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Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Policy

Type of Policy: HR
Effective Date: January 1, 2020
Last Revised: April 15, 2020

1. Purpose

The University of Florida (UF) is committed to compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). The purpose of this policy is to provide employees a basic understanding of their rights and obligations under FMLA.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all employees eligible for leave under FMLA. To be eligible, an employee must have been employed at UF for at least twelve months, which need not be consecutive, and have worked at least 1,250 hours within the twelve-month period preceding the request for leave. Paid and unpaid absences, including accrued leave, leave without pay, holidays, and other absences are not included in the 1,250 hour threshold.

3. Policy Statement

3.1 Basic Leave Entitlements

UF will provide eligible employees up to twelve workweeks (480 hours) per year of job-protected family medical leave for the following reasons:

  • To care for and bond with a child after birth, adoption, or foster care placement;
  • To care for their own serious health condition which makes the employee unable to perform their job, including pregnancy, prenatal medical care, and childbirth;
  • To care for an employee’s immediate family member (spouse, son, daughter, parent, or individual who has served in loco parentis) who has a serious health condition.

3.2 Military Leave Entitlements – Qualifying Exigency Leave

Eligible employees with an immediate family member (as defined above) on covered active duty or who have been called to active duty status in the National Guard, Reserves, and Regular Armed Forces may use up to 480 hours of their 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:

  • Short-notice deployment;
  • Military events and related activities;
  • Childcare and school activities;
  • Financial and legal arrangements;
  • Counseling;
  • Rest and recuperation;
  • Post-deployment activities;
  • 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.

3.3 Serious Injury or Illness for a Current Servicemember

FMLA includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for an immediate family member who is a current servicemember during a single 12 month period. A covered servicemember includes current members of the Armed Forces (including the National Guard and Reserves) who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status or is on the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty while on active duty.

3.4 Serious Injury of Illness for a Covered Veteran

FMLA permits eligible employees to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for an immediate family member who is a covered veteran during a single 12-month period. A covered veteran is one who has an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated by the member in the line of duty while on active duty in the Armed Forces and manifested itself before or after the member became a veteran, and is:

  • 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 their office, grade, rank, or rating; OR
  • A physical or mental condition for which the covered veteran has received a VA Service Disability Rating (VASRD) of 50 percent or greater and such VASRD rating is based, in whole or part, on the condition precipitating the need for caregiver leave; OR
  • A physical or mental condition that substantially impairs the veteran’s ability to secure of follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of a disability or disabilities related to military service or would do so absent treatment; OR
  • An injury, including physiological 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.

 

4. Procedures

4.1 Employee Responsibilities

An employee must provide at least 30 days of advance notice to their immediate supervisor of the need to take family medical need when the need can be foreseen. When 30 days’ notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice to their immediate supervisor as soon as practical and must comply with their unit’s normal call-in policies and procedures.

When requesting family medical leave, the employee must provide sufficient information and documentation so that UF may determine if the leave is covered by FMLA in addition to the timing, duration, and type of leave needed (continuous, intermittent/sporadic, or a reduced work schedule). This may include medical certifications completed by an appropriate health care provider, information detailing an inability of a family member to perform daily activities, the need for continuing treatment by a health care provider or hospitalization, or other circumstances supporting the need for military family leave.

Medical certifications and all other documentation supporting the request for leave should be provided directly to UFHR-Central Leave. Central Leave will review the documentation and will inform the employee of any additional obligation, including the need for revised or additional medical certifications to support the employee’s request for leave. Central Leave will determine if the leave is FMLA-protected, and if so, will provide the unit with the expected timing, duration, and type of leave needed so that they may complete the Extended Leave of Absence Form and, if needed, an ePAF so that their job record reflects the leave of absence. If Central Leave determines that the leave is not FMLA-protected, it will notify the unit and provide a reason for ineligibility. Leaves of absence which are not FMLA-protected may still qualify under other UF policies, such as Parental Leave and UF Medical Leave. Central Leave will provide additional details if these leaves may be applicable consistent with the unit’s established time and attendance policies.

Consistent with UF’s ethical standards, the following includes, but is not limited to, prohibited conduct related to FMLA-approved leave:

  • Misrepresenting or providing false information to UF or a health care provider.
  • Misrepresenting leave requests not covered by approved FMLA condition(s) as one which would otherwise be covered.
  • Failure to comply with the employee obligations set forth in this policy.
  • Failure to return from leave in a manner inconsistent with the anticipated need as documented by the employee and/or health care provider.

Employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule leave for planned medical treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the University’s operations. However, family medical leave does not need to be used in a singular block and can be taken intermittently or as a reduced work schedule when medically necessary and supported by an appropriate health care provider.

4.2 UF Responsibilities

After Central Leave has reviewed the request for family medical leave, they will provide the employee’s unit with the duration, timing, and type of leave needed. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, within five business days, the unit will provide the employee with an eligibility notice informing the employee if they are eligible for FMLA leave. If they are not eligible, the unit will also state at least one reason why the employee is not eligible. The unit will also provide to the employee a written Rights and Responsibilities Notice each time an employee is provided with an eligibility notice.

UF will not interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided by the FMLA. UF will not discharge, discipline, or discriminate against any employee regarding their request for, and usage of, family medical leave. Employees will be restored to their original or equivalent positions after returning from family medical leave.

4.3 Employee Benefits during Family Medical Leave – Health and Other Insurances

While an employee is on family medical leave, UF will continue to maintain health and other group benefits on the same condition as if the employee was working (subject to any applicable plan documents and laws). Employees wishing to continue benefits while on leave must continue to pay their portion of premiums at the same rate(s) during their standard employment status. If the employee wishes to use paid leave, benefit premiums will be deducted from payroll per normal procedures. However, employees on an unpaid leave of absence must coordinate their premium payments directly with the appropriate vendor or agency.

4.4 Pay During Leave

The FMLA allows for unpaid leaves of absence. However, UF has made provisions for employees to receive pay during family medical leave by using their accrued sick, vacation, and compensatory leave. Employees may use their personally accrued leave, as well as leave without pay, at their discretion. However, to the extent possible, they must work with their units to ensure time and leave is recorded as desired. After all personal accrued leave is exhausted, members of the UF Sick Leave Pool may request additional hours consistent with SLP policy. If granted, SLP policy will guide the use and recording of these hours. They will count against the employee’s FMLA entitlement as any other type of leave.

4.5 Leave Accrual While on Family Medical Leave

Consistent with UF Regulations, employees on family medical leave will not accrue additional sick or vacation leave during any leave without pay or other uncompensated periods. Employees will continue to be eligible for holiday pay commensurate with their FTE if they are in ‘in-pay’ status for a reasonable period of time of their last regularly scheduled workday before the holiday (to be determined by their supervisor).

5. Reporting Questions or Violations

UFHR is responsible for overseeing implementation of and assuring compliance with this policy. Questions regarding this policy and suspected violations may be addressed to:

UF Human Resources
Attention: Leave Administration
PO Box 115007, Gainesville FL 32611
Phone: (352) 273-2840
Fax: (352) 392-5166
fmla@hr.ufl.edu

6. Enforcement

Failure to comply with this policy could result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

7. Definitions and Terms (if applicable)

7.1 “Serious Health Condition”

A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves wither 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 their 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 or inability to work of more than three consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regiment of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.

7.2 Continuing Treatment by a Health Care Provider

A period of incapacity (inability to work, attend school, or perform other regular daily activities due to a serious health condition) of more than three consecutive calendar days, involving:

  1. Treatment two or more times by a health care provider, or treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion that results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the health care provider’s supervision;
  2. Pregnancy or prenatal care qualifies even if an employee does not receive treatment and even if the care does not last three days;
  3. A chronic serious health condition, defined as one that requires periodic visits for treatment by a health care provider, continues over an extended period of time, and may cause episodic rather than continuous incapacity (e.g., asthma, severe morning sickness).
  4. A permanent or long-term condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, severe stroke, terminal stages of a disease).
  5. An absence to receive multiple treatments by a health care provider either for restorative surgery after an accident or injury or for a condition that likely would result in incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical treatment (e.g., cancer, severe arthritis).

In addition to these five broad categories, the FMLA regulations also include in the definition of “continuing treatment by a health care provider” allergies or mental illness resulting from stress, but only if they meet all of the other criteria of a serious illness, and substance abuse, but only if the employee is taking leave for treatment by a health care provider.

7.3 “Rolling” 12-Month Period Measured Backward

UF bases FMLA entitlements on a “rolling” 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave.  Under the “rolling” 12-month period, each time an employee takes FMLA leave, the remaining leave entitlement would be the balance of the 12 weeks which has not been used during the immediately preceding 12 months.

Resources

Related Information

UF Leave Regulations 1.201

FMLA Employee Guide

FMLA Employee Rights and Responsibilities Poster

FMLA Employer’s Guide

Policy History

Revision Date Author Description
04/15/2020 UFHR, Leave Administration Policy Adopted