This policy provides employees with the University’s practice for administering the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).
In compliance with the FMLA, the University provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave annually for qualifying events under the FMLA (26 weeks for care of an injured active duty military family member). Eligibility requires an employee to be employed for a minimum of 12 months for the University and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12-month period. Use of accrued sick leave, vacation, compensatory time, unpaid time, or holiday time is not included in the calculation of the 1,250 hours.
All leaves qualified under FMLA must be taken in accordance with Department of Labor (DOL) regulations. Employees may not waive application of the FMLA, and all FMLA qualifying leaves must be tracked as FMLA time in accordance with federal law. The University uses a calendar year to track this leave. The FMLA calendar year begins on January 1 of each year, and ends on December 31 of the same year.
Leaves must be arranged with the employee’s supervisor, who will collaborate with Human Resource Services (HRS). Leave requests must be provided to the employee’s supervisor or department head as soon as the need for leave is foreseeable or practicable.
All medical documentation and certifications should go directly to HRS, and will be maintained in the employee’s FMLA confidential folder in HRS, in accordance with requirements under the law.
When notified of the need for leave, HRS will inform the requesting employee of their eligibility. If the employee is eligible, notice will be given of any additional information required as well as the employee’s rights and responsibilities. If an employee is not eligible, the University will provide a reason for the ineligibility in writing. HRS will provide final approval for FMLA qualifying leaves.
The employee is responsible for providing appropriate information when determining eligibility, consistent with DOL regulations, including 30 days advance notice to take leave when feasible.
Employees must use accrued sick leave, vacation, and/or compensatory time to remain in paid status while on FMLA leave. Paid time is to run concurrently with FMLA leave. All paid time must be exhausted, prior to taking an unpaid FMLA leave.
To assist employees in planning for a leave, an employee should contact HRS.
Health and Dental Benefits
UNI will continue to pay the employer share of the employee health and dental insurance premiums while the employee is on approved FMLA leave. While the employee is in paid status, the employee’s share of the premium (if applicable) will continue to be deducted from their monthly paycheck. If the employee is in an unpaid status for a full calendar month, their share of the premium will need to be paid directly to UNI by the employee. If the employee does not return to active duty at the end of their FMLA leave, they may be required to reimburse the University for its share of the health and dental insurance premiums. The employee will not be required to repay these premiums if they are not able to return because of a continuing serious health condition or other circumstances beyond their control.
Return to Work
When an employee returns to work, the University is required to reinstate the employee to the same or an equivalent position with equivalent pay and benefits.
When the employee is able to return to work from leave related to their serious health condition, as defined by DOL FMLA regulations, the employee must present certification indicating their health care provider has declared them fit to return to work.
FMLA & Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
If necessity for leave extends beyond 12 weeks of FMLA and is related to an employee’s serious health condition, as defined by DOL FMLA regulations, the employee may be eligible for continued leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. See policy 13.15, Accommodations of Disabilities.
The University is committed to complying with all rules and regulations as established by FMLA, including prohibiting interference or discrimination or retaliation against an employee who has requested or taken FMLA leave.