FAQs - Family and Medical Leave
- What is Family and Medical Leave?
Family and Medical Leave (FML) is a federal law which allows unpaid leave for up to 12 work weeks in a 12 month period for a qualifying event for eligible University employees. FML provides job protection for employees who take this leave. Complete information on FML may be found in Human Resources Policy & Procedure (HRP&P) 88.0 Family and Medical Leave.
- Who is eligible to take Family and Medical Leave?
University employees (faculty, staff, student, regular or temporary) who have been employed by the University for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutively but within the last seven years) AND who have worked for at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 month period.
- What is a qualifying event?
- The birth of a child and the care of the newborn child.
- The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
- To care for a spouse, child or parent of the employee who has a serious health condition.
- A serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of the job.
- To care for a service member with a serious illness or injury if the employee's spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin is on covered active duty in the Armed Services.
- A qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on (or has been notified of an impending call to) "covered active duty" in the Armed Forces.
- What is a serious health condition as defined under Family and Medical Leave?
A physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential care facility OR continuing treatment by a health care provider.
- What does continuing treatment mean?
- A period of incapacity which lasts more than three consecutive calendar days (not necessarily work days) AND involves either:
- Treatment two or more times by a health care provider within the first 30 days, the first visit occurring within the first seven days OR
- Treatment by a health care provider at least one time which results in a regimen of continuing treatment (i.e., prescription medication, physical therapy, dialysis, chemotherapy, radiation, etc.)
Note: Over-the-counter medications do not count as a regimen of treatment even if they are recommended by a health care provider.
- Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care whether or not health care provider services are used.
- Any period of incapacity or treatment due to a chronic serious health condition. A chronic serious health condition is one which:
- Requires periodic visits for treatment (defined as at least twice a year).
- Continues over an extended period of time.
- May cause episodic rather than continuing period of incapacity (i.e., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, migraine, etc.
- A period of incapacity which is permanent or long term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective (i.e., Alzheimer's Disease, severe stroke, or the terminal stages of a disease).
- Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments by a health care provider for restorative surgery after an accident or injury, or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity lasting a minimum of more than three consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment such as cancer (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.) or severe arthritis (physical therapy), or kidney disease (dialysis).
- What is not covered under Family and Medical Leave?
Family and Medical Leave is not intended to cover short term conditions for which treatment and recovery are very brief (i.e., colds, flu, etc.). Treatment does not include routine physical exams, eye exams, or dental exams. Over-the-counter medications are not considered a regimen of treatment.
- Who is an approved health care provider under Family and Medical Leave?
A doctor of medicine or osteopathy, podiatrist, dentist, clinical psychologist, optometrist, chiropractor, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, physician assistant, licensed clinical social worker or Christian Science practitioner listed with the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts.
- What is the definition of child under Family and Medical Leave?
It is your biological, adopted, or foster son or daughter, a stepson or stepdaughter, a legal ward or a son or daughter of a person standing in loco parentis who is either under 18 years of age or who is 18 or over but is incapable of self care due to a mental or physical disability as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- What is intermittent leave?
Intermittent leave is FMLA leave taken in seperate blocks of time due to a single qualifying event. An FML application must be submitted every six months for intermittent leave.
- What is reduced schedule leave?
A reduced leave schedule is a leave schedule that reduces an employee's usual number of working hours per workweek, or hours per workday.
- May an employee take intermittent or reduced schedule leave for prenatal care?
Yes, because prenatal care is determined to be a serious health condition under the FML definition. In fact, all prenatal physician visits taken during working hours must be reported as FML.
- May an employee take intermittent or reduced schedule leave for postnatal care?
Yes. Leave taken for childbirth or placement may be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule, with the approval of the department head. Leave taken for childbirth on an intermittent or reduced schedule shall be taken after the presumed six-week recovery period. In addition, leave for childbirth, foster care or adoption must be taken within 12 months of the date of the birth or placement of the child.
- May a father of a newborn child take FML too?
Yes. The father may take FML for the birth of a child and to care for that child or for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care.
- Who determines whether leave qualifies under FML?
The University, in conjunction with information provided by the employee and the appropriate health care provider, determines whether or not Family and Medical Leave is appropriate. The employee cannot choose to decline taking FML when there is a qualifying event.
For UK Healthcare and College of Medicine employees, Whitney Cunningham, FMLA Administrator, determines whether or not Family and Medical Leave is appropriate.
- How do I apply for Family and Medical Leave?
- Fill out Part I of the Request for Family and Leave form and have your appropriate health care provider fill out Part II of the Request for Family and Medical Leave form. Turn these forms into your supervisor (FMLA Administrator for UK Healthcare and College of Medicine employees) 30 days prior to using FML whenever possible. You must provide medical substantiation of an FML absence within 15 calendar days after notifying your supervisor of the need for FML.
