To provide employees with a consistent and uniform process for medical leaves of absence. This policy meets and/or exceeds the requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, as amended January 2008, and its implementing regulations effective January 16, 2009, and replaces the former Family and Medical Leave policy which was effective 2/1/2006.
An eligible employee may take up to 12 work weeks of Family and Medical Leave (FML) within any 12 month rolling period and be restored to the same or to an equivalent position upon their return. Qualifying employees may take up to 26 workweeks in a 12 month period for Military Caregiver Leave. This leave is calculated using the 12 month period from the date Military Caregiver leave begins, not the usual 12 month rolling period.
Reasons for Family and Medical Leave:
FML for reasons 1 or 2 must be completed within the 12 month period beginning on the date of the birth or placement and must be taken in a continuous period without intermittent breaks. If the employee is requesting leave for the birth of a child, two separate applications may need to be completed; one for the employee’s own serious health condition and the second for care/placement (i.e. bonding) with the newborn child, as such leaves are administered separately. The use of sick leave is not available during the care/placement (i.e. bonding) period as it does not meet the criteria set forth in the sick leave policy. Employees must submit documentation showing the date of adoption or foster care placement and pertinent information from the appropriate agency to the University’s FML Administrator. Spouses who both work at the University and who request leave for reasons 1 or 2 are jointly limited to a total of 12 work weeks of Family and Medical Leave.
Cases of a death, birth, adoption and/or placement of a child for adoption may require making changes to benefits. An employee must complete and return the appropriate documentation to the Benefits Office within 30 days of the event in order for changes to be effective immediately. Failure to complete the necessary documentation within the specified timeframe will result in the employee having to wait until the annual open enrollment period to make changes to his/her benefits to be effective the following January 1. Changes may also be made within 30 days of any subsequent qualifying life event.
FML is not intended to cover short-term illnesses that do not meet the definition of a serious health condition, where treatment and recovery times are brief.
A serious health condition is defined on the Certification of Health Care Provider Form as an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves one of the following:
1. Hospital Care
Inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with or consequent to such inpatient care.
2. Absence Plus Treatment
A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days (including any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition), that also involves:
(a) Treatment two or more times, within 30 days of the first day of incapacity by a healthcare provider, by a nurse or physician's assistant under direct supervision of a healthcare provider or by a provider of healthcare services (e.g., physical therapist) under orders of, or on referral by, a healthcare provider , provided that the first visit to the health care provider takes place within seven days of the first day of incapacity and the second visit takes place within 30 days, unless circumstances beyond employee’s control prevents the second visit from occurring within this 30 day period (i.e., no available appointments during that time period); or
(b) Treatment by a healthcare provider on at least one occasion which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the healthcare provider, provided the first visit to the health care provider takes place within seven days of the first day of incapacity.
Treatment includes examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists and evaluations of the condition. Treatment does not include routine physical examinations, eye examinations or dental examinations.
A regimen of continuing treatment includes, for example, a course of prescription medication (e.g., an antibiotic) or therapy requiring special equipment to resolve or alleviate the health condition. A regimen of treatment does not include the taking of over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, antihistamines, or salves; or bed-rest, drinking fluids, exercise, and other similar activities that can be initiated without a visit to a healthcare provider.
Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care.
4. Chronic Conditions Requiring Treatments
A chronic condition which:
(a) Requires periodic visits for treatment, at least two visits per year, by a healthcare provider, or by a nurse or physician's assistant under direct supervision of a healthcare provider;
(b) Continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of a single underlying condition);
(c) May cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity (e.g., diabetes, epilepsy, etc.)
5. Permanent/Long-term Conditions Requiring Supervision
A period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. The employee or family member must be under the continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a healthcare provider. Examples include Alzheimer's, a severe stroke or the terminal stages of a disease.
6. Multiple Treatments (Non-Chronic Conditions)
Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery therefrom) by a healthcare provider or by a provider of healthcare services under orders of, or referral by, a healthcare provider, either for restorative surgery after an accident or other injury, or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment, such as cancer (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.), severe arthritis (physical therapy), and kidney disease (dialysis).
