6.2 - Family and Medical Leave Act Policy

: Human Resources
: President
: 09/20/2018
: 09/20/2018
: 09/20/2019
Comment on Policy

6.2.1 - AUDIENCE

All Regular University employees meeting the Family and Medical Leave Act eligibility requirements.


The purpose of this Policy is to inform Thomas More University employees of their rights and obligations under the Family and Medical Leave Act and circumstances under which they may become eligible for such leave and the process to apply for such leave.


Eligible Employee: one who has worked for the University for at least 12 months and has worked at least 1,250 hours during the twelve 12 months immediately preceding the requested leave.

Genetic Information: as defined by GINA, includes an individual’s family medical history, the results of an individual’s or family members genetic tests, the fact that an individual or an individual’s family member sought or received genetic services, and genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual of an individual’s family member or an embryo lawfully held by an individual or family member receiving reproductive services.

Serious Health Condition: an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves one of the following:

  1. Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility;
  2. Pregnancy or prenatal care.
  3. Absence from work for more than 3 consecutive calendar days that also involves:
    1. Treatment of two (2) or more times for an employee or family member's injury or illness. The first treatment must be within five days and the second treatment must be within 30 days of the first day of incapacity.
    2. Treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion which results in a regimen of continuing treatment.
  4. A chronic condition which requires periodic visits by a health care provider, continues over a long period of time, may cause episodic incapacity and requires a visit to a health care provider at least twice a year.
  5. A permanent or long-term incapacity due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. Examples include Alzheimer’s, severe stroke or terminal stages of a disease.

Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments (and recovery) from a health care provider, either for restorative surgery after an accident or other injury, or for a condition that would result in a period of incapacity of three or more calendar days in the absence of medical intervention (i.e. cancer, kidney disease).

Medical Necessity: certification by a health care provider that a medical need can best be accommodated by an intermittent or reduced leave and outlining the expected duration and schedule of the intermittent or reduced leave.

Key Employee: an FMLA-eligible employee who is among the highest paid ten (10) percent of the employees employed within seventy-five (75) miles of the employee’s worksite.

Qualifying Exigency: qualifying exigencies are situations arising from the military deployment of an employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent to a foreign country.  Qualifying exigencies include the following: Short-notice deployment; Military events and related activities; Childcare and school activities of the service member’s child; Financial and legal arrangements for the service member; Counseling; Rest and recuperation of the service member; Attending to certain post-deployment activities, including attending arrival ceremonies, reintegration briefings and events, and other official ceremonies or programs sponsored by the military for a period of 90 days following the termination of the covered military member’s active duty status, and addressing issues arising from the death of a covered military member; or Additional activities that the employer and employee shall agree qualify as an exigency and agree to both the timing and duration of such leave.

Covered Service Member: 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.  A "covered service member” also includes a veteran who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness if the veteran was a member of the Armed Forces at any time during the period of 5 years preceding the date on which the veteran undergoes that medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy.

Where a term is defined in the FMLA and/or accompanying regulations, that definition will be incorporated into this Policy.

6.2.4 - THE POLICY

It is the policy of Thomas More University, in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act, to provide eligible employees with unpaid family/medical leave (FMLA) for up to 12 weeks within any 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons; or up to 26 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to care for a Covered Service Member with a serious injury or illness.

I. Basic Leave Entitlement

Pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), an eligible employee may request and will be granted up to 12 unpaid weeks (including intermittent leave time) of job-protected family/medical care leave during any 12-month period for one (1) or more of the following events:

  1. The birth of a child of the employee and to care for such child (within 12-months of birth);
  2. For the placement of a child with an employee for adoption or foster care (within 12-months of placement);
  3. To care for an employee's spouse, child, or parent who has a Serious Health Condition; and
  4. A Serious Health Condition of the employee which renders the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his/her position.

II. Military Family Leave

  1. Employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent on active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard, Reserves or Armed Forces who is deployed to a foreign country may take leave for a Qualifying Exigency up to 12 weeks. Qualifying Exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, care for a parent who is incapable of self-care, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings.  The maximum leave time is 15 days for Rest and Recuperation leave (short-term, temporary leave during deployment).
  2. FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a single 12-month period. A covered service member is a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard, Reserves, or a veteran who was honorably discharged in the past five years (excluding 10/29/2009-3/8/2013) who has a serious injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty on active duty that may render the service member medically unfit to perform his or her duties for which the service member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.

