Family and Medical Leave

 FMLA applies only to employees who have been employed 12 months or longer and who have worked 1250 hours or more in the preceding 12 months, both prior to commencement of leave.

General:  Employees who meet the length of service and hours worked requirement described above have rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act.  As a general rule, employees must request leaves of absence under this law and policy, but in appropriate situations, employees may be placed on FMLA leave status without application.

Reason for Leave of Absence

1. Medical and Family Leave – An eligible employee may be entitled to a leave of absence under this law and policy if a serious health condition, including disability resulting from an on-the-job injury, prevents the employee from being able to perform his job; if the employee’s spouse, child, or parent has a serious health condition and the employee must be absent from work in order to care for that relative; or to care for a natural child, adopted child, or formally placed foster child, provided that entitlement to leave to care for a child who is newly born or newly received in the employee’s household shall end 12 months after a natural child is born or 12 months after an adopted or foster child is received in the employee’s household.

2.Military Caregiver Leave – An eligible employee whose spouse, parent, child, or next-of-kin is a covered service member or covered veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States may be entitled to a leave of absence to care for the service member or veteran if he is, or was, injured while on covered active duty, including if he aggravates an existing injury.

3.Qualifying Military Exigency Leave -  An eligible employee whose spouse, parent, or child is a member of the regular Armed Forces of the United States and is on active duty or called to active duty on a foreign deployment, or who is a member of the National Guard or Reserves and is on or called to qualifying active duty in federal service may be entitled to a leave of absence due to one or more qualifying exigencies arising out of the active duty or call to active duty.  Qualifying exigencies are: (1) Short-notice deployment (i.e., notice of 7 days or less); (2) Military events and related activities; (3) Childcare and school activities (regular or routine childcare by the employee does not count); (4)  Financial and legal arrangements; (5) Counseling; (6) Rest and recuperation; (7) Post-deployment activities; (8) Parental care (regular or routine parental care by the employee does not count); and (9) Additional activities not encompassed in the other categories, but agreed to by the employer and employee.

 

Proof of need for leave of absence may be required regardless of the type of leave taken.

 

Length of Leave

 

1.Medical and Family Leave – An eligible employee may take the equivalent of a total of 12 work weeks of leave during any 12 consecutive months for his own serious health condition, that of a parent, spouse or child, or to care for a newly born or newly received child.  Leave to care for a newly born or newly received child must be taken consecutively.  Leave required because of the employee’s own serious health condition or that of a spouse, child, or parent, may be taken intermittently or by means of a modified work schedule when necessary.

2.Military Caregiver Leave -  Leave to care for an injured service member or covered veteran may be taken for up to 26 work weeks in a single 12 month period. Any leave             taken by the employee for any other FMLA-qualifying reason will count against the 26 weeks of leave permitted to care for an injured service member. 

3.Qualifying Military Exigency Leave - Leave taken because of a qualifying exigency is available for up to 12 work weeks in any 12 consecutive months. Leave taken because of a short notice deployment is limited 7 days from the date of notice, and leave taken to be with the service member during periods of rest and recuperation are limited to 5 days per period of rest and recuperation.  Leave taken to attend post-deployment activities must be taken within 90 days of the end of active duty service.

Coordination of Leave and Paid Time Off 

An employee who must be absent for an FMLA-qualifying reason will be paid for time lost from work from accrued paid time off balances, if any.  Leave taken under this policy counts towards the employee’s 12 weeks of leave (or 26 weeks, where appropriate) regardless of whether all or part of the employee’s leave is paid.

Effect of Leave on Accrual of Fringe Benefits

1.   Health benefit plan-  Employees taking leave under this policy must continue to pay their portion of health benefit plan premiums on the same date that such portion of premiums would be deducted from the employee's wages.

2.   Accrual of paid leave-  Unpaid time lost from work due to leave granted under this policy is not considered time worked for the purpose of accrual of paid time off. 

Employee Responsibility

Employees who request leave under this policy must give 30 days advance notice or such lesser amount of notice as is possible in the particular circumstances.  When the need for leave is unforeseeable, the employee must follow the normal procedure for reporting an absence.  Employees may not engage in side employment or work for another employer without the express written permission of County Administrator.

 

Termination of Leave of Absence

A leave of absence under this policy will end when the need for the leave of absence ends, or when the maximum leave described above has been taken, whichever occurs sooner.

Reinstatement

At or before the conclusion of the FMLA leave of absence the employee is entitled to reinstatement to his former position or to a position equivalent to his former position.  The employee must demonstrate that he is fit for duty and must give reasonable notice of intent to return to work. 

                                   

Extension of Leave Without Benefits

An employee who is unable to perform the duties of his position due to his own disability and who has exhausted his entitlement to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act by taking 12 consecutive weeks of leave may, in the discretion of the County Administrator, upon written application, be granted up to an additional 14 weeks of leave.  This additional leave of absence does not entitle the employee to reinstatement or to payment of any portion of his health benefit plan premiums.  If the employee is able to return to work prior to the exhaustion of his extended leave, he may be returned to his previous position if it is vacant and is to be filled, or to some other position of equal or lesser compensation for which he is qualified and where there is a vacancy to be filled.  If the employee is not returned to active employment, he may be continued on extended leave of absence status until he is returned to active duty status or his extended leave of absence expires, whichever occurs sooner.

Employees who have exhausted their FMLA leave under other circumstances, but who continue to require leave which would qualify for FMLA leave if such leave had not been exhausted, may apply for an extended leave of absence for personal reasons.  Such extended leaves are granted only in the discretion of the County Administrator.

Separation of Employment

An employee’s employment may terminate if he does not return to full active employment status at the conclusion of his leave of absence or extended leave of absence. This does not affect the employee’s ability to reapply for the position at a later time. Further, employees with circumstances that warrant special consideration should bring those circumstances to the attention of management.

 

Special Situations

1  . Spouses - When both a husband and a wife are employed, their combined right to a leave of absence because of the birth or placement of a child, or to care for a newly born or placed child or to care for a parent with a serious health condition is 12 weeks in a 12 month period, or 26 weeks in a single 12 month period to care for an injured service member or covered veteran.

2.   Key Employees (salaried employee in highest paid 10% of all employees).  Such employees may be denied reinstatement rights if reinstatement would cause substantial and grievous economic injury to operations.

Notice of Rights

Federal law requires that we provide you with the notice of your rights that appears in Appendix A.5