Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA is intended to allow employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for medical reasons, for the birth or adoption of a child, for the care of a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition, for the care of a covered service member with a serious injury or illness, or because of a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.

Leave Entitlements

Eligible employees can take up to 12-weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for the following reasons:

  • The birth of a child or placement of a child for adoption or foster care;
  • To bond with a child (leave must be taken within one year of the child’s birth or placement and sick leave may not be used for this purpose);
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a qualifying serious health condition;
  • For the employee’s own qualifying serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job;
  • For qualifying exigencies related to the foreign deployment of a military member who is the employee’s spouse, child, or parent.

An eligible employee who is a covered service member's spouse, child, parent, or next of kin may also take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave in a single 12-month period to care for the service member with a serious injury or illness.

An employee does not need to use leave in one block. When it is medically necessary or otherwise permitted, employees may take leave intermittently or on a reduced schedule. If the employee requests intermittent leave or leave on a reduced schedule, the District may require that the employee transfer to a temporary, alternative job for which the employee is qualified and that better accommodates the intermittent or reduced hour leave than the employee’s regular job. The temporary position will have pay and benefits equivalent to the employee’s regular job.

FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave; however, the District requires all accumulated paid leave, such as vacation leave (if applicable), personal leave, and sick leave, be exhausted and run concurrently prior to the employee being placed on unpaid leave status. All time will be counted as part of the 12 weeks of FMLA leave.

Benefits & Protections

While employees are on FMLA leave, the District must continue health insurance coverage as if the employee was not on leave. Contributions ordinarily made by the employee through payroll deductions for dependent coverage must be continued during the leave period. The employee’s total contribution amount due for that period must be paid by mail or in person on or before each regularly scheduled payday. The employee may pay in advance; should payments cease, benefits will be suspended.

Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees must be restored to the same job or one nearly identical to it with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions. Benefits that accrued prior to taking leave will not be lost because FMLA leave is taken; however, the employee will not be entitled to accrue employment benefits while on leave. In addition, the employee is not entitled to any right, benefit, or position of employment other than a right, benefit, or position of employment that the employee would have been entitled to if the employee were not on leave.

Eligibility Requirements

An employee must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for FMLA leave. The employee must:

  1. Have worked for the District for at least 12 months; 
  2. Have at least 1,250 hours of service in the 12 months before taking leave.

Requesting FMLA Leave

Generally, employees must give 30-days’ advance notice of the need for FMLA leave using the District’s Employee Leave of Absence Request Form. If it is not possible to give 30-days’ notice, an employee must notify the District as soon as possible and, generally, follow the District’s usual procedures. The District will notify the employee in writing if the request for leave qualifies under FMLA.

Employees do not have to share a medical diagnosis but must provide enough information to the District so it can determine if the leave qualifies for FMLA protection. Sufficient information could include informing the District that the employee is or will be unable to perform his or her job functions, that a family member cannot perform daily activities, or that hospitalization or continuing medical treatment is necessary. Employees must inform the District if the need for leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave was previously taken or certified.

The District can and does require a certification from the attending health care provider at least every 30 days supporting the need for leave. If the District determines that the certification is incomplete, it will provide written notice to the employee indicating what additional information is required. The employee must report on the employee’s status and intention to return to work while on FMLA leave in addition to the recertification of the medical need for leave.

The District may require, at its own expense, a second medical opinion from a health care provider designated by the District. Should the second opinion differ from the original certification provided by the employee, the District, at its own expense, may require that the employee obtain a third opinion. The opinion of the third health care provider, designated by both the District and the employee, is final and binding on both the District and the employee.