The Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") of 1993 gives eligible Saginaw Valley State University employees the right to take unpaid leave or paid leave, if earned, for a period of up to 12 work weeks in a 12-month period for certain family and medical reasons.
To be eligible, employees must have been employed for a total of twelve (12) months (does not need to be consecutive) and have at least 1,250 work hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the commencement of FMLA leave. Temporary, relief, adjunct faculty or student staff members may be eligible for benefits under the FMLA providing they meet the requirements of this section.
Reasons for Leave
Family and medical leave can be used by all eligible employees for the following reasons:
- The birth of an employee's child and to care for the newborn child, anytime within the first twelve months of the birth of the child;
- The placement and care of a newly-adopted or recently-placed foster child, anytime within the first twelve months of the placement of the child;
- To care for the employee's spouse, child or parent (but not parent-in-law) with a serious health condition;
- An employee's own serious health condition that makes him/her unable to perform the essential functions of his/her job.
Family leave to care for a newborn, adopted or foster care child cannot be taken on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis.
Length of Leave
Eligible employees may receive a total of twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave or earned paid leave during a twelve (12) month period. The twelve (12) month period is calculated backwards from the date an employee uses any family and medical leave.
If both spouses are employed by Saginaw Valley, they are limited to a combined total of twelve (12) weeks of family and medical leave during any twelve (12) month period if the reason for the leave is:
- For the birth of a child or to care for the child after the birth;
- For the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, or to care for the child after placement;
- For the care of a parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition.
For definitions of such terms and phrases as serious health condition, intermittent leave, health care provider, spouse, parent and child, and for more detailed information, see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 or contact Human Resources at (989) 964-4126 or (989) 964-7100.
Procedure for Requesting Family Medical Leave
- In all cases, it is the employee's duty to make the need for FMLA leave known and to furnish enough information regarding the reason for the leave so that the University can determine eligibility. An employee requesting leave must complete an "Application for Family and Medical Leave" Form and return it to his/her immediate supervisor. The employee should state the reason for the leave, the duration of the leave and the starting and ending dates of the leave.
- An employee must provide his/her department at least 30 days advance notice before FMLA leave is to begin if the need for the leave is foreseeable. If 30 days notice is not practicable, notice must be given as soon as practicable to minimize the disruption to University operations. "As soon as practicable" ordinarily would mean notification within one or two business days of when the need for leave becomes known to the employee. Notice of the need for FMLA leave may be given verbally through the University's call-in system for unforeseen leave requests or by the employee's family member if the employee is unable to do so personally. Leave may be denied if the requirements of this provision are not met.
- If leave is taken for an FMLA leave reason, but the University is not aware of the reason at the time of the leave, and the employee would like the leave to be counted as FMLA leave, he/she must notify the supervisor of the reason for the leave no later than two (2) business days after he/she returns to work. In the absence of such timely notification, the employee may not subsequently assert FMLA protections for the absence and the absence will be considered under the applicable leave or absence policy.
Coordination With Paid Leave Policies
- An employee using FMLA leave is required to use any accrued sick leave for his/her own serious health condition and count it in the 12 weeks of leave permitted under FMLA. Short-term absences (three days or less) for personal illnesses that are not serious health conditions do not count toward the 12 weeks of FMLA leave.
- Except as noted below, use of accrued sick leave is not available to care for a family member with a serious health condition but the time is counted toward the 12 weeks of FMLA leave. Time off used for the illness of a family member that is not a serious health condition does not count toward the 12 weeks of FMLA leave.
- For the care of a child, spouse or parent, you may elect to use up to three days of accrued paid sick leave, if available, as part of the 12-week FMLA leave.
- An employee may elect to use vacation or personal time during an unpaid portion of FMLA leave.
- University policies on leaves of absences, sick leave, salary continuation, etc., will run concurrently with the provisions of the FMLA leave when applicable.
- Support Staff employees may not use compensatory time (time in lieu of paid overtime) to cover FMLA leave.
- Use of paid time for FMLA leave purposes may be charged in one-half hour increments.
