Family and Medical Leave

Agnes Scott College understands the importance of family issues to today's work force. The college also recognizes that more faculty and staff members than ever before face conflicting demands of family obligations and work. Because employees may find it necessary to take leave from their jobs for a temporary period to address certain family responsibilities or their own health conditions and to comply with the FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT OF 1993 (FMLA), the college has developed this Family and Medical Leave Policy. FMLA leave may be paid, unpaid or a combination of paid and unpaid leave depending on the circumstances of the leave and as specified in this policy.

Under the FMLA, eligible employees may be granted up to 12 workweeks of leave over a 12-month period (and up to twenty-six (26) workweeks of unpaid leave as discussed below in the "Military Caregiver Leave" section of this policy). The 12-month period in which the 12 workweeks of leave entitlement occurs will be calculated on the basis of a rolling year, measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. Employees do not need to use the leave entitlement in one block.

Questions concerning any particular leave situation should be directed to the Office of Human Resources.

Note: This policy is separate from that which addresses the area of professional leaves of absence for faculty members.

Eligibility

To be eligible to take FMLA leave, the faculty or staff member must have worked for the college for at least: 12 months (either consecutive or non-consecutive, excluding breaks in service of more than 7 years unless because of military service); and 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of the leave.

Type of Leave Covered

To qualify as FMLA leave under this policy, the employee must be taking leave for one of the following reasons:

1. The birth of a child of the employee, or to care for a newborn child or a child placed with the employee for adoption or foster care (This kind of FMLA leave must be taken during the 12-month period beginning on the date of the birth or placement.); or

2. To care for the employee's spouse, sponsored domestic partner, child (provided that the child is under the age of 18, or, if older, incapable of self-care because of a disability) or parent (individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a child) who has a serious health condition; or

3. Due to the serious health condition of the employee that renders the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position; or

4. Due to a qualifying exigency arising out of a covered family member's covered active duty or call to covered active duty in the Armed Forces (Qualifying Exigency Leave).

5. To care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, or next-of-kin of the servicemember (Military Caregiver Leave). (The requirements for this kind of leave are discussed in the "Military Caregiver Leave" section of this policy below.)

Definition of Serious Health Condition: A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition, that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee's job, or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities. Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regimen of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.

Occupational and non-occupational injuries and illnesses may constitute serious health conditions under the FMLA. Consequently, workers' compensation leaves, short-term disability leaves, and long-term disability leaves will run concurrently with FMLA leave.

Definition of Qualifying Exigency: Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings. Employees requesting this type of FMLA leave must provide proof of the qualifying family member's call-up or active military service before leave is granted.

Spouses

Eligible spouses who are both employed by the college are jointly entitled to a combined total of twelve workweeks of family leave for the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for a parent who has a serious health condition. If spouses both work for the college and each wishes to take leave to care for a covered injured or ill service member, the husband and wife may only take a combined total of 26 workweeks of leave.

Status & Benefits During Leave

Subject to the terms, conditions and limitations of the applicable plans, health-insurance benefits will continue on the same basis as if the employee were on active service, i.e., contribute the same share of the medical premium. If the employee is receiving pay for the leave, no action on her/his part is required. If the leave is unpaid, premium remittances are to be made on a monthly basis and mailed directly to the Office of Human Resources. Employees who fail to remit their premiums or who elect to discontinue their coverage during leave will have their insurance canceled. Benefit accruals, such as vacation, sick leave and holiday benefits will be suspended during the approved FMLA leave period.

Use of Paid and Unpaid Leave

If the employee would otherwise be on unpaid leave status has accrued or earned paid leave (vacation, sick or personal time) she/he must use paid leave first, regardless of the reason FMLA is being taken, and take the remainder of the FMLA leave as unpaid leave. All paid leave will run concurrently with FMLA leave and will count against the employee's FMLA leave entitlement.

If the leave is for a birthing mother for the birth and post natal care of a newborn child, it may qualify for paid parental leave. For details, see the applicable faculty or staff Parental Leave Policy. This leave period will be counted towards the faculty or staff member's FMLA entitlement.

If the leave is for paternity, adoption or foster care of a child, it may qualify for paid parental leave. For details, see the applicable Parental Leave Policy. All parental leave will be counted toward the employee's entitlement for FMLA leave.

