FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) provides certain employees with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave a year, and requires group health benefits to be maintained during the leave as if employees continued to work instead of taking leave.

Leave Entitlement

The University will grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12 month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care, or childbirth*;
  • Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care, and to care for the employee’s newly adopted* child or a child newly placed in the foster care of the employee.
  • To care for the employee’s family member with a serious health condition.
  • The employee’s serious health condition.

Employees may choose to use accrued paid leave instead of unpaid leave for any portion of the 12 workweeks.

Parental Leave

*The university’s leave policy guarantees six months of parental leave for eligible employees upon the birth or adoption of a child. The first 12 weeks are considered FMLA-qualifying.

OPS employees, including Post-Doctoral Associates, are eligible for up to 12 work weeks of parental leave, once they have worked at least 12 months (need not be consecutive), and also have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave. Breaks in employment do not affect this total. It is a cumulative total of the number of months the employee has been employed by the University.

The official parental leave entitlement period may begin two weeks before the expected date of the child’s birth, but must occur prior to the child’s first birthday, when parental leave entitlement ends. The employee may choose to use paid leave, unpaid leave, or a combination of paid and unpaid leave. With departmental approval, the employee may work a reduced work schedule. However, the total time of parental leave of absence cannot exceed six months from the first day of absence.

UF Paid Parental Leave

On December 10, 2010, the Board of Trustees approved changes to the UF Regulations to include a paid parental leave program.

Faculty, TEAMS and USPS employees in leave-accruing positions may request up to 6 weeks of advanced sick or vacation leave for the birth or adoption of a child or the initial placement of a child in the foster care of the employee. Employees may also use their personal accrued leave, unpaid leave, or a combination of paid and unpaid leave, so long as the total parental leave period, including the paid parental leave program, does not exceed a total of six (6) calendar months from the first date leave is used. If being used for foster care, the paid parental leave must be used within the FMLA entitlement period of twelve (12) workweeks.

The paid parental leave is also subject to the provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and will count against the FMLA leave entitlement of twelve (12) workweeks during the UF fiscal year.

The employee will be required to repay the leave hours advanced within a three (3) year period from the first date the leave is used. Faculty covered by the collective bargaining unit agreement may take up to six (6) years to repay the leave hours advanced to them as part of this program.

Upon separation of employment with the university, the hours used for paid parental leave, excluding any hours that were taken as accrued personal leave, will be deducted from the total balance of accrued sick and/or vacation leave or other payment owed by the University, prior to any payment being made. If the paid parental leave taken exceeds the available balance of unused leave at the time of separation, the employee will be required to repay the cost of the difference of the hours that have not been repaid.

For more information and procedure to apply, see the links listed below.

Military Family Leave Entitlements

Qualifying Exigency Leave

  • Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent on covered active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard and Reserves and the Regular Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation may use their 12-week leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies. Covered active duty requires deployment to a foreign country. Qualifying exigency leave may be taken for the following reasons: (1) short notice deployment; (2) military events and related activities; (3) childcare and school activities; (4) financial and legal arrangements; (5) counseling; (6) rest and recuperation; (7) post-deployment activities; and (8) additional activities.
  • Eligible employees may take leave to care for a military member’s parent who is incapable of self-care when the care is necessitated by the member’s covered active duty. Such care may include arranging for alternative care, providing care on an immediate need basis, admitting or transferring the parent to a care facility, or attending meetings with staff at a care facility.

Serious Injury or Illness for a Current Servicemember

  • FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a current servicemember during a single 12-month period. A covered servicemember 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 or injury or illness that existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and were aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces. that may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform his or her duties for which the servicemember is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.

Serious Injury or Illness for a Covered Veteran

  • A serious injury or illness for a covered veteran means an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated by the member in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces and manifested itself before or after the member became a veteran, and is:(1) A continuation of a serious injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated when the covered veteran was a member of the Armed Forces and rendered the servicemember unable to perform the duties of the servicemember’s office, grade, rank, or rating; OR
    (2) A physical or mental condition for which the covered veteran has received a VA Service Related Disability Rating (VASRD) of 50 percent or greater and such VASRD rating is based, in whole or in part, on the condition precipitating the need for caregiver leave; OR
    (3) A physical or mental condition that substantially impairs the veteran’s ability to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of a disability or disabilities related to military service or would do so absent treatment; OR
    (4) An injury, including a psychological injury, on the basis of which the covered veteran has been enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.

Employee Eligibility

Faculty, TEAMS, and USPS employees hired into leave-accruing positions are eligible for FMLA leave upon hire at the University of Florida.

OPS employees, including Post-Doctoral Associates, are eligible for up to 12 work weeks, once they have worked at least 12 months (need not be consecutive), and also have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave. Breaks in employment do not affect this total. It is a cumulative total of the number of months the employee has been employed by the University.

FMLA Benefit Year

The University of Florida uses the UF fiscal year, which is the twelve-month period from July 1 through June 30.

Serious Health Condition

Serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

  • any period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or
  • a period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three calendar days from work, school, or other regular daily activities that also involves continuing treatment by (or under the supervision of) a health care provider; or
  • any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care; or
  • any period of incapacity (or treatment therefore) due to a chronic serious health condition; or
  • a period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective; or,
  • any absences to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery therefrom) by, or on referral by, a health care provider for a condition that likely would result in incapacity of more than three consecutive days if left.

Family Member

An employee’s spouse, children (son or daughter), and parents are immediate family members for purposes of FMLA.

While use of sick leave and extended medical leaves of absence are available for employees with family members who meet the University’s definition of immediate family, those absences will not be designated as qualifying under the FMLA unless the employee’s family member also meets the federal definition. The university’s definition for “immediate family” is defined as an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, great-grandparent, grandparent, parent, brother, sister, child, grandchild, or great-grandchild, or the grandparent, parent, brother, sister, child, grandchild, or great-grandchild of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner, or the spouse or domestic partner of any of them. This also includes individuals for whom the employee is current legal guardian.

Requesting FMLA

An employee must provide the university at least 30 days advance notice before FMLA leave is to begin if the need for the leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement for adoption or foster care, or planned medical treatment for a serious health condition of the employee or of a family member. If 30 days notice is not practicable, notice must be given as soon as practicable.

The department 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. If the employee will be going on extended leave of absence, the Extended Leave of Absence form includes the employee’s rights and responsibilities under the FMLA, as well as the Designation Notice, which must be completed by the employer to indicate if the leave is FMLA-qualifying.

FMLA Poster

All covered employers are required to display and keep displayed a poster prepared by the Department of Labor summarizing the major provisions of The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and telling employees how to file a complaint. The poster must be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees and applicants for employment can see it. A poster must be displayed at all locations even if there are no eligible employees.

A copy of the poster prepared by the Department of Labor (WH 1420) is available for your information or for posting in the workplace. For more information, visit the US Department of Labor website, or contact the Leave Administration office at (352) 392-2477 or via email at central-leave@ufl.edu.