Family Medical Leave Act

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Understand

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees the right to take up to twelve work weeks or 480 hours of unpaid, job-protected leave for qualifying family or medical reasons. The leave may be approved either on a continuous basis or an intermittent basis.

To be eligible for FMLA, an employee must have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months and have at least 1,250 hours of service and have one of the following qualifying conditions:

  • The birth of a child and to bond with the newborn within one year of the birth,
  • The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to bond with the newly-placed child within one year of placement,
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of their job, including incapacity due to pregnancy and for prenatal medical care,
  • To care for the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition, including incapacity due to pregnancy and for prenatal medical care,
  • Any 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 called to cover active duty status.

In addition, twenty-six workweeks of leave can be provided during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member's spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave). 

If you are seeking to apply for FMLA, contact the DES Leave Administrator or your Supervisor. The DES Leave Administrator will check your eligibility and have any applicable forms sent to you. You will work closely with the DES Leave Administrator during the application process and will receive required notices and communications throughout your FMLA leave.

Employee notification can be oral or written to the employer.

  • First request: you are not required to specifically mention the need for FMLA.
  • You are required to provide enough information for the employer to determine if you may be eligible for FMLA.
  • Subsequent requests: you may be required to reference a reason for FMLA.

Leave that is foreseeable

Employees are required to provide 30 days advance notice to the employer for leave that is foreseeable (ex: scheduled surgery).

Leave that is unforeseeable

Employees are required to provide notice as soon as possible and practical for leave that is unforeseeable.

  • If you decide to decline FMLA coverage for your family or medical event and will not be returning the requested FMLA documents to the DES Leave Administrator, respond to the email with your formal declination of coverage indicating that you decline FMLA coverage for this specific qualifying event.
  • If you decide to move forward with designating your qualifying event as FMLA eligible, please follow the instructions with the email and have your or your family member's health care provider complete the FMLA Medical Certificate and fax is to the DES Leave Administrator within 15 days.

FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave but you may use any combination of your accrued paid leave to substitute. During this period of leave, your job is protected, you have job restoration rights, and we as your employer maintain your health coverage. However, you will be responsible for paying your share of the insurance premiums. You may pay your premiums with cash, personal check, or you may choose to turn in enough paid leave during your FMLA absence to have your premiums deducted from your pay.

If you have been qualified to designate your leave as FMLA, you will be expected to accurately designate your submitted leave as FMLA. If your supervisor is submitting leave on your behalf, state that the leave is related to your FMLA condition, if applicable. Some of the leave types you may choose to use to designate your leave accurately are:

  • Comp Time FMLA
  • LWOP FMLA
  • LWOP SrvcMmCare FMLA
  • Shared Lv FMLA
  • Sick Lv SrvcMmCare FMLA
  • Vac Leave FMLA
  • Vac Leave ServcMmCare FMLA