(Approved by the Vice President for Human Resources by authority of Executive Order 9)
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).
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For additional information see the following resources:
May 1998; September 10, 2008.