Family and Medical Leave Form, the Employee will receive the Health Care Provider Certification Form from Human Resources. The Health Care Provider Certification Form should be completed by the treating Physician and returned to Human Resources within fifteen (15) days from the date of letter.

Upon receipt of a completed Health Care Provider Certification Form by Human Resources, the Employee will receive the Designation Notice. This form is used to approve/deny the Employee's leave request, explain the use and duration of paid leave available, and outline a payment plan of benefit premiums currently paid by the Employee and the College.

If the employee’s medical certification is incomplete or insufficient, employees will be contacted in writing to provide additional information. Employees will be given seven days from the date of notification to provide the additional information.
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8. Return to Work Certification

If the FMLA leave has been approved for the Employee's own Serious Health Condition, a Return to Work Certification (Appendix B) must be completed by the treating Physician and presented to Human Resources before returning to work.
Under the provisions of this policy, an Employee on approved FMLA will be returned to his/her same or an equivalent position provided he/she is able to return to work either within or upon conclusion of the approved leave.
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9. Employee Status after Leave

Failure to return to work on the first business day following the expiration of the approved leave may be considered a voluntary termination. If you do not return to work, your benefits will be terminated, and you will forfeit your rights under FMLA to restoration of your previous or equivalent position. You will be offered continuation of health benefits under the federal COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) and the provisions of the benefit plans under which you were covered.
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10. Definitions

Active Duty - duty under a call or order to active duty.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - Allows employer to provide reasonable accommodations requested by qualified Employees with documented disabilities.

Chronic Condition - requires periodic visits which must take place at least twice a year.

Continuing Treatment - treatment two or more times by a Healthcare Provider taking place within a 30-day period.

Covered Servicemember - a 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.” The term also includes veterans who are undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy for “serious injury or illness” that occurred at any time during the five years preceding the date of treatment.

Domestic Partner - For purposes of this policy, a domestic partner is defined as the equivalent of an employee's spouse, provided that he/she qualifies for benefits coverage under Eckerd College’s benefits programs.  The son or daughter of a same-sex domestic partner of a College employee will be treated as the employee's child for the purposes of this policy, provided that the child qualifies for benefits coverage under the College's benefits program.

Designation Notice - The Department of Labor developed a model Designation Notice (Form WH-382) that can be used to notify the employee whether his or her FMLA request has been approved or denied.

Employee - a benefit eligible employee of the college

Health Care Provider - can include, but is not limited to, a doctor of medicine or osteopathy who is authorized to practice medicine or surgery by the state where he or she practices, podiatrists, dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and clinical social workers.

Immediate Family - includes the employee's spouse, domestic partner, child or parent (but not a parent "in-law").

Employee's child means a biological, adopted, foster child, or a stepchild. The child must be under age 18 or age 18 or older and incapable of self-care due to a mental or physical disability.

Employee's parent means a biological parent or an individual who had day-to-day responsibility to care for and financially support the Employee when the Employee was a child.

Intermittent Leave - Intermittent leave is FMLA leave taken in separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason. When employees have chronic conditions and certifications that call for intermittent leave, employees are required to work out leave schedules as far in advance as possible with the immediate supervisor and Human Resources.  Intermittent leave may be taken on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary for planned and/or unanticipated medical treatment of a related Serious Health Condition by or under the supervision of a health care provider or for recovery from treatment or recovery from a Serious Health Condition.  It may also be taken to provide care or psychological comfort to an immediate family member with a Serious Health Condition.

Intermittent leave may be taken for a Serious Health Condition which requires treatment by a health care provider periodically, rather than for one continuous period of time, and may include leave of periods from 15 minutes or more to several weeks. Examples of intermittent leave would include leave taken on an occasional basis for medical appointments, or leave taken several days at a time spread over a period of six months, such as for chemotherapy.

Intermittent/reduced schedule leave may be taken to care for a newborn or newly placed adopted or foster care child only with approval from the direct supervisor, area Dean or VP and HR.

Next of Kin - The term "next of kin", used with respect to an individual, means the nearest blood relative of that individual.

Outpatient Status - The term "outpatient status", with respect to a covered service member, means the status of a member of the Armed Forces assigned to a military medical treatment facility as an outpatient or a unit established for the purpose of providing command and control of members of the Armed Forces receiving medical care as outpatients.

Qualifying Exigency - A non-medical activity that is directly related to the covered military member's active duty or call to active duty status. For an activity to qualify as an exigency, it must fall within one of the following seven categories or be mutually agreed to by the employer and employee.

  • Short-notice deployment (leave permitted up to seven days if the military member receives seven or less days' notice of a call to active duty)
  • Military events and related activities
  • Certain temporary childcare arrangements and school activities (but not ongoing childcare).
  • Financial and legal arrangements
  • Counseling by a non-medical counselor (such as a member of the clergy)
  • Rest and recuperation (leave permitted up to five days when the military member is on temporary rest and recuperation leave)
  • Post-deployment military activities

Reduced Schedule Leave - Is defined as a leave schedule that reduces the usual number of hours worked by an employee.

Short Term Disability - Please refer to the Short Term Disability Policy.

Serious Health Condition - A serious health condition includes treatment for a serious chronic condition which, if left untreated, would likely result in an absence from work for more than three consecutive days. A serious health condition is intended to cover those conditions which affect one's health to the extent that in-patient care is required or continuing treatment by a health care provider is necessary on a recurring basis for treatment or recovery. Examples of serious health conditions include heart attacks, heart conditions, cancer, conditions requiring extensive therapy or surgical procedures, strokes, respiratory conditions, appendicitis, pneumonia, emphysema, severe nervous disorders, injuries caused by serious accidents, complications of pregnancy, severe morning sickness, need for prenatal care, childbirth, and recovery from child birth.

Treatment of substance abuse may be included under FMLA where a stay at an in-patient treatment facility is required. However, absences because of an Employee's use of a substance without treatment do not qualify for family leave.

The term "serious injury or illness", in the case of a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, means an injury or illness incurred by the member in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member's office, grade, rank, or rating.

Worker's Compensation - Please refer to Worker's Comp Policy.
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