Procedure for Requesting Leave

An FMLA leave requires the prior approval of the respective officer of the college. Application forms for a FMLA leave are available in the Office of Human Resources and must be completed as soon as circumstances permit. If the reason for the FMLA leave is foreseeable (such as planned surgeries or normal births), the employee must give 30-days notice. If the need for leave is unexpected (such as a serious injury in a car accident, or premature birth), the employee must notify the college as soon as possible and in no event, more than two days after knowing of the need for leave. Notice to the college is accomplished by completing a FMLA request form, which is available in the Office of Human Resources. If the employee fails to provide 30-days notice for foreseeable leave with no reasonable excuse for the delay, the leave request may be denied until at least 30 days from the date the college receives notice. When the duration of FMLA leave changes, an employee is required to provide at least 2 business days advance notice of the change.

The college will provide individual notice of rights and obligations to each employee requesting leave within two business days or as soon as practicable. While on leave, faculty and staff members are requested to report periodically to the college regarding the status of the medical condition, and their intent to return to work.

Intermittent Leave or Reduced Work Schedule

Under certain circumstances, FMLA leave may be taken intermittently or on a schedule that reduces the number of hours per workday or workweek where medically necessary for the employee's own serious health condition, to care for the serious health condition of a covered family member, or to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness. When such leave is for planned medical treatment, the employee must make reasonable effort to schedule treatment so as not to unduly interrupt the college's operation. Leave due to a qualifying exigency may also be taken on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis. Intermittent leave may be taken in increments of no less than 30 minutes.

The college may temporarily transfer an employee to an available alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits if the alternative position would better accommodate the intermittent or reduced schedule necessary for leave for the faculty or staff member or his or her family member that is foreseeable and for planned medical treatment, including recovery from a serious health condition or serious injury or illness.

Certifications

Medical certification is required to support a request for leave affecting the employee or a covered family member or a request for leave to care for a covered servicemember under the Military Caregiver Leave provision. This certification must be provided by the employee no later than fifteen days after the request by the college. Certification will also be required to support a request for leave due to a qualifying exigency. Failure to provide certification may result in a denial of continuation of leave.

1. The college may obtain a second and/or third opinion regarding an initial certification (at the college's expense)

2. The college may require recertification of FMLA leave under certain circumstances.

3. If an employee's FMLA leave was occasioned by the employee's own serious health condition, the pertains to the particular condition that caused the need for FMLA leave and states that the employee is able to resume work before the employee will be restored to employment. Such certifications should be presented to the employee's respective college officer or the Office of Human Resources prior to the employee's returning to work.

Return to Work

So the return to work can be properly scheduled, employees are requested to provide the college with at least two weeks advance notice of the date the employee intends to return to work.

Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees will be restored to the original or an equivalent which the employee is qualified position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms. An employee has no greater right to reinstatement or to other benefits of employment than if the employee had been continuously employed during the FMLA leave period.

If an employee fails to return to work on the agreed return date, the college will assume that the employee has resigned.

Any employee who fraudulently obtains FMLA leave is not protected by the FMLA and has no right to job restoration or maintenance of health benefits provisions.

Military Caregiver Leave

An eligible employee who is the spouse, sponsored domestic partner, son, daughter, parent or next-of-kin (closest blood relative) of a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness is entitled to a total of 26 workweeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for the covered servicemember. This is the only type of FMLA leave that may extend an employee's leave entitlement beyond 12 workweeks. During this single 12-month period which begins with the first day the employee takes leave, an eligible employee is entitled to a combined total of 26 workweeks of any type of FMLA-qualifying leave. An employee requesting this type of FMLA leave may be requested to provide confirmation of his relationship to the covered servicemember and will be required to provide certification of the family member's injury or illness from the covered servicemember's authorized health care provider. Recertification will not be required. This is the only type of FMLA leave that may extend an employee's leave entitlement beyond 12 workweeks to 26 workweeks. The definition of serious injury or illness for this kind of leave is different from the definition of serious health condition for other kinds of FMLA leave. For more information, contact the Office of Human Resources.

Definition of Covered Servicemember: 1) a current 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; or 2) a veteran who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable at any time during the five-year period prior to the first date the eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for the covered veteran and who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness.

Confidentiality

The college will keep all information relating to requests for family or medical leave confidential. All records will be retained in the Office of Human Resources.


Policy No.  680  Issued  1/1/2004  Revised  3/8/2013