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Human Resources

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

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How FMLA Works

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees who work for covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons, with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

Eligible employees may to take up to 12 weeks of medical and or family leave within a 12 month period if

  • they have worked for TCU at least 12 months and
  • must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of FMLA leave.

What types of leave are covered by FMLA?

Eligible employees may take leave for one of the following family and medical reasons:

  • The birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; or
  • For any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.

Start Here:
Unum Total Leave - How to File a STD/FMLA Claim

The Employee Rights and Responsibilities pamphlet explains that eligible employees of covered employers have a right to take job-protected leave for qualifying events without interference or restraint from their employers and without being retaliated against for exercising or attempting to exercise their FMLA rights. An eligible employee has the right to have group health insurance maintained during a period of FMLA leave under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave and has the right to be restored to the same or an equivalent position at the end of the FMLA leave.

What are my responsibilities while I am on FMLA leave?

Contact with the university is not prohibited but in order to prevent interference with the certified leave, conversations having to do with work assignments or work related activities, are discouraged.  Visits to the university must be coordinated through Human Resources.

Out of Office Message – Activate the out of office message on your e-mail and telephone extension. It should state the following; “I am currently on a leave of absence. Please contact (name/contact info) for assistance."

Paid/Unpaid Status

Faculty – Request for a paid medical leave of absence – The faculty member is advised to submit the request for a paid medical leave of absence as soon as possible. The request can be sent via e-mail to the Department Chair (or immediate supervisor) who will forward to the Dean and on to the Provost for final approval. The e-mail should include the request for 3 or 6 months leave, which is based on length of service.  It should also include the start date and anticipated return date. The request for a paid medical leave of absence process is handled by the department. The Provost office determines the parameters of the paid medical leave of absence. For more details about requesting additional unpaid leave, review TCU's 6.015 Sick Leave Policy.

Staff – FMLA in itself is unpaid, but a paid status is maintained by using accrued leave. You must have adequate accruals of sick and vacation hours in order to continue payroll deductions for your health, dental, vision, life, disability and long term care benefits. Leave must be submitted via and approved by your supervisor per the Payroll deadlines. First use all available sick time, then vacation time after the sick leave is exhausted.

  • If all accrued leave is exhausted before the end of your FMLA period, send your supervisor an e-mail and Cc: to fmla/ to let Human Resources know your status. At that point you will be placed on leave without pay for the remainder of your FMLA period.
  • Insurance Premium Payments (only if you are placed on leave without pay)
    Employees placed on leave without pay are responsible for making arrangement to pay their portion of the insurance premiums. A statement with payment instructions will be mailed directly to the address on file. If your premiums are over 30 days late, insurance coverage is subject to cancellation.

Returning From Leave

Provide Human Resources the release to return to work at least 3 days prior to reporting to work, if the leave was taken due to your serious health condition. The release is produced at the doctor’s office by prescription or on letterhead. It can be faxed to (817) 257-3652.
If leave was taken to care for your spouse, child or parent notify the leave administrator of your date of return.

  • If you are unable to return to work, you may resign from the institution. If you elect this option or if you would like to discuss your options, please e-mail fmla/
  • If Human Resources does not receive any communication from you by the end of your FMLA expiration date, we will assume you have elected to abandon your position with the institution and your position will be terminated. In this case, information will be sent to your home address regarding eligibility for COBRA insurance coverage continuation.

Important Definitions Within the Family Medical Leave Act

Spouse – in accordance with applicable state law and includes common law marriages.

Parent – biological and individuals who acted as your parent.

Child – includes biological, adopted, and foster children, stepchildren, legal wards under the age of 18 or older if incapable of self care.

Serious health condition – any illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition which involves:

  1. Any incapacity or treatment in connection with inpatient care.
  2. Any incapacity requiring absence from work for more than three calendar days and continuing treatment by a health care provider.
  3. Continuing treatment by a health care provider of a chronic or long term condition which is incurable.

More details on Definitions of a Serious Health Condition.

Healthcare provider – includes licensed MD, DO, podiatrists, dentists, and clinical psychologist authorized to practice in the state, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives authorized under state law and Christian Science practitioners.

Inability to perform job functions – an employee who is unable to work at all or unable to perform any of the essential functions of the position. Does not include marginal functions of the position.