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Policy: Family, Medical, and Military Leave 


Date: 04/14/09 Policy ID: HRM-026 Status: Final

Policy Type: University
   
Contact Office: Benefits and Leave Center (UHR)
   
Oversight Executive: Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
   
Applies To: Academic Division and the College at Wise.
   
Table of Contents: 

Policy Statement

  1. Intermittent Leave or Leave on Reduced Schedule
  2. Request for and Certification of Need for Leave
  3. Second and Third Opinions
  4. Restoration to Position
  5. Status of Employment Benefits during Family, Medical, and Military Leave
  6. Responsibilities

Procedures

   
Reason for Policy: The University is committed to providing leave to assist employees with balancing the demands of the workplace, their individual needs, and the needs of their family in ways that accommodate the legitimate interests of the University’s schools and departments.  This policy assists the University in complying with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., and Regulations 29 C.F.R Part 825).
   
Policy Summary: 
   
Definition of Terms in Statement: 

Eligible employees: Faculty, professional research staff, classified salaried employees, University staff, salaried research assistants, and wage employees who have been employed by the University for: (1) at least 12 months within the last seven years; and (2) at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before the start of the leave.  (NOTE: The required 1,250 hours do not have to be worked during consecutive months. However, the 1,250 hours of work requirement applies to the 12 months immediately preceding the start of the leave.)

Employment Benefits: All benefits provided by the University to salaried employees including group life insurance, health insurance, annual and sick leave, educational benefits, and retirement contributions.

Family and Medical Leave: A job-protected leave without pay (or use of an employee's accrued leave with pay) for up to 12 workweeks (or up to 26 weeks for qualified Military leave) during a Leave Plan Year for the reasons specified in this policy in conformance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993.

Healthcare Provider: Healthcare providers include: (1) doctors of medicine or osteopathy who are authorized to practice medicine or surgery (as appropriate) by the state in which the doctors practice; (2) any other person determined by the Secretary of the Department of Labor to be capable of providing health care services; and (3) others capable of providing health care services to include only podiatrists, dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives authorized to practice in the state and performing within the scope of their practice as defined under state law. This also includes Christian Scientist practitioners listed with the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, although an employee or family member may be required to submit to a medical examination for a second or third opinion (not treatment) from a non-Christian Science practitioner.

Key Position: A position within the highest paid 10 percent of all the University's employees, working within 75 miles of the University’s facility.

Leave Plan Year: Begins with the first day of the pay period which includes January 1 (known as Pay Period 1) and ends on the last day of the pay period preceding Pay Period 1 of the following year. 

Parent: Biological parent or individual who stood in place of the parent of the employee and was charged with the duties and responsibilities of the parent.

Qualified Exigency Leave: Military leave which may be used for such pressing or urgent situations as:
  • short-notice deployment (defined as notice of an impending call or order to active duty within seven days of the date of deployment);
  • military events and related activities, such as informational briefings, family assistance programs, or official ceremonies and events;
  • childcare and school activities, including arranging alternative childcare, caring for children on an immediate, urgent basis, and attending school meetings;
  • making financial and legal arrangements, such as executing powers of attorney, obtaining military identification cards, or preparing a will or trust;
  • counseling;
  • rest and recuperation (that is, to spend time with a military family member who is on short term rest and recuperation leave);
  • post-deployment activities, including arrival ceremonies, reintegration events, and issues relating to the death of a military family member; and
  • other events arising out of a family member's service that may qualify, as long as the employer and employee agree that it qualifies, and agree on the timing and length of leave to be taken.

Spouse: Husband or wife as recognized under the laws of the Commonwealth for the purpose of marriage.

Serious Health Condition/Illness: A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive days that involves: (1) Treatment 2 or more times; or (2) Treatment by a Health Care Professional (HCP) on at least one occasion which results in continuing treatment.  The first visit must occur within 7 days.  The second visit must occur within 30 days, unless there are extenuating circumstances.  If the condition is “chronic”, there must be at least 2 visits to the HCP per year in connection with the chronic medical condition.

