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Family and Medical Leave Act

CONTENTS


UNDERSTAND

Leave Planning & Administration

This page describes the provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It does not address leave planning or leave administration. See also information about the state's Family Care Act.

Managers and Supervisors: See the Manager's FMLA and FCL website for information about leave administration, leave certification, etc.

Employees: For help with leave planning and other important information see:

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides job protected leave and benefits coverage entitlements to employees who meet FMLA eligibility requirements. The entitlements and eligibility requirements are described in the table below.

UW Family Member Definition

The FMLA has its own definition of "family member". For purposes of the FMLA, the University has adopted a common definition for "family member" that is more inclusive. The University's definition is as follows:

Family member means the employee's spouse or same or opposite sex domestic partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother. Family member also means individuals in the following relationships with the employee's spouse or domestic partner: child, parent, or grandparent. It also includes those persons in a “step” relationship.

FMLA Eligibility and Entitlements
Family and Medical Leave Act
FMLA Eligibility

Generally, a qualifying leave (see next section) will be covered by the FMLA if an employee has worked for the UW or the state of Washington at least 60% FTE for at least one year, and has not already used the annual 12 week FMLA leave entitlement.

More specifically, an employee is covered by the FMLA if he or she meets the following eligibility requirements:

  • Completion of 12-months of cumulative state service (or 52 weeks of work if the work is intermittent); and,
  • Worked for the state at least 1,250 hours*, including overtime, in the 12 months immediately preceding the date the FMLA leave will begin (Working for the "state" includes University employment.). Paid and unpaid leave is not counted as part of the 1,250 hours*; except for military leave, and,
  • Has not already used the current year's 12 week FMLA leave entitlement.

*Hours worked are not counted for overtime exempt professional staff and for excepted classified staff (indicated by "NO" designation in overtime column in the compensation plan). These employees are automatically considered to have worked 1,250 hours unless the work records clearly reflect otherwise (for example - a 50% FTE employee will normally not have worked 1,250 hours in a 12 month period).

Employee Leave Entitlements

The FMLA guarantees that an eligible employee can have job-protected time off work as follows:

A) Up to 12 workweeks of job-protected time off work per year because of:

  1. A serious health condition,
  2. A family member's serious health condition,
  3. Parental leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted or placed child. (NOTE: for birth mothers, any period of pregnancy-related temporary disability leave is not deducted from the 12 week parental leave entitlement).
  4. A qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee's family member is on covered active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty) in the regular Armed Forces Reserves or National Guard.

and/or

B) If the employee is an eligible family member or next of kin of a covered service member, the employee can have up to 26 workweeks of "Service Member Family Leave" during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member who is:

  • Undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy,
  • Otherwise in outpatient status, or
  • On the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness
    OR
  • To care for veteran who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy for serious injury or illness that occurred any time during the five years preceding the date of treatment.

If FMLA covered leave is taken under A and B above, the combination of leave taken may not exceed 26 workweeks in a single 12-month period. The amount of leave taken under A may never exceed 12 weeks during the single 12-month period, even if the employee takes fewer than 14 weeks of FMLA leave under B. Where medically necessary, leave may be taken on an intermittent basis or as a reduced work schedule

Husband and Wife: The combined number of workweeks of leave to which both husband and wife may be entitled under "A4" and "B" above may be limited to a combined total of 26 workweeks during the single 12-month period.

Employee Notice and Certification Requirements

Employees are expected to give at least 30 days notice of the need for leave, where the need for leave is foreseeable; or,

For leave under A4 in the preceding row of this table, when the need for leave is not foreseeable, the employee must provide notice as soon as both possible and practical.

Employers may require certification of the reason for taking FMLA covered leave. Contact your Human Resources Consultant for assistance.

Use of Paid Leave

Employees can use eligible paid leave, compensatory time, or a personal holiday while on FMLA leave.

Use of donated shared leave is normally covered by the FMLA, as long as the employee meets both the FMLA and shared leave eligibility criteria.

Intermittent Leave or Working a Reduced Schedule

The FMLA guarantees an employee the right to take FMLA covered leave intermittently or as part of a reduced work schedule when medically necessary.

For parental leave, the supervisor may require that leave be taken in one continuous period of time away from work. Under state law, a birth mother's period of temporary pregnancy-related disability is not deducted from the 12-week FMLA leave entitlement.

