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FMLA & Family Care Act (FCA)
Family Member Health Condition Leave Request Processing

Step 1 - Determine whether the FMLA and/or the FCA apply to the leave.

  1. Yes No - Is the family member the employee's spouse or same or opposite sex domestic partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother, or an individual in one of the following relationships with the employee's spouse or domestic partner: child, parent, or grandparent, and those persons in a “step” relationship?
  2. Yes No - Does the employee specifically state that a leave request is being made under the provisions of FMLA?
  3. Yes No - Does the employee indicate that he or she has a family member with a serious health condition?
  4. Yes No - Is the employee requesting an extended period of leave, intermittent leave, or a reduced work schedule related to a family member's health condition (three or more days)?
  5. Yes No - Is the leave request a continuation of a previous request that was determined to be covered by the FMLA?

*A parent under the FMLA and FCA means a birth, adoptive or foster parent, or a person who stood "in loco parentis." "In loco parentis" is a legal term meaning a person who acted as the employee's parent, as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle might if the person's natural parent was deceased or otherwise not available.

If the answer to question 1 is "No," or if the answer to question 1 is "Yes" but the answers to all of the remaining questions are "No," then the leave request does not fall under the provisions of the FMLA or the FCA. Handle the leave request in accordance with normal departmental leave approval and processing procedures.

If the answer to question 1 is "Yes," and the answer to any of the remaining questions is also "Yes," the leave request may be covered by the FMLA, and the FCA and is evaluated to determine the employee's leave entitlements and supervisor's response requirements. Proceed to Step 2.

Step 2 - Determine the employee's FMLA and/or FCA eligibility.

Determine whether the employee meets all of the FMLA eligibility criteria.

  1. Yes No - Has the employee worked for the State of Washington (including UW employment) for at least 12 months?
  2. Yes No - Has the employee worked a total of at least 1250 hours during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave request?
  3. Yes No - Does the employee have any of his/her entitlement to 12 weeks of FMLA protected leave during the current calendar year left? (Any leave taken during the current calendar year that has been designated in writing as FMLA leave, is deducted from the 12 week calendar year entitlement to determine the remaining amount of FMLA eligibility).
  4. Yes No - Does the employee have any accrued paid leave (sick leave, annual leave, comp time, personal holiday, or shared leave, if eligible)?

If the answer to any of questions 1-3 is "No," the employee's leave request is not covered by the FMLA because the FMLA eligibility threshold has not been met. The FMLA requires that the employer do two things when an employee requests leave that would otherwise be covered by the FMLA, but the employee does not meet FMLA eligibility criteria:

The supervisor should contact the unit's Human Resources Consultant (HRC) to discuss the employee's leave options. Complete the FMLA Notice as described in Step 4 below.

If the answers to questions 1-3 are "Yes," the employee's leave request may be covered by the FMLA. Proceed to Step 3.

If the employee's leave request is not covered by the FMLA, it may be covered the FCA if the answer to question 4 is "Yes." Proceed to Step 5.

Step 3 - Determine whether to request health care provider certification.

Family Care Leave

The family care act does not specify requirements or procedures for obtaining health care provider certification of the child or family member's condition. Health care provider certification may be requested in accordance with University practice by using the Family Care Act Health Care Provider Certification form.

Family and Medical Leave Act

The FMLA allows an employer to obtain health care provider certification of an employee's need for leave. If certification will not be required, then unless there is specific information to the contrary, the family member's condition is presumed to be covered by the FMLA. Proceed to Step 4.

If health care provider certification will be required, the the appropriate UW Family and Medical Leave Certification form must be used as it has been designed to comply with the requirements of the FMLA. Supervisors who wish to obtain health care provider certification should discuss the certification requirement with the unit's HRC. Download a copy of the Family and Medical Leave Certification of Health Care Provider form and proceed to Step 4. (Updated health care provider certifications can be requested as often as 30 days, if necessary).

Step 4 - Complete Employee Notification

The FMLA requires that certain information be provided to an employee when a leave request that may be covered by the FMLA is approved or denied.

  1. Prepare the FMLA Notice form letter which complies with the FMLA's employee notification requirements.
  2. Consider including the FMLA Notice Cover Letter which allows you to personalize the leave communication to your employee.
  3. Print the FMLA Information Summary.
  4. Deliver the FMLA Notice and the other documents to your employee within five business days of the employee's leave request, if possible.

Supervisors who have questions about completion of the FMLA Notice form letter should contact their unit's HRC. Proceed to Step 5.

Step 5 - Family Care Act (FCA)

If the employee has requested leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition or to care for a child with a condition that requires treatment or supervision, the Family Care Act mandates that the employee be allowed to use any or all of the employee's choice of available paid leave (including shared leave) to cover the period of absence required by the family member's health condition.

Under the FCA the employee must follow the employer's leave policies in requesting the use of paid leave. There is no special correspondence or documentation that the FCA requires. Proceed to Step 6.

Step 6 - Follow up

When an employee is within approximately two workweeks of the date he or she is to return to work from Family & Medical Leave and/or leave under the Family Care Act:

FMLA/FCA Topics