University Facility: Any defined space of the University, including a room, lab, series of labs, building or controlled outdoor area.
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Policy Statement: The University provides an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks (60 workdays; 480 work hours) of unpaid family or medical leave (up to 26 weeks in the case of qualified Military Leave) in a Leave Plan Year for the following reasons:
  • the birth of a child (to be taken within 12 months of the child’s birth);
  • the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care (to be taken within 12 months of the child’s placement);
  • the employee is needed to care for a family member (child, spouse, or parent) with a serious health condition;
  • the employee's own serious health condition makes him or her unable to do his or her job; or
  • military leave for a qualified exigency or to care for a covered service member’s serious illness or injury.
For an eligible part-time employee – Actual hours taken will be counted on a prorated basis corresponding to the percentage of hours the employee normally is scheduled to work during a Leave Plan Year.

For an eligible wage employee – Actual hours taken will be counted on a prorated basis corresponding to the percentage of hours the employee normally is scheduled to work during the 365-day period prior to the date family and medical leave is scheduled to begin.

An employee does not accrue annual and sick leave when on leave without pay status during family and medical leave.
 
Family and medical leave may not be used for short-term (a period of incapacity requiring absence of less than three calendar days) conditions for which treatment and recovery are brief, such as minor illnesses and out-patient surgical procedures with expected brief recuperating periods.   It does not provide for the intermittent care of a child for such commonplace illnesses as colds and flu.

When both parents of a child work for the University, the full amount of leave is limited to a combined total of 12 workweeks in a 12-month period when the leave is for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.
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  1. Intermittent Leave or Leave on Reduced Schedule:
    An employee may take intermittent leave or work a reduced schedule when medically necessary because of an eligible employee’s own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a child, spouse or parent.  Under this circumstance, the University may temporarily transfer the employee to another position that better accommodates the intermittent leave or reduced schedule as long as the new position carries equivalent pay and benefits. 

An employee may take family or medical leave on an intermittent leave basis or a reduced schedule as indicated:

  1. Intermittent Leave Schedule – a leave schedule permitting the employee to take leave periodically for a few hours a day (fewer than eight hours), or for a few days, on an as-needed basis.
    Note:  Employees may be required to provide medical certification that intermittent leave is necessary.
  2. Reduced Schedule – A leave schedule permitting the employee to reduce his or her usual number of hours worked per workweek or per workday.
An employee who must take intermittent leave or work a reduced schedule may either use available paid leave balances as permitted by each specific leave policy or take unpaid family or medical leave.
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  1. Request for and Certification of Need for Leave:
    An employee should submit a written request for family and medical leave or military leave (whether for a “qualified exigency” or to care for a seriously ill or injured covered service member) at least 30 days before the anticipated beginning of the leave, unless the claim is to be handled through the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP) (see Employee’s Responsibilities below), or unless emergencies or unforeseen events preclude such advance notice. Prior to granting the leave, the University may require certification for leave that is requested for:
    • an employee's serious health condition;
    • his or her family member's serious health condition;
    • military leave for a qualified exigency; or
    • military leave that is requested for a covered service member’s serious health condition.

    The certification should include the date when the serious condition began, the probable duration of the condition, and other appropriate facts.

    When possible, the employee should provide certification in advance of, or at the commencement of, the requested leave. When that is not possible, certification must be provided reasonably soon after the leave begins.

