FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS FMLA?
The Family Medical Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a federal law that provides job protected leave to eligible employees, both male and female; in order to care for their families or themselves for specified family and medical conditions. FMLA will be granted for any of the following reasons:
- To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption, or foster care;
- To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition; or
- For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job.
FMLA was amended in 2008 and now permits a spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who 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.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO TAKE FMLA?
To be eligible, an employee must have worked for the Centennial School District at least 12 months and at least 1,250 hours within a 12-month period before the leave begins.
HOW DO I TAKE FMLA LEAVE?
Complete a “Request for Leave”, FMLA Employee Request Form
You also will need to print out the following form(s):
This Certification of Physician or Practitioner needs to be filled out by your doctor regarding your illness and the need for leave.
*If you are in the Military and going on active duty, a copy of your official orders will be sufficient when you fill out the “Request for Extended Leave”.
After the “Request for an Extended Leave” form is completed, it must be sent to the Human Resources Department.
DO I NEED A DOCTOR’S NOTE WHILE ON FMLA?
You are required to produce medical certification to support a request for leave due to a serious health condition. This must be received by the Human Resources Department within 15 days of the start of such leave.
DO I HAVE TO REQUEST FMLA?
You should always ask if you are eligible.
ARE FAMILY MEMBERS COVERED BY FMLA?
Please refer to answer number 1.
HOW MUCH FMLA CAN I USE?
You may take a maximum of 12 weeks. If a husband and wife both work for the Centennial School District, the combined leave shall not exceed the 12 week period when the leave is taken for the birth or placement of a child or to care for a parent with a serious health condition.
DO I GET PAID WHILE ON FMLA?
The School District will pay any accrued local and/or state leave.
DO I GET TO KEEP MY BENEFITS WHILE ON FMLA?
Yes, but you must continue to pay your portion of the premiums during the paid portion of FMLA. The district will continue to pay the district’s share of your premiums. The first day of the month immediately following your un-paid leave of absence you will be required to pay your portion and the district’s portion of the premiums until you return to work.
WHO PAYS MY PORTION OF MY BENEFITS WHILE I’M ON FMLA?
IF I ONLY WORK 10 MONTHS A YEAR, HOW DOES THE SUMMER AFFECT MY FMLA LEAVE?
The summer does not count toward your FMLA.
DO I HAVE TO TAKE ALL 12 WEEKS AT THE SAME TIME?
Employees may not take intermittent or reduced leave in the case of the birth or placement of a child, unless the Superintendent or designee agrees. In the case of serious health conditions, leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary. Employees are expected to make a reasonable effort to schedule intermittent leave so that it does not disrupt the operation of the school system or assigned location.
DOES MY EMPLOYER HAVE TO GIVE ME MY SAME JOB BACK WHEN I RETURN?
Upon return from FMLA you will resume your original position, or have an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.
HOW MANY TIMES CAN I TAKE FMLA?
The maximum amount of time you may take is 12 weeks in a 12 month period. The 12 month period begins the first day of your duty for the school calendar year.
DO I HAVE TO USE MY LOCAL & STATE DAYS BEFORE I GO ON FMLA?
If you have accumulated leave available, it must be used when you go on FMLA.
DO HOLIDAYS AND SCHOOL VACATIONS COUNT TOWARD MY 12 WEEKS?
Schools, like other employers, can only count leave time as FMLA leave when the employee would be otherwise working. For example, teachers typically are not required to work during the spring, summer, and winter breaks. Thus, if the employee took FMLA leave before one of these breaks, the period of the break does not count as FMLA leave weeks for that employee.
Example: Teacher takes FMLA commencing December 1. The full week of winter break would not be counted as FMLA.
Since clerical, maintenance, security, and some administrative employees are required to work some or all of the periods of summer, winter, and spring breaks, these weeks would be counted as FMLA leave for those employees. Weeks in which the school is open for a portion of the week, such as Thanksgiving week and President's Day week, would be counted toward FMLA leave for all employees.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T RETURN AFTER FMLA?
Employees who do not return to work upon expiration of a leave will be treated as having voluntarily terminated their employment. Every effort will be made to determine the employee’s status, however, when no contact or notification is made, disciplinary action will be taken.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT FMLA?
Visit the website https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/benefits-leave/fmla (FMLA) or contact Theressa Burns in the Human Resources Department or (806) 293-6000 Ext: 134
Married Employees Who Work for the Same Employer
Another rule that often applies in the school setting applies when two eligible employees are married and work for the same employer. When the reason triggering the need for leave is for the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, or to care for the employee's parent with a serious health condition, such leave can be limited to a combined total of 12 workweeks (provided, however, that a combined total of 26 weeks applies if caring for a covered service member with a serious illness).
But this limitation does not apply, if leave is taken by either spouse to care for the other spouse, or leave taken to care for a child or the employee's own serious health condition.