- Even if you do not apply for FML, your supervisor may place you on Family and Medical Leave when s/he knows you have a qualifying event. By University policy, it is the responsibility of management to place an employee on FML when there is a qualifying event. It is not the employee's choice to decline using FML. The employee is required to cooperate by providing appropriate medical substantiation.
- Is advance notice required to take FML?
Yes. Advance notice of 30 days is required unless the condition is an emergency and it is impossible to give 30 days notice. In that event, as much notice as possible is required. It is the employee's responsibility to provide the necessary medical substantiation of the need for FML within 15 calendar days. If medical substantiation is not provided, the absence will not be considered Family and Medical Leave and job protection will not be guaranteed.
- When does my year for FML purposes begin?
It begins the very first time you use your first day or hour of FML. For example, if you use your first day of FML on March 3, 1998, your 12 month calendar or "window" will be from March 3, 1998 to March 2, 1999. During this 12 month "window" you may use up to 12 work weeks of FML for a qualifying event. This may also be broken down into hours if necessary and appropriate.
- How do I get paid (versus being unpaid) while using Family Medical Leave?
You are paid in conjunction with the University policies on temporary disability leave and/or vacation leave. Refer to HRP&P 82.0 Temporary Disability Leave and HRP&P 80.0 Vacation Leave. You are paid only if you have appropriate accrued temporary disability leave or vacation leave days. If not, the FML will be without pay. Under University policy, an employee may use a limited number of their own temporary disability leave days to care for certain family members. Faculty employees should refer to appropriate faculty regulations regarding sick leave pay.
- If I am on Family and Medical Leave on a holiday, will I be paid for that holiday?
If you are in a pay status on both the day before and the day after the holiday, you will be paid FML/holiday pay. If not, you will not be paid for the holiday. In either event, the holiday will not be counted as one of your 60 FML days (this excludes employees of the University Hospital).
- If both husband and wife are UK employees, are they each eligible for 12 weeks of FML per 12 month period?
Sometimes, but not always. When it is for their own serious health condition or for the serious health condition of their spouse or child, they may each take 12 weeks of FML. However, in cases where a husband and wife are employees and employed in the same department, they may be required to share, at the discretion of the department, the 12 week FMLA entitlement for purposes of childbirth and/or adoption/foster care.
- In what way does Family and Medical Leave protect me?
Family and Medical Leave protects your job. In most cases, your same job will be held for you up to a maximum of 12 weeks in 12 months. If not the identical job, an equivalent job with the same pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment will be provided. In addition, FML absences cannot be held against you for corrective action purposes regarding absenteeism. Also, while you are on approved FML, the University will continue to pay for your basic life insurance, long term disability insurance, and for your own health insurance (not for the family plan portion though) even if you are in a no-pay status. Your employment date will be unchanged. Vacation and Temporary Disability Leave (TDL) will accrue only if you are in a pay status for at least one half of the pay period.
- Can my department transfer me to a different job when I am on FML?
Yes, in some cases they can. If you request intermittent or reduced schedule leave, your department may require you to temporarily transfer to another available position for which you are qualified if it better accommodates recurring periods of leave than your regular position. It will not affect your pay or your benefits.
- What if I do not return to work after being on Family Medical Leave?
You must repay any health insurance premiums the University paid for you unless you do not return to work due to a continuation of your serious health condition or if other circumstances occur which are beyond your control.
- What if I am on workers' compensation? Is that also Family Medical Leave?
Yes, it can be. HRP&P 88.0 Family and Medical Leave states that workers' compensation shall be designated as FML leave as long as the illness/injury also qualifies as an FML qualifying event. If that is the case, FML then runs concurrently with the workers' compensation leave.
- As a supervisor or manager, what is my responsibility regarding Family and Medical Leave?
- You are responsible for knowing about and understanding Family and Medical Leave. HRP&P 88.0 Family and Medical Leave
- You must be able to determine when your employee might be experiencing a qualifying event under FML by inquiring sufficiently and appropriately to employee requests for time away from work for health related reasons. You must then follow the proper procedures to place your employee on FML if appropriate. It is ultimately your responsibility to place an employee on FML even if they do not voluntarily apply for it. The employee may not choose to decline FML if they are eligible for it and have a qualifying event.
- As soon as you are aware of your employee's FML qualifying event, you must notify your employee in writing, within the allowable time frame, of his/her FML status. The written notice must detail the specific expectations and obligations to the employee. It must include the consequences of failure to pay for benefits while on FML and the circumstances under which the coverage may lapse.
- After you receive the completed request forms from your employee, you must route them appropriately.
- You must track FML absences appropriately within your department.