    The University may require an employee to report periodically during the leave period on his or her leave status and intention to return to work and to provide subsequent re-certifications on a reasonable basis (every four to six weeks is considered reasonable).
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  2. Second and Third Opinions:
    The University may require, at its own expense, a second opinion from its designated or approved healthcare providers. (This healthcare provider cannot be one who is employed by the University on a regular basis.)  When the second opinion differs from the first, the University may, at its own expense, require a third opinion. The opinion of the third healthcare provider shall be considered final and binding upon the University and the employee.
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  3. Restoration to Position:
    At the end of family and medical leave, an employee normally is reinstated to his or her original position – the position held when the leave began unless the employee held a key position which needed to be filled during the absence.  If the original position has been filled, an employee is entitled to restoration to an equivalent position (requires comparability and correspondence to duties, terms, conditions, and privileges of the employee’s previous position.) The University can require certification from a healthcare provider that the employee is able to return to work.
If an employee’s position is determined to be key, he or she may be denied restoration when the:
  • University shows that denying restoration “is necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury” to the University’s operations;
  • University notifies the employee that restoration will be denied at the time the University determines that grievous economic injury would occur; and
  • Employee already has begun the leave and elects not to return to employment within a reasonable time after receiving the University’s notice.
The University will provide notification of its intent to deny restoration for a reason noted above in a timely manner.
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  1. Status of Employment Benefits during Family, Medical, and Military Leave
    The University will continue to:
    1. Contribute to the health insurance premium of a salaried employee who has been approved for FMLA leave as noted:
      1. Paid annual or sick leave - the payroll deduction of the employee’s portion of the premium continues.
      2. Leave without pay – handled as if the employee is on leave without pay.
    2. Pay life insurance premiums while an employee is on FMLA.
    3. Make retirement contributions for any pay period in which qualifying compensation has been received by the employee.

Service Credit towards Sick Leave – An employee’s period of unpaid family and medical leave exceeding 14 consecutive calendar days is not credited as service time toward the required five years of continuous University service which the employee must have in order to receive payment for any sick leave balance when he or she separates from University employment.

Next Annual Leave Anniversary Date – When more than 14 consecutive calendar days of unpaid family and medical leave are taken, an employee will be placed on inactive service status and the next annual leave anniversary date will be advanced according to the length of time taken on unpaid family leave.

Incentive Increase – An employee’s eligibility for an incentive increase will be determined in accordance with pay practices and procedures which address leave with and without pay.
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  1. Responsibilities:
    The employee is responsible for:
    • Submitting a written Request for Family and Medical Leave at least 30 days before the anticipated start of the family and medical leave, unless emergencies or unforeseen events preclude such advance notice to the Office of Leave and Benefits (UHR); and
    • Providing the required certification within 15 calendars days if one is requested by the Office of Leave and Benefits.

    Note:  For VSDP covered illnesses and injuries, an employee is not required to submit a written Request for Family and Medical Leave at the time the leave begins or is expected to begin.  Leave managed through the VSDP’s carrier, UNUM, is automatically deemed FMLA leave for the period of approved medical disability.  Should such employee wish to extend leave beyond the period of approved medical disability, a Request for Family and Medical Leave may be required.

  2. The supervisor is responsible for:
    • Acknowledging the employee’s Request for Family and Medical Leave by signing the leave request form; and
    • Providing the required certification within 15 calendars days if one is requested by the Office of Leave and Benefits.

    The Office of Leave and Benefits is responsible for:
    • Providing the employee with a summary of their rights under FMLA in the form of an Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities Notice within 5 business days of receipt of the Request for Family and Medical Leave;
    • Determining if there is a need for certification and requesting one if necessary; and
    • Providing the employee with notice of approval or disapproval of the leave in the form of a Designation Notice within 5 business days of receiving sufficient information to render a decision on whether or not the leave will be designated FMLA.
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Procedures: Guidelines for Requesting Family, Medical, or Military Leave
   
Related Information: Department of Labor at www.dol.gov for regulations and forms
Medical Center Policy 601, Family Medical Leave
   
Policy Background: Effective January 16, 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its new rules for interpreting the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  The new rules serve two primary purposes: 1) to provide greater clarity on several regulations and 2) to implement new FMLA leave available to military family members.
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Major Category: Human Resource Management
   
Category Cross Reference: 
   
   
Process: 
   
Next Scheduled Review: 04/14/12
   
Approved By, Date: Policy Review Committee, 04/14/09
   
Revision History: Updated 8/21/09.
   
Supersedes (previous policy):  Family and Medical Leave