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.
During the current COVID period, FMLA would also apply for the following reasons:
- To care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent living in the employee’s household who is in a high risk category for a serious health condition related to COVID
- Positive COVID-19 test result – applicable for employee or eligible family member
- 14-day self-observation due to close contact or exposure to COVID-19
- Employee is unable to work due to a dependent, minor child’s school or daycare closure and no alternatives are available (Provide proof of dependent status and include the notice from your child’s school or daycare to include dates that fall within the requested leave)
What types of forms are required to support the FMLA process?
The FMLA Request Form is used to verify eligibility requirements, gather general information pertaining to the leave and to determine if the reason for the leave falls within the parameters of FMLA’s “Serious Health Condition” criteria.
The Certification of Health Care Provider is used to obtain supporting documentation about the employee’s need for FMLA leave to care for a covered family member with a serious health condition or for the employee’s own serious health condition. The appropriate form must be returned to Human Resources 15 days after it is obtained.
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.”
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 handles by the department and the Provost office is who determines the parameters of the leave. Cindy Odiorne is the point of contact in the Provost’s office. This is the link to Policy-6.015-Sick-Leave.pdf for more details about with regard to requesting additional unpaid leave.
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 my.tcu.edu 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 email@example.com. to let HR know your status. At that point you will be placed on leave without pay for the remainder of your FMLA period, unless the eligibility requirements are met for other types of leave.
- 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.
Return 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 you are unable to return to work, you may resign from the institution. If you select this option or if you would like to discuss your options, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.
Domestic partners are not included.
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:
- Any incapacity or treatment in connection with inpatient care.
- Any incapacity requiring absence from work for more than three calendar days and continuing treatment by a health care provider.
- Continuing treatment by a health care provider of a chronic or long term condition which is incurable.
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.