Family and Medical Leave Act

The following definitions and procedures are derived from the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR 825). Employees and supervisors should consult with their institution's Human Resources office for additional information or clarification.


1. Eligible Employee

To be "eligible" for FMLA leave, an employee must have worked for the institution  for at least 12 months (not necessarily the past twelve months) and for at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave.This includes part-time and temporary employees, as well as regular employees, who meet both of the above criteria.

2. Family Member

a. Spouse

1. the employee's legal husband or wife as defined or recognized under State law for purposes of marriage in the State where the employee resides

b. Parent

1. a biological parent of the employee

2. an individual who stands or stood "in loco parent is" to an employee by providing primary day-to-day care and financial support when the employee was a child

3. does not include "parents-in-law"

c. Child

1. the employees's biological son or daughter under the age of 18

2. a legally adopted son or daughter under the age of 18

3. a foster child, stepchild or ward under the age of 18, legally placed with the employee

4. any such child over the age of 18 if the child is incapable of self-care due to a mental or physical disability. Incapable of Self care means requiring active assistance or supervision to provide daily self care in three or more basic or instrumental"activities of daily living" such as grooming & hygiene, bathing,dressing, eating,cooking,taking public transportation etc.

A "physical or mental disability " is one that substantially limits one or more major life functions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

3. Serious Health Condition

 An illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves: 

a. Inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay or longer) in a hospital, hospice, or residential care facility, and any subsequent treatment, or 

b. "Continuing treatment" by a health care provider for a serious health condition, involving -- 

A) a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days or 

B) requires in-person treatment by a healthcare provider at least once within 7 days of the first day of incapacity; AND

C) requires either

1. a regimen of continuing treatment initiated by the healthcare provider during the first treatment or

2. a second in-person visit to the health care provider for treatment (the necessity of which is determined by the healthcare provider) within 30 days of the first day of incapacity.

3. any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care

4. any period of incapacity due to a chronic serious health condition. A chronic condition is one that

(a) requires visits by a healthcare provider at least twice a year

(b) continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of a condition) and

(c) may cause episodic incapacity rather than a continuing period of incapacity

5. recovery from treatment associated with a serious health condition

4. Care of a family member

Encompasses both physical and psychological care.

Includes situations where the employee may be needed to fill in for others who are caring for
the family member.

May include intermittent leave.

5. Time limits for birth or placement of a child

Entitlement expires at the end of the 12-month period that began on the date of the birth or
placement. Any such FMLA leave must be concluded within this one-year period.

6. Intermittent Leave or Reduced Work Schedule

There must be a medical need for leave which can be best accommodated through an
intermittent or reduced work schedule

Employees must attempt to schedule leave or reduced work so as not to disrupt the employer's operations

The employer may assign the employee to an alternative position with equivalent pay & benefits that better accommodates the employee's intermittent leave or reduced work schedule

May include leave periods of an hour or more, up to several weeks.

Only the amount of leave actually taken is counted toward the 12 weeks of eligibility. For example:

a. an employee who normally works 5 days per week and takes off 1 day per week as intermittent FMLA leave is charged 1/5 of a week of FMLA leave

b. an employee who normally works 8-hour days, but who works half-days under a FMLA reduced work schedule would be charged 1/2 week of FMLA leave

c. The granting of intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule for well-child care after the birth, adoption, or placement of a child is at the discretion of the institution. 

7. Health care provider

The following individuals licensed/authorized to practice in the State in which they practice, and performing within the scope of their practice as defined under State law;

- a doctor of medicine or osteopathy authorized to practice medicine or surgery 

- podiatrists 

- dentists

- clinical psychologists

- optometrists

- chiropractors (limited to treatment consisting of manual manipulation of the spine to correct a subluxation as demonstrated by X-ray to exist) 

- nurse practitioners

- nurse-midwives

- clinical social workers 

- Christian Science practitioners listed with the First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts; and 

- any health care provider from whom the University's health care plans will accept certification of the existence of a serious health condition

8. Rolling twelve month calendar

The retrospective 12-month period as measured backward from the date the employee is using any FMLA leave. 

To determine if an employee is eligible for FMLA leave during any given week on a "rolling year" basis, one looks back over the 12 months immediately preceding that week -- and if the employee has not utilized the equivalent of 12 weeks of FMLA-qualifying leave in the 12 months prior to the date in question, then the employee is eligible for that week of leave (assuming all other eligibility criteria are met). In utilizing a rolling year, this analysis may be conducted each week to determine continued eligibility. 

9. Week

The fact that a holiday may occur within the week taken as FMLA leave has no effect; the week is counted as a week of FMLA leave.

If the institution's business operations have ceased, and employees are generally not expected to report for work for one or more days (e.g., during the winter holiday break), those days do not count against the employee's FMLA entitlement.

10. Medical certification

Documentation may be required from a health care provider that an employee's request for leave (for the employee's own serious health condition or for the care of a family member) is medically supported.

The University System of Georgia uses a sample Certification form that incorporates all the allowable questions found on their web site. 

Employees must provide the requested certification to the employer within the time frame requested (the institution must allow at least 15 calendar days after its request), unless it is not practicable to do so despite the employee's diligent, good-faith efforts.

The institution may request certification at some later date if there is reason to question the appropriateness of the leave or its duration.

Supervisors may not contact healthcare providers directly to request additional information, but should consult with their institution's HR office if assistance is needed, and arrangements may be made for a health care provider representing the institution to contact the employee's provider, with permission, for clarification and authentication.

An institution that has reason to doubt the validity of a medical certification may require the employee to obtain a second opinion at the employer's expense.

Under some circumstances, subsequent re-certification may be required.

 

EXAMPLES & FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FMLA