III. Eligibility Requirements

  1. Full-time or part-time employees employed for more than 12 months. Periods of employment preceding a break in employment of seven years or more are not counted toward the 12 months unless the break was due to military service.
  2. Worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period preceding request for leave.
  3. Applies to employers with more than 50 employees.

IV. Intermittent Leave/Reduced Work Schedule

Employees can take the 12 weeks leave all at one time or intermittently.  Leave for the Serious Health Condition of employee, child, spouse or parent may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule when medically necessary.  However, the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule all medical treatment in a manner that will not disrupt the operations of the Unviersity.  During intermittent or reduced schedule leave, the employee may be temporarily transferred to an available alternative position for which the employee is qualified and that has equivalent pay and benefits and better accommodates recurring periods of leave than the employee's regular position.  (Note: a reduced work schedule refers to reducing the usual number of hours per week or the hours per day.)

Leave due to Qualifying Exigencies may also be taken on an intermittent basis.

Intermittent leave for birth and care or placement for adoption or foster care is subject to approval of the University.  Leave for a newborn child or adoption or foster care placement of a child must be completed within twelve (12) months of the birth, adoption, or placement, and the leave must be taken all at one time.  Spouses employed by the University are jointly entitled to a combined total of twelve (12) weeks of family leave for the birth or placement of a child, or to care for a parent who has a serious health condition.  However, for other qualifying reasons under FMLA (other than military caregiver leave), each eligible spouse is entitled to twelve (12) workweeks.  If the employee and his or her spouse are employed by the University, they are limited to a combined total of twenty-six (26) workweeks of FMLA leave during a single twelve (12) month period for the care of a service member or veteran with a serious injury or illness (military caregiver leave).

V. Payment While on Leave

FMLA leave runs concurrently with the use of the eligible employee's accumulated paid time benefits, as applicable (i.e., sick time, vacation time, parental leave) and during the receipt of any disability/insurance plan payments (i.e., short-term disability or worker's compensation). A period of FMLA leave will be unpaid if the employee is not eligible for accumulated paid time or exhausts his or her balance of accrued paid time.

The period of any applicable accumulated paid leave will be counted against the employee’s total FMLA leave entitlement, as well as any workers’ compensation leave when the injury is one that meets the criteria for a serious health condition.  As the worker’s compensation absence is not unpaid leave, the provision for substitution of accrued paid leave is not applicable.

VI. Benefits While on Leave

Health insurance will be maintained at the same level and cost to the employee as was provided prior to the placement on leave, and for up to the maximum amount of time designated for that type of leave.  Premiums will continue to be deducted from the employee's paycheck while applicable vacation/sick pay benefits are being paid.  Once an employee is no longer receiving a paycheck, it is the employee's responsibility while on leave to make alternate arrangements for payment of health insurance premiums.

If the employee does not return to work at the conclusion of leave, the University may recover premiums paid to maintain health coverage while the employee was on leave. 

TIAA is not matched during FMLA leave.

Use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an employee’s leave.

VII. Other Employment

Except where express written authorization is given by Human Resources, employees on leave due to an FMLA qualifying illness are prohibited from engaging in employment with other employers, whether paid or unpaid, while on leave.  Employees engaging in other employment while on a leave of absence will be considered to have voluntarily resigned from employment as of the day the employee began the FMLA qualifying leave of absence.

VIII. Reinstatement

Employees who take a FMLA leave will be restored, upon return from the leave, to the position held by the employee when the leave commenced or an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.  If the employee refuses to accept an equivalent position, it will be presumed he/she has voluntarily resigned effective with the expiration of the leave.

An employee on leave can be affected by the University’s decisions just as if the employee had remained at work.

