Purposes of the FMLA
The FMLA allows employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. The FMLA seeks to accomplish these purposes in a manner that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers, and minimizes the potential for employment discrimination on the basis of gender, while promoting equal employment opportunity for men and women.
To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must:
A covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:
Leave to care for a newborn child or for a newly placed child must conclude within 12 months after the birth or placement.
Intermittent/Reduced Schedule Leave - The FMLA permits employees to take leave on an intermittent basis or to work a reduced schedule under certain circumstances.
Only the amount of leave actually taken while on intermittent/reduced schedule leave may be charged as FMLA leave. Employees may not be required to take more FMLA leave than necessary to address the circumstances that cause the need for leave.
Employees needing intermittent/reduced schedule leave for foreseeable medical treatment must work with their agency to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt the agency’s operations, subject to the approval of the employee's health care provider. In such cases, the agency may transfer the employee temporarily to an alternative job with equivalent pay and benefits that accommodates recurring periods of leave better than the employee's regular job.
Substitution of Paid Leave – Each employee shall use all accrued sick leave and vacation leave prior to the use of leave without pay for all leave that meets FMLA criteria.
Medical Certification – The appointing authority may require that the need for leave for a serious health condition of the employee or the employee's immediate family member be supported by a medical certification issued by a health care provider. The employee shall be given a written notice of the requirement. Employees shall be allowed at least 15 calendar days to provide the requested medical certification.
Maintenance of Health Benefits
Each agency shall maintain the employee’s group health insurance coverage under the same conditions and with the same agency contributions as provided when no leave is taken.
Premiums will continue to be payroll deducted for as long as the employee continues to receive a paycheck which is sufficient to take the GHI deduction. When the payroll deduction is no longer taken, the employee is responsible for remitting the amount due to the agency. The agency will bill the employee at their home address for premium not deducted from the paycheck.
An agency’s obligation to maintain health benefits under FMLA stops if and when an employee informs the employer of an intent not to return to work at the end of the leave period, or if the employee fails to return to work when the FMLA leave entitlement is exhausted. The employer's obligation also stops if the employee's premium payment is more than 30 days late and the employer has given the employee written notice at least 15 days in advance advising that coverage will cease if payment is not received.
In some circumstances, the employer may recover premiums it paid to maintain health insurance coverage for an employee who fails to return to work from FMLA leave.
Upon return from FMLA leave, an employee must be restored to his or her original job, or to an "equivalent" job, which means virtually identical to the original job in terms of pay, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions.
In addition, an employee's use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that the employee earned or was entitled to before using (but not necessarily during) FMLA leave.
Employee Notice - Eligible employees seeking to use FMLA leave may be required to provide:
FMLA - Certification of Health Care Provider (WH-380)
Return to Benefits