Military caregiver leave to care for the employee’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin
Leave may be taken by eligible employees to care for a covered service member with a “serious injury or illness” who is that employee’s spouse, child, parent or next of kin (defined as the service member’s nearest blood relative) .
‘Serious injury or illness” is defined as an injury or illness that is incurred in the line of duty on covered active duty that may render the service member medically unfit to perform the duties of his or her office, grade, rank or rating. Leave can be taken for a covered service member (a) who is on the temporary disability retired list, (b) who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for the serious illness or injury; (c) who is assigned to a military medical treatment facility as an outpatient or is otherwise receiving outpatient care at a unit established for members of the armed forces; (d) to care for veterans undergoing treatment, recuperation or therapy for an injury, as long as the veteran was a member of the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves within five years of requiring care; or (e) injury or illness incurred because service on covered active duty aggravated an existing or preexisting injury. This FMLA leave does not apply to care for former members of the armed forces who are on the permanent disability list.
An eligible employee caring for a covered service member with a serious illness or injury is eligible for up to 26 work weeks of FMLA leave within a 12 month period, calculated using the 12 month period beginning on the first day the Military Caregiver leave begins. If the employee needs to care for more than one service member or the original service member has a subsequent injury, the employee may be entitled to take more than one period of 26 weeks of leave, but the individual cannot take more than 26 work weeks for the same illness or injury for a single service member. Regular FMLA (i.e., for the individual’s own serious health condition or for the care of a non-service member) is still limited to 12 work weeks, and “qualified exigency” leave does not qualify for the 26 weeks service member caregiver leave.
Military qualifying exigency for Covered Active Duty Leave
Leave may be taken for “qualifying exigencies” arising out of the military service of a covered family member (employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent on covered active duty or called to covered active duty status). Covered active duty includes a member of a regular component of the Armed Forces, duty during the deployment of the member with the Armed Forces to a foreign country; and
“Qualified exigencies” are defined to include the following:
1. An eligible employee who requests Family and Medical Leave must apply for the leave by completing an FML Request Form. Forms are available in the Human Resources Service Center (G-69 Rose Administration Building) or on the Human Resources website at http://hr.ua.edu/forms/family-medical-leave-request-form.doc . When the need for leave is foreseeable, the employee must apply in advance and must give 30 days advance written notice, unless 30 days notice is not practicable. If the employee is requesting leave for the birth of a child, two separate applications may need to be completed; one for the employee’s own serious health condition and the second for bonding with the newborn child, as such leaves are administered separately. If the need for leave is unforeseen, the employee must provide such notice as is practical, which means following your supervisor’s usual and customary notice call-in procedures for reporting an absence, unless unusual circumstances exist. The form must be filled out completely, including the supervisor's signature, and returned to the Benefits Office in the HR Service Center (Box 870364, G-69 Rose Administration Building). The employee should advise the supervisor or the appropriate designee within two business days upon returning to work that the reason for his or her leave was covered by FMLA. Otherwise, the employee may not be entitled to assert FMLA protections.
2. For Family and Medical Leave requested due to a serious health condition of the employee or of the employee's spouse, child, or parent, the employee must have the relevant healthcare provider supply the appropriate medical certification. The Certification of Healthcare Provider Form, which is available in the HR Service Center (G-69 Rose Administration Building) or on the HR website at http://www.dol.gov/regs/compliance/whd/fmla/wh380.pdf , should be completed and returned directly to the Benefits Office in the HR Service Center (Box 870364, G-69 Rose Administration Building) within 15 days following the request for leave. If the certification is rendered incomplete, the employee will have 7 days to submit the clarified and completed form.
Failure to do so within this timeframe may result in the denial of the leave. This form is not required when an employee is using FML for the care of a newborn child, adoption or placement of a child.
Failure to provide requested medical certification in the allotted time may result in a delay in the effective date of Family and Medical Leave coverage or in disciplinary action up to and including termination, for unexcused or excessive absenteeism in accordance with University policy.
