Family & Medical Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles you to take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons, and continue group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if you had not taken leave.
You are eligible for FMLA if you are an active employee and meet the following requirements:
- You have been employed by the state or the University in a regular position for at least 12 months within the last seven years, and
- You have worked for the state or the University for at least 1,250 hours within the 12 month period immediately preceding the qualifying event (qualifying events are explained in the next section).
Events that may qualify you for the use of FMLA include:
- Birth and care of a newborn child
- Placement of a child through adoption or foster care
- Serious illness or injury rendering you unable to perform the duties of your job
- Care for a family member (parent, spouse, son, or daughter under 18, or over 18 if qualifying) with a serious illness or injury
- A qualifying exigency occurs while your spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on active duty or called to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation to manage the service member’s affairs
- Care for a covered service member, who you have a qualified family relationship with, who has suffered a serious injury or illness in the line of duty or had an injury or illness that existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty while on active duty
Notification of Potential Need of FMLA Leave
If you meet the eligibility criteria outlined above and you need to request FMLA leave, you should notify Human Resource Management at least 30 days prior to the qualifying event (if possible) by email at email@example.com or by phone at 785-864-4946. When notifying HRM, you should always provide the following information:
- Employee ID number
- Your first day of FMLA leave
If providing a 30 day notice is not possible, you should notify HRM as soon as possible and HRM will provide you with the appropriate form(s) described below.
You can also notify your departmental Personnel Related Staff Member (PRS) or your Shared Service Center (SSC) representative of a possible FMLA leave event after you have been absent more than three full consecutive days. Additionally, it is the responsibility of the supervisor to notify HRM if an employee has been absent for three or more days due to their own or a family member's serious heath condition.
Each employee eligible for FMLA coverage is entitled to 12 work weeks of paid or unpaid leave during any 12 month period, beginning the first day leave is taken. If spouses are both KU employee and eligible for FMLA leave coverage, each employee is entitled to up to 12 work weeks of such leave based on qualifying FMLA conditions. During an employee’s approved FMLA period, the employee is required to exhaust all paid leave balances before going onto FMLA leave without pay status.
The University of Kansas establishes the 12 month period by using a fixed 12 month measurement period. The fixed 12 month measurement period begins the first day an employee is approved for FMLA during the career at the University, even if multiple FMLA leaves are subsequently approved.
As an example, if Joe was approved for FMLA for the very first time on April 3, 2009, then his 12 month measurement period begins on April 3 and he is eligible for 12 weeks of FMLA coverage April 3, 2009, through April 2, 2010. If Joe does not need FMLA again until February 2, 2018, his 12 month measurement period still begins on April 3. Specifically, he is eligible for 12 weeks of FMLA leave beginning February 2, 2018, as none was used since his 12 month measurement period began on April 3, 2017, and then on April 3, 2018, his FMLA measurement period starts over and he would again be eligible for 12 weeks of FMLA, assuming all other criteria were met.
Upon receiving your notification, HRM will provide you with a letter notifying you of your eligibility and if you are eligible, the letter will state your eligibility and notify you of your rights and responsibilities under the FMLA. THe letter will also include one of the following forms that you and/or your health care provider (or family member's health care provider) will be required to complete depending on the nature of your request:
- Employee’s Serious Health Condition - Certification of Health Care Provider: Certification form to be completed by you and your healthcare provider to support a request for FMLA to treat a serious health condition that you are experiencing.
- Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition: Certification form to be completed by you and the patient’s healthcare provider to support a request for FMLA leave to care for a covered family member with a serious health condition. Note: Please be as complete and as specific as possible when completing the section titled “Describe care you will provide to your family member and estimate leave needed to provide care.” HRM will make the designations based off of the information that the healthcare provider includes on pages 2, 3, and 4.
- Certification of Qualifying Exigency (Military Family Leave): Certification form to be completed by you to support a request for FMLA leave due to a qualifying exigency related to a family member who is called to active duty by the U.S. Military.
- Illness of Covered Service Member Certification for Serious Injury: Certification form to be completed by you and an authorized healthcare provider to support a request for FMLA leave due to a serious injury or illness of a covered service member.
After completing the necessary form, you should return it and any required documentation within 15 calendar days of your first day of absence by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 785-864-5790. Failure to return a completed form may cause delay or denial of your FMLA coverage.
Determining Your Eligibility
Within five business days of receiving your completed documentation, HRM will review the materials provided and determine if the condition qualifies you for coverage under FMLA. You will receive a letter stating your FMLA designation and explaining the outcome of the review. A copy of the FMLA designation will also be sent to your department’s PRS, or SSC contact, and your supervisor.
Recording Time while on FMLA
- During your assigned FMLA period, you are required to exhaust all paid leave balances before going into a FMLA leave without pay status. Paid and unpaid leave taken for an FMLA approved condition will be FMLA protected and counted against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement.
- While you are on FMLA, you should accurately report your leave hours and you should not exceed the total number of hours approved under FMLA without prior approval from HRM.
- FMLA leave should be documented in 15 minute increments for both exempt and non-exempt employees.
Employee's Responsibility while on FMLA
- You must follow prescribed leave reporting procedures to include notifying your supervisor of an intention to be absent or late
- When reporting FMLA absences, you should inform your direct supervisor that the absence is due to your FMLA designated medical condition.
- You must accurately submit absence requests and/or Leave Without Pay in the HR/Pay system. If you are unable to submit absence requests and/or Leave Without Pay, you should make arrangements with your supervisor/department for submission on your behalf. Refer to the FMLA Absence Request Guidance or review the links below for more details:
- You must work with your health care provider to obtain a statement releasing you to return to work prior to your first day back at work following your FMLA leave. See more information below regarding returning to work.
Returning to Work
Once you complete your FMLA leave and are ready to return to work, you will need to present to HRM a "fitness-for-duty statement", a statement in writing from the health care provider stating the date that you can return to work and stating any work restrictions. You may optionally have your health care provider complete the Return to Work Authorization form. Your ability to return to work may be delayed until the necessary documentation is received. Excessive delay or continued failure to produce such documentation may result in disciplinary action.
If You Are Unable to Return to Work After the FMLA Period Expires
If additional time is medically required and you will not be able to return to work, you will need to notify HRM or your supervisor before your approved FMLA period expires. HRM will work with the appropriate unit to determine additional leave will be approved and if it will be in the best interest of the University.
You will receive notification in writing regarding the decision and will be contacted regarding any related benefits impact. If you will not be returning to work after the designated FMLA period, you should immediately notify your department PRS or SSC staff member. Additional medical information may be requested from you if additional leave is required beyond the 12 eligible weeks of FMLA.
FMLA Document Retention
Your FMLA documents are considered confidential and will be filed separately from personnel records. HRM is required to retain your FMLA documentation in a secure location for a period of five years from the date of your FMLA approval.