University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Coverage for Non-Academic Employees (Classified Non-Union, Contract-Classified, Professional Staff, Temporary, and Student Employees)

(Approved by the Vice President for Human Resources by authority of Executive Order 9)

1.  Purpose

This policy describes the circumstances and conditions under which the University will provide family and medical leave to its employees in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).

2.  Summary

Under the provisions of the FMLA, an eligible University employee is entitled to the following:

  a. FMLA Covered Leave Up to 12 Workweeks

    Up to 12 workweeks of leave per calendar year for any, or a combination of the following reasons:

  b. FMLA Covered Leave Up to 26 Workweeks

    Up to 26 workweeks of "Service Member Family Leave" for an eligible employee, who is a family member or next of kin to a covered service member who is:

  If FMLA covered leave is taken under Sections 2.a and 2.b above, the combination of leave taken may not exceed 26 workweeks in a single calendar year.

An employee may take FMLA leave intermittently or as part of a reduced work schedule when medically necessary because of an employee's own serious health condition, when the employee is needed to care for the employee's family member with a serious health condition, or as medically necessary when taking "Service Member Family Leave."

3.  Eligibility

To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must have a record of 12 months of cumulative state service and have worked for the state for at least 1,250 hours, including overtime, in the 12 months immediately preceding the date the FMLA leave will begin. (Note: The term "state service" includes University employment.) Paid and unpaid leave are not counted as part of the 1,250 hours.

4.  FMLA Definitions

  • Active duty means duty under a call or order to active duty under a provision of law referred to in section 101(a)(13)(B) of Title 10, United States Code.

  • Contingency operation means a military operation that:

    • Is designated by the Secretary of Defense as an operation in which members of the Armed Forces are or may become involved in military actions, operations, or hostilities against an enemy of the United States or against an opposing military force; or

    • Results in the call or order to, or retention on, active duty of members of the uniformed services under Section 688, 12301(a), 12302, 12304, 12305, or 12406 of Title 10, Chapter 15 of Title 10, Subtitle A, Part 1, or any other provision of law during a war or during a national emergency declared by the President or Congress.

  • Covered service member is 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.

  • 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.

  • Intermittent leave means leave taken in separate blocks of time due to a single illness or injury, rather than for one continuous period of time.

  • Next of kin, used with respect to an individual, means the nearest blood relative of that individual.

  • Outpatient status, with respect to a covered service member, means the status of a member of the Armed Forces assigned to:

    • A military medical treatment facility as an outpatient; or

    • A unit established for the purpose of providing command and control of members of the Armed Forces receiving medical care as outpatients.

  • Qualifying exigency—The Secretary of the US Department of Labor will issue rules defining a "qualifying exigency." Until then, employers should consider that the US Congress intends that FMLA-eligible family members be able to assist a covered service member who has been called to active duty in the Armed Forces. This might be for such activities as helping to arrange for or temporarily provide childcare, assisting with a family business, completing the sale of personal property, etc.

  • Reduced work schedule means a work schedule that reduces an employee's usual number of working hours per workweek, or hours per workday.

  • A serious health condition means an illness, injury, or impairment, or a physical or mental condition that requires inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider. Under the FMLA, any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or absence for the purpose of receiving prenatal care is identified as a serious health condition.

  • A serious injury or illness in the case of a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, means an injury or illness incurred in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member's office, grade, rank, or rating.

5.  General Leave Provisions

The FMLA leave entitlement is available to eligible employees each calendar year. There is no carryover of unused leave from one calendar year to the next.

The leave guaranteed by the FMLA is unpaid. Whether or not other paid leave is available to an employee depends on the nature of the absence, and whether the employee has paid leave that can be used. Employees who do not accrue paid leave (e.g., temporary and student employees), or employees who do not have paid leave available for the absence, are placed on leave without pay.

Washington State law requires that the parental leave entitlement provided by FMLA be in addition to any leave for sickness or temporary disability because of pregnancy or childbirth. Parental leave must be taken within 12 months of the child's birth or adoption, or placement into foster care with the employee.

Eligible employees may request intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule whenever medically necessary:

When the need for intermittent leave is foreseeable based on a planned medical treatment, the University may require the employee to temporarily transfer to an available alternative position which better accommodates the recurring periods of leave. The alternative job does not have to have equivalent duties, but it must be one for which the employee is qualified and equivalent pay and benefits must be provided. Intermittent leave is credited against the leave allowed per year by FMLA on a prorated basis.

Supervisors may not interfere with, deny, or otherwise restrict an employee's exercise of, or attempts to exercise, rights provided under the FMLA. An employee's use of FMLA leave may not be used as a factor in evaluating employee performance or in considering corrective action.

6.  Use of Paid Leave During Periods Covered by FMLA

Classified non-union, contract-classified, and professional staff employees may be eligible to use accrued paid leave for FMLA-covered absences, consistent with the terms of the applicable employment program (i.e., the Department of Personnel Rules, collective bargaining agreements, and the University's professional staff program, respectively). If an employee uses paid leave during FMLA-covered absences, the use of such leave runs concurrently with FMLA, and does not extend the length of the leave available, except that any absence covered by previously earned compensatory time may not be deducted from the employee's complete FMLA entitlement.

7.  Designation of FMLA Leave

The employer must designate paid and unpaid leave as covered by the FMLA at the time that the leave is approved. To the extent possible, within two days of learning that an employee's leave qualifies as FMLA leave, the supervisor will confirm with the employee in writing the date the FMLA leave commenced and the date the FMLA leave is expected to end.

Where leave is taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule basis, only the amount of leave actually taken may be deducted from the employee's FMLA leave entitlement. If an employee normally works a part-time schedule or variable hours, the amount of leave to which an employee is entitled is determined on a pro rata basis, by comparing the employee's newly reduced schedule with the employee's regular schedule.

8.  Certification of Need for FMLA Leave

a.   Health Care Provider Verification

The University may require verification of the reason for an employee's absence. All requests for health care provider verification should be coordinated through the unit's human resources operations office. All information about an employee's or employee's family member's medical condition is kept confidential in Human Resources and is not to be retained in the employing department.

b.   Additional Health Care Provider Opinions

The University may require employees to obtain a second opinion by a provider of the University's choice at its expense. If the first and second opinions conflict, the University may pay for a third and final health care provider to offer an opinion which shall determine the employee's FMLA-leave eligibility.

c.   Military Status

The University may require verification of a family member's call to active duty status or a family member's status as a covered service member who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; is otherwise in outpatient status; or who is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness. In the latter case, the same medical confidentiality provisions apply as in Section 8.a above.

9.  Notice Requirements

Employee requests for FMLA leave are made following the department's normal leave request procedure. The employee should notify the supervisor that FMLA leave is being requested. Whenever possible, employees are expected to give 30 days' notice of the need for FMLA leave.

10.  Health Insurance Coverage During Leave

During the leave, employees who already receive employer-paid basic insurance benefits have the benefits coverage continued at employer expense during the period of FMLA covered leave. Employees remain responsible for any optional insurance coverage, other payroll deductions, and insurance copayments.

11.  Return-to-Work Rights

Upon return from FMLA leave, the employee shall be restored to the position he or she held at the time the leave commenced, or restored to an equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

12.  Additional Information

For additional information see the following resources:

May 1998; September 10, 2008.