The University may require, at its expense, a second medical opinion. The University may designate the healthcare provider who will furnish this second opinion. If the second opinion differs from the original medical certification, the University, at its expense, may require a third binding opinion from a healthcare provider who is mutually agreed upon by the University and the employee. The University may also require medical recertification of a serious health condition not to exceed once every 30 days, unless the original period of incapacity exceeds 30 days, in which case the University may request re-certification at the end of the initial period of incapacity. This information must be provided by the date requested. Failure to provide the requested recertification in the allotted time may result in a delay of further Family and Medical Leave coverage or in disciplinary action up to and including termination, for unexcused or excessive absenteeism in accordance with University policy.
3. It is the responsibility of individual departments to define how an employee should communicate to their supervisor regarding their Family and Medical Leave status and their intent to return to work. At a minimum, the employee should report to their supervisor each 30 days while on leave. The employee is responsible for notifying their supervisor in advance each time an absence is covered by FML based on the medical certification provided. The employee is required to follow the department’s usual and customary call-in procedures for reporting an absence, unless unusual circumstances exist. An employee must reapply and recertify if the type of leave circumstances described by the original certification have changed significantly (for example, the duration or frequency of absences, the nature of the illness, complications, etc.). In addition, the employee must notify their supervisor and the Benefits Office prior to expiration of their approved leave if the dates of the leave change or need to be extended. An employee who is released to return to work earlier than expected must provide at least 3 working days advance notice to the supervisor.
4. Family and Medical Leave may be taken on an intermittent basis for a serious health condition. An employee who requires intermittent or reduced-schedule leave may be required by their supervisor to schedule their leave in a way that will minimize disruption of their unit’s operation. The University reserves the right to verify that the intermittent leave must be taken at the specific time(s) that the employee requests. An employee who uses intermittent leave will be required to complete and submit an Intermittent FML Leave Report. For non-exempt employees this report must be signed by their supervisor and turned in with the bi-weekly timesheet. For exempt employees this report must be signed by the supervisor and submitted by the 7th of each month to the Benefits Office in the HR Service Center (Box 870364, G-69 Rose Administration Building). While an employee is on an intermittent leave, the University may transfer the employee to an alternative position which better accommodates recurring leave and which has equivalent pay and benefits.
5. Upon return from FML, the employee will generally be returned to the position held when leave began, or to an equivalent position, with equivalent employment benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment.
6. Family and Medical Leave which is taken due to the employee's own serious health condition requires medical certification that the employee is fit to return to work. The employee must obtain medical certification in writing from their healthcare provider. The employee will not be permitted to return to work until an appropriate written return to work certification is provided. This is not required if the employee is using leave for the care of a newborn child, adoption, or placement of a child, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
7. If eligible, employees are encouraged to consider applying for Long Term Disability Insurance for their own serious health condition(s) and/or applying for disability retirement under the Teachers’ Retirement System at the appropriate time. Questions regarding these options may be directed to the Benefits Office at 348-7732.
8. If an employee anticipates that their Family and Medical Leave may extend beyond 12 weeks, they should consult the Staff Handbook to determine whether application may be made for any other type of leave of absence. Approval of other types of leave is at the discretion of the supervisor.
9. The employee must be on previously approved paid leave the day before and the day after a holiday period to receive holiday pay while on approved Family and Medical Leave.
10. An employee who fails to return to work or who has not been approved for any other type of leave of absence or who is unable to return to work after the completion of an FML shall be treated as having voluntarily resigned.
Employee Benefits during Family and Medical Leave:
Employee’s Responsibilities for Family and Medical Leave:
The FML request form is available from the FML Administrator, Benefits Office, HR Service Center, G-69 Rose Administration Building, or at
An employee must provide medical certification within 15 calendar days following the request for leave. (Note: This form should be returned directly to the FML Administrator, Benefits Office, HR Service Center, G-69 Rose Administration Building.)
Supervisor’s Responsibilities for Family and Medical Leave:
Please contact the Benefits Office for questions regarding this policy.