Note: If the employee taking FMLA is a member of the Ranked Faculty, the faculty member’s College Dean will have the discretion to reassign teaching duties and assign alternate appropriate duties to an eligible faculty member taking FMLA under this Policy, when medically advised or to serve the integrity of the academic or administrative program.  The duration of such reassignment of duties will depend on when the FMLA leave occurs during the course of the academic semester.

IX. Employee’s Responsibilities

Employees must request leave in writing.

It is the employee's responsibility to notify his or her supervisor when FMLA leave is needed.  The employee should provide a minimum of 30-days notice when the need for leave is foreseeable, or as much notice as practical.  When requesting intermittent leave for medical treatments, employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt University operations.

Employees must provide sufficient information in writing for the employer to determine if the leave may qualify for FMLA protection and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave.  Sufficient information may include that the employee is unable to perform job functions, the family member is unable to perform daily activities, the need for hospitalization or continuing treatment by a health care provider, or circumstances supporting the need for military family leave.  Employees also must inform the employer if the requested leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave was previously taken or certified.  Employees also may be required to provide a certification and periodic recertification supporting the need for leave.

In order for a FMLA leave of absence to be extended for longer than what was originally approved, the request must be accompanied by an appropriate health care provider certification indicating the condition or disability and circumstances for the extension before the request will be considered.

When an employee fails to return to work at the conclusion of the leave or fails to notify the supervisor of his/her intent to extend the leave, it will be presumed he/she has voluntarily resigned.

Employees who exceed their FMLA entitlement without extension(s) of their leave approved under other appropriate leave provisions, may be subject to dismissal from employment.

X. Employer’s Responsibilities

Human Resources will inform employees requesting leave whether they are eligible under FMLA.  If they are, the notice will specify any additional information required as well as the employees’ rights and responsibilities.  If they are not eligible, Human Resources will provide a reason for the ineligibility.

Human Resources will also inform employees if leave will be designated as FMLA-protected and the amount of leave counted against the employee’s leave entitlement.  If Human Resources determines that the leave is not FMLA-protected, it will notify the employee.

XI. Medical Certification

A leave of absence related to an employee's medical condition must be accompanied by a medical certification.  If reasonable doubt exists regarding the validity of the medical certification provided, a second opinion (paid by the University) can be requested by a physician chosen by the University.  A third and final opinion (paid by the University) can also be required if the second opinion differs from the first; however, both the employee and the University must agree on the physician selected for the third opinion.

Return from a leave which is related to the medical condition of an employee requires a medical certification that the employee is able to return to work with or without limitations regarding his/her ability to perform the essential functions of the job.  Failure to provide such certification will result in a delay in the employee's return until such time as the certification is provided.

A leave taken related to the Serious Health Condition of an employee's family member (son, daughter, spouse or parent) must also be accompanied by a physician certification.  Failure to provide the required medical certification may result in the temporary denial of the leave.

Note: The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers and other entities covered by GINA Title II from requesting or requiring genetic information of employees or their family members.  In order to comply with this law, the University requests that employees do not provide any genetic information when replying to this request for medical information.

XII. Key Employees

Key Employees may not be entitled to return to their position should the University determine that substantial and grievous economic injury will result from his or her absence.  If a Key Employee is notified of the University’s intent to deny restoration of employment, the Key Employee will continue to be entitled to maintenance of health benefits until such time as the Key Employee gives notice that (s)he no longer wishes to return to work, FMLA leave entitlement is exhausted, or restoration is actually denied at the end of the leave period.  Premium costs paid on behalf of Key Employees in such circumstances are not recoverable.


XIII. Factual Misrepresentations

Factual misrepresentations made by employees in order to obtain FMLA leave shall result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  Additionally, disciplinary action may also be taken against employees who are engaged in employment activities unrelated to the University while on an approved FMLA leave.


Family and Medical Leave Act

Parental Leave Policy
Sick Leave Policy
Vacation Policy


See Policy Statement.


6.2.8 - HISTORY


Supersedes Policy

Summarize Change

September 2018

Family Medical Leave Policy in Staff Manual (May 2014) and Faculty Policy Manual (2011)


6.2.9 - APPENDIX

There are no appendices to this Policy.

6.2.10 - APPROVALS

Laura Custer, Director of Human Resources

Dr. Kathleen Jagger, Acting President