The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12 month period if certain conditions are met. The Employee is not permitted to waive their right of FMLA benefits.
Qualifying Reasons for FMLA Leave:
- Father’s attendance at the birth of a child.
- Parent’s care of newborn child, if within 12 months following the birth.
- Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care, if within 12 months after the date of placement.
- To care for a family member including the employee’s spouse, child (under 18 or disabled), domestic partner, or parent of the employee who has a serious health condition.
- Employee’s own serious health condition which makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job.
- To care for a family member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves if the employee is a spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of the member and if the member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness as defined by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 and the Family Medical Leave Act.
- Any qualifying exigency, as defined under 29 C.F.R. 8.126, arising out of the fact that the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces in support of a war or similar combat operation. A qualifying exigency falls into one of the following seven general categories: (1) Short-notice deployment, (2) Military events and related activities, (3) Childcare and school activities, (4) Financial and legal arrangements, (5) Counseling, (6) Rest and recuperation, (7) Post-deployment activities, and (8) Additional activities. 29 C.F.R. 8.126
Length of Leave and definition of 12 Month Period: An eligible employee is anyone who has worked for the City of Littleton for at least 12 months and has worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months preceding the commencement of the first day of FMLA leave. Eligible employees shall be granted a total of up to 12 weeks leave or 26 weeks in the case of active duty leave or to care for a covered service member as defined by the Family Medical Leave Act.
The City will use a rolling 12 month period to track FMLA usage. The rolling period is to be measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA. Each time an employee uses FMLA leave, the remaining entitlement is any balance of the 12 weeks which has not been used during the previous 12 months or 26 weeks in the case of active duty leave or to care for a covered service member as defined by the Family Medical Leave Act.
The 12 months need not be consecutive. Therefore, temporary and rehired employees may qualify.
In the case of leave for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a parent and cases other than the employee’s own serious health condition, if both spouses are City employees, their combined leave may be limited to 12 weeks.
In the case of leave to care for a service member in the military as defined under the Family and Medical Leave Act, if both spouses are City employees, their combined leave may be limited to 26 weeks during a single 12-month period.
Notice & Scheduling Requirements: The employee and supervisor shall notify the HR Division when the employee misses one workweek to determine eligibility for FMLA leave. (A workweek is defined as five consecutive workdays for most employees, as three shifts for 24-hour shift employees, and four shifts for employees on 10 hour shifts.)
When the necessity for the leave is foreseeable (e.g. birth, adoption, planned medical treatment, etc.), an employee must notify his/her department supervisor of the request for leave at least 30 days in advance. But in any case, notice is required as soon as practical, usually within two days of the event. Upon being informed of the need for a leave, supervisors shall notify the Human Resources Benefits Manager. The employee also must make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment(s) so as not to unduly disrupt City operations.
For leave relating to active duty of a spouse, son, daughter or parent, the employee must provide a certification showing that the service member is on active duty or has been called or ordered to active duty.
Medical Certification and Reporting Requirements: The employee must supply Certification in a timely manner (generally within 15 days) of a serious health condition, issued by the treating healthcare provider.
- If the leave stems from an employee’s medical condition, the medical certification must specify medical facts supporting the existence of a serious health condition and that the employee is unable to perform his/her essential job duties because of the health condition.
- For leaves stemming from the medical condition of a family member (including a family member in the Armed Forces), the medical certification must specify that the employee is needed to care for the family member and specify medical facts which support the existence of a serious health condition.
- Employees who fail to provide a medical certification in a timely manner (within 15 days after the request for leave is made) may be denied leave.
- If the City determines that a medical certification is incomplete or insufficient, the City will specify in writing the additional necessary information and the employee will have 7 days to correct the problem.
- The City will seek annual certifications for long term conditions.
- The City may require a fitness for duty or return to work certification addressing the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job.
- Documentation confirming family relationship, adoption or foster care may also be required.
- The City may require subsequent recertification, and the employee may also need to provide periodic updates on his/her status and intent to return to work.
The City may require, at its own expense, a second opinion from a medical provider if the City has a reasonable question regarding the medical certification provided by the employee. If the second opinion conflicts with the first, the City may pay for a third opinion, by a mutually selected provider. Failure to provide notification and appropriate medical certification in a timely basis may result in delayed approval or denial of leave. Continued absence after the denial of leave may result in disciplinary action.
Payments During Leave: Employees must use any accrued sick, vacation, floating holiday, compensatory time, and injury leave, if applicable, at the beginning of the leave. Use of accrued leave does not extend the leave period. If an employee is collecting worker’s compensation or disability payments, they may use accrued time to supplement these payments up to a maximum of 100% of their regular base salary. An employee may retain 40 hours of vacation, if they choose to do so. While on paid family or medical leave, the employee shall continue to accumulate vacation, sick leave, and floating holiday. Leave benefits will not accrue during periods of unpaid leave.
Benefits During Leave: During any leave covered by FMLA, whether paid or unpaid, benefits will be continued in accordance with FMLA. During any paid leave time, the City will continue to pay its portion of the premiums for City-sponsored insurance and make its contributions to the City-sponsored retirement and/or deferred compensation plans. During any unpaid leave time, the City will maintain all insurance benefit plans the employee participated in at the time the leave began, provided that the employee continues to pay in advance his or her portion of the premiums, by the 1st day of each month. If the employee is able, but does not return to work after the expiration of the leave, the employee will be required to reimburse the City for payment of insurance premiums during the FMLA leave.
For positions which accrue seniority, seniority shall accrue during paid or unpaid portions of FMLA.
Restoration To Position: Upon returning from leave (except for certain “key employees”) an employee will be reinstated to the same or equivalent position subject to the rules of FMLA. Medical certification is required verifying the employee’s ability to return to work from medical leave.
“Key Employee” is defined as an employee among the highest paid ten percent of Littleton’s pay structure. A key employee may be denied job restoration if restoration will cause “substantial and grievous economic injury” to the City.
Reduced Work Schedule/Intermittent Leave
Intermittent or reduced schedule leave may be taken if medically for the care of a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition or for an employee’s own serious health condition. An intermittent or reduced schedule leave for birth and placement of a child is at the discretion of the City. The City may require a fitness for duty certification for intermittent leave if reasonable job safety concerns exist. Where a reduced schedule or intermittent leave is foreseeable based on planned treatment, the City may transfer an employee to another position that better accommodates this necessity. Revised December, 2008