3.70 Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
To establish the parameters for employees taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The FMLA allows eligible employees to take job-protected leave for up to a total of 12 workweeks within a rolling 12-month period for the following reasons:
The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child;
The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care;
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 the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job; or
Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, child or parent is a military member on covered active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty status.
In addition, eligible employees who are the parent, child, spouse, or next of kin of a covered service member with a serious injury or illness may take job-protected leave for up to a total of 26 workweeks in a single 12-month period (calculated from the first date of the leave) to care for a covered service member.
Leave for the birth of and bonding with an employee’s child or to bond with a newly placed child with the employee via adoption or foster care must be completed within the 12-month period beginning on the date of the birth or placement.
Married couples in which both spouses are employed by the college may each take 12 weeks of leave per single 12-month period for a FMLA qualifying event (see the list above).
In certain cases, FMLA leave may be taken on an intermittent basis rather than all at once or the employee may work a part-time or reduced schedule, based on certified medical necessity. If FMLA leave is for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, use of intermittent or reduced schedule leave requires the employer’s approval.
Eligibility for FMLA Leave
To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must (1) have been employed by the college for at least 12 months in the past seven years (not necessarily consecutive months); and (2) have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12-month period.
An employee who wishes to request FMLA leave must notify his/her supervisor and/or the Office of Human Resources as early as possible. Except in an emergency situation, the employee must provide notice of the need for FMLA leave at least thirty (30) days in advance of the requested leave start date. If the leave is not foreseeable, the employee must provide OTC as much notice as possible under the circumstances. Failure to provide timely notice of the need for FMLA leave may result in a delay in such leave being granted.
Forms & Certification
The employee will be requested to complete FMLA leave forms. If the employee’s leave is because of a serious health condition of the employee or the employee’s family member or to care for a covered service member who is a parent, child, spouse or next of kin, the employee must submit the DOL prescribed Certification of Health Care Provider form evidencing the serious health condition. Failure to provide such certification upon request may result in denial or delay of leave. Employees should make every effort to provide the required certification within 15 calendar days from the date requested.
Pay and Benefits During Leave
Employees are required to use accrued sick hours during FMLA leave and may use accrued vacation time. When all paid leave has been used, the remainder of the FMLA leave is unpaid. Employees who are on unpaid FMLA leave on a day that is a recognized college holiday or on other closure days announced throughout the year will not be paid for that holiday/closures. During the annual college closure for winter break, employees that are on paid or unpaid FMLA leave will not have this closure time counted towards their FMLA allotment.
While on FMLA leave the employee’s health care benefits will continue as if the employee is actively employed (i.e., the college will pay up to 100% of the full-time employee premium and the employee will pay 100% of the monthly premium for dependent coverages) up to a maximum of 12 weeks. Payment of dependent insurance coverage premiums must be made by the 26th day of the month previous to the month to be covered. Failure to pay insurance premiums by the due date could result in loss of coverage.
Upon return from FMLA leave, employees will be returned to the same or an equivalent position. Employees who do not return to work at the end of an authorized leave will be considered to have voluntarily resigned and may be subject to termination. An employee’s rights to guaranteed reinstatement terminate after they exhaust their 12 weeks of FMLA leave.
Non-Discrimination and Anti-Retaliation
OTC will not use any protected leave as a negative factor in any employment decision or discharge, discriminate, or otherwise retaliate against any employee because of that employee’s use of FMLA leave, opposition of any practice made unlawful by the FMLA, or involvement in any proceeding under or relating to FMLA. In addition, OTC will not illegally interfere with, restrain, or deny any employee’s right to exercise his/her FMLA rights. Employees who believe OTC has interfered with their rights or otherwise discriminated against them in violation of the FMLA should report the issue to his/her supervisor or the College Director of Human Resources.
Absence for Employees with a Serious Health Condition in their First Year of Employment
A full-time employee in good standing (i.e., no discipline in file) who is in his/her first year of employment with the college (and thus is not typically eligible for FMLA leave) who experiences a serious health condition may request time off. The employee must submit a written medical certification form from a health care provider evidencing the serious health condition. Employees are required to use accrued sick hours for this absence and may use accrued vacation time. When all accrued hours have been used, the remainder of the absence is unpaid. Employees who are on an unpaid absence described in this section on a day that is a recognized college holiday or on other closure days announced throughout the year will not be paid for that holiday/closures. Such absence, if granted, does not entitle the employee to any rights under the FMLA and will have no effect on the employee’s eligibility for FMLA leave in the future.
