Family and Medical Leave Act

CHANGES TO FMLA RECENT NEWS- October 30, 2009

On October 28, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. Along with authorizing $680 billion in defense spending, in section 565 the legislation also makes important changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Specifically, military caregiver leave has been expanded so it may be used 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. The amendments also expand military caregiver leave so that employees may use it to care for a covered service member’s serious injury or illness incurred because service on active duty aggravated an existing or preexisting injuries. Previously, law only allowed caregiver leave for serious illnesses or injuries incurred on active duty.

The legislation also expands the use of qualifying exigency leave. Under the new law, qualifying exigency leave will now cover family members of the regular Armed Forces deployed to a foreign country, in addition to current coverage of family members of the Guard or Reserves. Finally, qualifying exigency leave is also extended to federal employees covered by Title II of the FMLA.

VSU PROCESS

Any regular employee who has been employed on a half-time or greater basis by Valdosta State University for at least twelve months is eligible for twelve weeks of family leave during a twelve month period commencing on the date the family leave begins. Family leave is unpaid leave; however, Family Medical Leave will be administered to run concurrently with the university sponsored annual and sick leave if such leave is available.

It is the supervisors obligation to designate leave as FMLA qualifying when ever they become aware of an FMLA qualifying event. It is not up to the employee to pick and chose whether or not to use FMLA time.

Twelve weeks of entitlement translates to 12 weeks of an employee’s regular schedule. The maximum entitlement for FMLA leave is 480 hours in the FMLA year for a full-time employee. The entitlement is prorated based on FTE, so an employee at .50 FTE would have a maximum entitlement of 240 hours in the FMLA entitlement year

See http://www.usg.edu/employment/benefits/fmla/ for additional information and required forms. The University reserves the right to designate an employee’s leave as leave under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Family leave shall be granted to an employee in the event of:

1. the birth and care of the child of the employee;
2. the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care;
3. a serious health condition of the employee's child, spouse, parent, or spouse's parent, necessitating the employee's presence; or
4. a serious health condition of the employee which renders him/her unable to perform required job duties. Employees on approved family leave shall be responsible for group insurance premium payments as is required of other individuals on unpaid leave status.

Military Caregiver Leave Effective January 16, 2009

An employee may take up to 26 weeks of military caregiver leave during a single 12-month period on a per- covered service member, per injury basis ( which may be taken continuously, intermittently, or on a reduced schedule basis). The single 12 month period is measured forward from the date an employee's leave to care for the servicemen begins. Once a single 12 month period expires, the employee is eligible for another 26 weeks of military caregiver leave during a subsequent single 12-month period to care for a different service member or to care for the same service member if he/she incurs a subsequent serious injury or illness or complication of earlier injury.

Exception: Child Over 18 With a Serious Health Condition

FMLA leave is only available to parents for children over 18 if the child is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability. Incapable of self-care means the child must have active supervision or assistance to provide daily self-care in three or more of the following activities:

  • Grooming

  • Dressing

  • Eating

  • Cooking

  • Cleaning

  • Shopping

  • Taking public transportation

  • Maintaining a residence

  • Using telephones

  • Using a post office

  • Paying bills

Returning from Leave

Upon return from an extended leave, including FMLA leave, an employee will be returned to the same position or a position in the same classification unless he or she and the university have agreed in writing otherwise. Supervisors may request certification of return to fitness upon return. FMLA leave will not affect the benefits normally accrued by employees during a leave with or without pay, as appropriate.

WebCT/VISTA Courses (Needs Updating to Blazeview D2L)

The following modules have been developed using WebCT/VISTA. These courses allow an employee to self register at any time.

  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act)

  • FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)

To Download Step-By-Step guidelines on how to register click HERE.

BOARD POLICIES AND FORMS

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)