Unpaid Leave

Under the FMLA, the employee is guaranteed time away from work. However, if the employee does not have available paid leave, the time off is taken as leave without pay.

Benefits Entitlements

During a leave covered by the FMLA, the UW pays the employer-paid portion of medical benefits coverage for up to 12 workweeks or up to 26 workweeks for "B" in "Employee Leave Entitlements" above. The employee is responsible for any insurance co-payments, extra premiums to cover family members, life insurance, long term disability insurance, parking fees, or other payroll deductions.

For employees whose leave extends beyond the FMLA-covered period, employer paid medical benefits coverage is continued as long as the employee is in pay status for at least eight (8) hours during each month of leave. Employees who do not have available paid leave may self-pay in order to continue basic medical benefits coverage.

Return to Work Rights

The FMLA entitles an employee to return to the position held prior to the leave, or to a position that is virtually identical (i.e. job title, work location, salary, work hours etc.).

FMLA Update — Q&A's

  1. What is the FMLA?

    The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of job-protected time off work per 12-month period for qualifying medical and family reasons. If an employee receives employer-provided health insurance, the health insurance coverage must continue while the employee is on FMLA-covered leave. While FMLA leave itself is unpaid, employees who have paid leave available may choose or be required to use their paid leave while on FMLA leave.

  2. Does the FMLA have special provisions for the families or next of kin of service members, including retired service members, who are seriously ill or injured in relation to their military service?

    Yes. Eligible employees who are a family member or next of kin of a covered service member may have up to 26 workweeks of "Service Member Family Leave" during a single 12-month period to care for a service member or veteran as specified in FMLA regulations.

  3. Who is eligible for FMLA Leave?

    In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, a UW employee must have at least 12 months of cumulative state service, and have worked for the state at least 1250 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding the date FMLA leave would begin. Washington state employment includes University of Washington employment.

  4. How does the UW determine the amount of FMLA leave available to an employee?

    Except for certain types of military caregiver leave, the UW uses a rolling 12-month period to track FMLA leave availability and use.

    The rolling 12-month period measures FMLA leave availability by "looking backward" from the date an employee requests to begin FMLA leave, adding up any FMLA leave used in the previous 12 months, and subtracting that amount from the employee's 12 workweek FMLA leave entitlement to calculate the FMLA leave available to an employee.

    See the FMLA example infographic © (pdf) for a detailed illustration of how the rolling 12-month period is used to determine employee FMLA leave availability.

  5. Who can I talk to if I have questions FMLA leave?

    For questions about an existing FMLA leave or the change in FMLA leave tracking you can contact the HR Operations unit that serves your unit.

    Campus HR Operations
    206-543-2354 (v)
    Roosevelt Commons West, 2nd Floor
    Box 354963
    4300 Roosevelt Way NE
    Seattle, WA 98105-4963

    Harborview Medical Center
    Employee Relations
    206-744-9220 (v)
    Pat Steel Building
    401 Broadway, Suite 2100 (street)
    325 Ninth Ave (mailing)
    Box 359715

    UW Medical Center
    Employee Relations
    206-598-6116 (v)
    BB150 UWMC
    Box 356054

WHAT IS FMLA?

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of job-protected time off work per 12-month period for qualifying medical and family reasons. If an employee receives employer-provided health insurance, the health insurance coverage must continue while the employee is on FMLA-covered leave. While FMLA leave itself is unpaid, employees who have paid leave available may choose or be required to use their paid leave while on FMLA leave. Complete information about the FMLA are on the FMLA home page.

Using the Rolling 12-month Period to Determine FMLA Leave Availability

The rolling 12-month period measures FMLA leave availability by "looking backward" in time from the date an employee requests to begin FMLA leave, adding up any FMLA leave used in the previous 12 months, and subtracting that amount from the employee's 12 workweek FMLA leave entitlement to calculate the FMLA leave available to an employee.

This illustration shows that an employee did not use any FMLA leave in January, February, or March of 2015. The Employee then used 4 weeks of FMLA leave in April and 3 weeks in May of 2015 for a total of 7 weeks used or the 12 weeks of FMLA leave available. No FMLA leave was used after May of 2015. The Illustration then shows that this employee had 5 weeks of FMLA leave available until April 2016. Beginning in April the days of FMLA leave that were used in the previous April and May of 2015 are added back, day by day, to the employees leave entitlement. After the third week in May 2016 the employee has 12 weeks of FMLA leave available.