- Time off due to a disability or workers' compensation may be counted against the twelve (12) week period.
Benefit Continuation During Leave
- The University will continue to contribute toward group health coverage (including dental and vision, if applicable) at the same level and under the same conditions that existed while the employee was working. The employee will be required to continue to pay any portion of the premium, which they were paying prior to taking the leave. Arrangements must be made with the Human Resources Office.
- If the employee fails to make the required health insurance premium payments within 30 days of the date such payments are due, health insurance coverage may be discontinued. Notice will be mailed at least fifteen (15) days before coverage will cease advising the employee that coverage will be dropped on a specific date unless payment is received.
- All payments must be made to the Human Resource Office in accordance with the terms and conditions stated above.
- If an employee fails to return to work after expiration of the leave, he/she may be required to repay the University for the cost of the benefits received while on leave. The University may require medical certification of the employee's inability to return from leave.
- If an employee notifies the University that he/she will not be returning from a period of FMLA leave, the University may terminate the employee's health insurance benefits. In this case, the employee will be entitled to continuation of health insurance benefits only in accordance with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and the provisions of the health insurance plan.
- An employee will not lose any benefits accrued prior to the start of the leave but will not accrue vacation, personal and sick benefits during unpaid leave time.
Intermittent or Reduced Schedule Leaves
- An employee may request and be granted intermittent/reduced schedule leave in the case of a serious illness of themselves, their parent, spouse or child if there is a medical necessity and if the medical need can be best accommodated through such a leave. Intermittent/reduced schedule leave is not available (except as medically required) in connection with the birth of a child, an adoption or foster care.
- Intermittent/reduced schedule leave must be scheduled in advance whenever possible, preferably 30 days.
- Intermittent/reduced schedule leave is counted toward the 12-week maximum FMLA leave which can be used during a 12-month period.
- Intermittent/reduced schedule leaves, unless otherwise noted, are subject to the appropriate general provisions of this policy.
- The employee is required to schedule intermittent or reduced schedule leave, whenever possible, at times which do not unduly interfere with the department's operations.
- For intermittent and reduced work schedules, the University may temporarily transfer the employee to an alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits if the employee is qualified for the position and the new position accommodates the intermittent or reduced leave better than the employee's regular job. Such transfer must be requested through the Human Resources Office.
- If the employee was temporarily transferred to another position during his/her intermittent or reduced schedule leave, the employee must give the University reasonable advance notice of the ability to end the leave and return to his/her former position or an equivalent position.
- If an application for leave is based on the serious health condition of the employee or the employee's spouse, child or parent, the University reserves the right to request a medical certification from the health care provider. Forms for this purpose will be provided to the employee by the Human Resource Office. All certifications must be returned to the Human Resource Office within 15 calendar days of the University's request.
- The University, through the Human Resource Office, may require a second opinion at the University's expense. If the medical opinions conflict, a third opinion may be obtained from a health care provider jointly approved by the employee and the University through the Human Resource Office at the University's expense.
- The University may require subsequent recertification on a reasonable basis. The University may periodically require the employee to report on his/her status or intent to return to work.
Return from Leave
- If an employee plans to return on a date other than the date specified in the original request for leave, he/she must notify his/her supervisor as soon as the change of circumstances become known. The employee must provide reasonable notice (i.e., at least two business days). A return to work release from the employee's physician will be required where the leave has been because of an employee's own serious medical health condition.
- Except for those employees designated as "key employees," employees will be returned to the same or to an equivalent position upon their return from leave.
Failure to Return from Leave
- The failure of an employee to return to work upon the expiration of the family and medical leave will result in a loss of protection under the FMLA and may subject the employee to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, unless an extension is granted.
- If the need for a leave continues beyond the twelve (12) week period, the employee will revert to being covered by the University's general leave policies. A separate request must be made to extend the leave under the general leave policies.
If you have any questions concerning this notice or your rights and obligations under the FMLA, please contact the Human Resources Office, (989) 964-4126 or (989) 964-7100.