Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Definitions

  • FMLA is a federal law that provides job security (so long as that job still exists) and continuation of health coverage for a period of 12 weeks each fiscal year, under certain circumstances related to serious health conditions. Notification of leave is required.
  • Under some circumstances, employees may take FMLA leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis. ‘Intermittent’ leave refers to when employees are out individual days or have a reduction in hours each workday or week. Intermittent leave is tracked by number of hours (480 hours is equivalent to 12 weeks). Supervisors are responsible for tracking intermittent leave manually; intermittent leave cannot be entered in PeopleSoft. Although the absences can be tracked through employees self-reporting through MyU.
  • If a situation meets all eligibility for FMLA, an employee cannot waive it. All employee groups need to be FMLA compliant.

Eligibility

  • An eligible employee needs to have worked for the University of Minnesota for at least 12 months. The 12 months do not have to be consecutive but must meet further eligibility requirements. A minimum of 1,250 hours of service is required during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave.
  • Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave every fiscal year.
  • Ineligible employees can still obtain approval for leave.
  • If an employee is unable to return to work after the 12 weeks is exhausted, there are other leaves that may be granted. In some cases, disability law might be involved. Contact your HR Consultant in the event this occurs.

Time and tracking

  • FMLA is tracked by weeks (regardless of holidays or percent time) or hours (if intermittent).
  • FMLA paperwork should be initiated when an employee is out for 3 consecutive days for the same condition. Entry into PeopleSoft occurs after 10 days. FMLA time runs concurrently with any paid time off that might apply.
  • If the employee is out due to a qualifying health condition, they must use all available sick time.
  • If the employee is out due to a family member’s qualifying health condition, the various governing documents address how much, if any, paid sick time can be used in different situations.
  • Vacation time must be used for all employee groups once applicable sick time is exhausted. Employees may choose to reserve up to 10 days of accrued vacation.

Common false assumptions about FMLA

  • FMLA does not provide for pay. There is often the difficult truth that some FMLA time could be unpaid depending on policy and individual leave balances.
  • Employees, and health care providers, often assume FMLA eligibility.
  • has job protection for 12 weeks so long as your job still exists.

Important things to remember

  • Each employee’s situation is different and must be carefully thought through, considering the applicable governing contract and the specific facts involved.
  • Yes, it’s often difficult to adjust to the work needs of the area when someone is on FMLA and/or disability law is involved. Good management is important.
  • Remember to enter FMLA leave(s) into MyU and/or PeopleSoft.