A “serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either of the following:
- Inpatient care (overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care; or
Continuing treatment by a health care provider involving:
- Incapacity and treatment. Any period of incapacity that requires absence of more than three calendar days and subsequent treatment in connection with such incapacity, that also involves two or more treatments by, under the direction of, or on referral from a healthcare provider. The two treatments by a healthcare provider must occur in-person within 30 days of the first day of incapacity (unless extenuating circumstances exist), and the first in-person treatment must take place within seven days of incapacity.
Any period of incapacity that requires absence of more than three calendar days and treatment by a healthcare provider on at least one occasion that results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the direction of a healthcare provider. The first treatment must occur in-person within 7 days of the first day of incapacity;
- Prenatal care or pregnancy. Prenatal care or any period of incapacity due to pregnancy (this includes prenatal medical appointments, incapacity due to morning sickness, and medically required bed rest);
- Chronic health condition. Any period of incapacity or treatment for such incapacity due to a chronic serious health condition, which is one that requires periodic treatment (at least two visits for treatment each year) by or under the direction of a health care provider, continues over an extended period of time, and may cause episodic (rather than a continuing pattern) of incapacity (for example, diabetes);
- Long-term care. Any period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective, where the patient is under the continuing supervision of a health care provider; or
- Multiple Treatments. Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery therefrom) by a health care provider or under orders of or referral from a health care provider, either for restorative surgery after an injury or accident, or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment (for example, cancer).
A covered service member is a member of the Armed Forces (and certain veterans) undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, in outpatient status, or on the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness. A serious injury or illness in the case of a member of the Armed Forces means an injury or illness incurred or exacerbated in the line of duty during active service in the Armed Forces that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank, or rating.
Qualifying exigency may include:
- Short-Notice Deployment. Up to seven (7) days of leave may be taken when a family member receives notice of seven days or less of an impending call or order to active duty.
- Military Events and Related Activities. Leave may be taken to attend official ceremonies, programs, or events sponsored by the military and relating to the call to active duty. Leave also may be taken to attend support or assistance programs or informational briefings sponsored by the military, a military service organization, or the Red Cross, provided that the briefings or programs are related to the call to active duty.
- Childcare and School Activities. Leave may be taken to arrange for alternative child care necessitated by the call to active duty or to provide urgent or immediate care on a short-term basis to the child of a covered member of the military. Leave also may be taken to attend school or daycare meetings or conferences concerning a child of a covered member of the military.
- Care of a Military Member’s Parent. Leave may be taken for certain activities arising from the military member’s covered active duty related to care of the military member’s parent who is incapable of self-care, such as arranging for alternative care, providing care on a non-routine, urgent, immediate need basis, admitting or transferring a parent to a new care facility, and attending certain meetings with staff at a care facility, such as meetings with hospice or social service providers.
- Financial and Legal Arrangements. Leave may be taken to make legal or financial arrangements relating to the call to active service, including situations in which the Associate acts as the representative of a covered member of the military.
- Counseling. Leave is available to attend counseling which is directly related to and arising from the call to active duty.
- Temporary Rest and Recuperation. Up to 15 calendar days of leave is available to be with a covered military member who is on a short-term, temporary leave for purposes of rest and recuperation. The Associate’s leave for this reason must be taken while the military member is on Rest and Recuperation leave.
- Post-Deployment Activities. Leave is available for activities relating to the termination of active duty status. These activities include reintegration briefings and events, official ceremonies or programs scheduled by the military during the first 90 days following the termination of active status.
- Other Activities Related to Active Duty. Leave may be available for additional purposes provided the leave is related to the active duty of a covered military member.
This policy and these procedures are maintained under the authority of chief human resources officer.
F. Related Policies
Policy approved and adopted by the board of trustees on 2/12/01; revised on 3/13/06, 7/9/07, 10/14/19.
Purpose, procedures, and definitions approved and adopted by the chancellor’s cabinet on 2/12/01; revised on 3/13/06, 7/9/07, 10/1/19, and 04/19/22.
Set for review in fiscal year 2025-2026.