Basic Leave Entitlement
FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:
• For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth;
• To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care;
• To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, 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.
Military Family Leave Entitlements
Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent on active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation 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 a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the service-member medically unfit to perform his or her duties for which the service-member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.
Benefits and Protections
During FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s health coverage under any “group health plan” on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work. Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms.
Use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an employee’s leave.
Employees are eligible if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and if at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.
Definition of Serious Health Condition
A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job, or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities.
Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regimen of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.
Use of Leave
An employee does not need to use this leave entitlement in one block. Leave can be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary. Employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule leave for planned medical treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operations. Leave due to qualifying exigencies may also be taken on an intermittent basis.
Substitution of Paid Leave for Unpaid Leave
Employees may choose or employers may require use of accrued paid leave while taking FMLA leave. In order to use paid leave for FMLA leave, employees must comply with the employer’s normal paid leave policies.
Employees must provide 30 days advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when the need is foreseeable. When 30 days notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable and generally must comply with an employer’s normal call-in procedures.
Employees must provide sufficient information for the employer to determine if the leave may qualify for FMLA protection and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave. Sufficient information may include that the employee is unable to perform job functions, the family member is unable to perform daily activities, the need for hospitalization or continuing treatment by a health care provider, or circumstances supporting the need for military family leave. Employees also must inform the employer if the requested leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave was previously taken or certified. Employees also may be required to provide a certification and periodic recertification supporting the need for leave.
Covered employers must inform employees requesting leave whether they are eligible under FMLA. If they are, the notice must specify any additional information required as well as the employees’ rights and responsibilities. If they are not eligible, the employer must provide a reason for the ineligibility.
Covered employers must inform employees if leave will be designated as FMLA-protected and the amount of leave counted against the employee’s leave entitlement. If the employer determines that the leave is not FMLA-protected, the employer must notify the employee.
Unlawful Acts by Employers
FMLA makes it unlawful for any employer to:
• Interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under FMLA;
• Discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by FMLA or
for involvement in any proceeding under or relating to FMLA.
An employee may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or may bring a private lawsuit against an employer.
FMLA does not affect any Federal or State law prohibiting discrimination, or supersede any State or local law or collective bargaining agreement which provides greater family or medical leave rights.
In any situation where FMLA leave is requested, the employee is expected to give his/her supervisor and Personnel Services at least 30 days advance notice of leave, to the extent practicable. Otherwise, notice must be given with as much lead time as possible. This requirement will be met by completing the IWU Family & Medical Leave Request Form available from Human Resources, or verbal notification within two days of learning of the need for the leave.
All related information will be maintained in a separate, confidential FMLA file.
Employment and Benefits Protection
IWU guarantees that the employee will be returned to the same or an equivalent position and employment benefits if the employee returns after the leave. However, neither sick leave nor vacation will accrue while the employee is on unpaid leave.
Continuation of Benefits During Leave
An employee who goes on FMLA leave will be entitled to continue health benefits under the same terms as when on the job.
For health benefits during any paid portion of a FMLA leave, employee contributions will be collected in the same way as if actively at work (e.g., through payroll deductions).
When feasible, the employee should choose to prepay health coverage contribution (e.g., through increased payroll deductions or other arrangement) when the need for unpaid FMLA leave is foreseeable. Otherwise, the employee will be billed in monthly increments of the normal contribution.
Failure to pay the required contributions while on leave will result in cancellation of benefits coverage; however, benefits will be fully reinstated when the employee returns to work.
If the employee does not return to work after the FMLA leave for reasons other than health conditions or some other reason beyond the employee's control (that is, the decision not to return to work is essentially voluntary, IWU may charge the employee retroactively for IWU's portion of the health care premium cost paid during the unpaid portion of the FMLA leave. The employee is considered as having returned to work after FMLA leave by the time he or she has been back at work for at least 30 calendar days.
A request for additional leave beyond the 12 weeks allowed by the FMLA must be approved by the appropriate Vice President and Human Resources.
Medical certification from the employee's health care provider will be required at the employee's expense and must be provided within 15 calendar days after the date of the leave request, unless the 15 days is not feasible under the circumstances. The IWU Family & Medical Leave Certification Form, or an approved substitute, must be completed and submitted to Human Resources.
Intermittent or reduced schedule leave is permitted if agreed to by IWU and must be recorded on an hour for hour basis regardless of the employee's category. This will not affect the exemption from FLSA overtime provisions for those in exempt positions.
The employee must first use all accumulated vacation leave before beginning unpaid FMLA leave.
When both husband and wife are employed by IWU, they are jointly entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks of FMLA leave under this leave reason.
Before an employee may return to work following his/her own serious health condition, a fitness-for-duty medical certification form from the treating health care provider must be provided to Indiana Wesleyan University.
When both husband and wife are employed by IWU, they are each entitled to 12 weeks of FMLA leave under this leave reason when the family member is the spouse or child.
With the President’s Cabinets' approval, a second or third opinion may be required, but will be at IWU's expense.
A new Certification Form may be required periodically as a means of updating IWU on the status of the employee's leave.
If FMLA leave is for planned medical treatment and will be taken on an intermittent basis or by a reduced schedule, the employee is expected to schedule the treatment so as to create minimum disruption of the office or department. IWU reserves the right to move an employee on intermittent or reduced schedule leave to an alternative position that can better accommodate such scheduling, if necessary. Such move should receive the approval of the appropriate Vice President.
This policy applies to all the employees of the University.
19-Mar-2015 - Date conversion to KB
Employee Policy 300.08.02
Executive Director for Human Resources
Vice President for Business Affairs/ CFO