•  Centennial School District

    Family Medical Leave Act FAQs

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    WHAT IS FMLA?   

    The Family Medical Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a federal law that provides unpaid, job protected leave to eligible employees, both male and female; in order to care for their families or themselves for specified family and medical conditions. Unpaid leave will be granted for any of the following reasons:

    ·        To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption

                            or foster care;

    ·        To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent who has a serious

                            health condition; or

    ·        For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the

                            employee’s job

    FMLA was amended in 2008 and now permits a spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a 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.

    WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO TAKE FMLA?

    To be eligible, an employee must have worked for the Centennial School District at least 12 months and at least 1,250 hours within a 12-month period before the leave begins.

    HOW DO I TAKE FMLA LEAVE?

    Complete a “Request for Leave”, Leave Request Form

    You also will need to print out the following form(s):

    This Certification of Physician or Practitioner needs to be filled out by your doctor regarding your illness and the need for leave.

    *If you are in the Military and going on active duty, a copy of your official orders will be sufficient when you fill out the “Request for Extended Leave”.

    After the “Request for an Extended Leave” form is completed, it must be sent to the Human Resources Department.

    DO I NEED A DOCTOR’S NOTE WHILE ON FMLA?

    You are required to produce medical certification to support a request for leave due to a serious health condition. This must be received by the Human Resources Department within 15 days of the start of such leave.

    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SICK LEAVE, PERSONAL LEAVE, EXTENDED LEAVE, WORKER'S COMP & LEAVE WITHOUT PAY?

     
    Sick Leave: Time that you have earned to be used for illness
     
    With regard to intermittent or reduced schedule leave (for an employee's own serious health condition, to care for a covered service member, or to care for a sick family member with a serious health condition), if the medical leave is foreseeable based on planned medical treatment and the employee is scheduled to be off work more than 20% of the working days during the period of medical leave (for an instructional employee working 5 days a week, 20% would be one day), the school may require the employee to choose: 
     
    The position also has to better accommodate the employee's intermittent leave.

    Leave within last three weeks of the end of the Academic Term for a purpose other than the instructional employee's own serious health condition:
     
    School may require continuous leave until the end of the term if:

                Personal Leave: Time taken for personal reasons.

                                              Personal leave reduces sick leave balance (Teachers Only).

                Extended Leave: Any leave in excess of 4 consecutive days

                Worker’s Compensation: Time off due to injury in the line of duty

                Leave Without Pay: Approved, unpaid time off

                Absent Without Authority: Unapproved, unpaid time off

    DO I HAVE TO REQUEST FMLA?

    You should always ask if you are eligible.

    ARE FAMILY MEMBERS COVERED BY FMLA?

    Please refer to answer number 1.

    HOW MUCH FMLA CAN I USE?
     
    You may take a maximum of 12 weeks. If a husband and wife both work for the Centennial School District, the combined leave shall not exceed the 12 week period when  the leave is taken for the birth or placement of a child or to care for a parent with a serious health condition.
     
    DO I GET PAID WHILE ON FMLA?

    The School District will pay any accrued sick and/or personal time until your physician states that you are no longer considered disabled/unable to work.  If you are caring for a family member you are only paid for your family illness days as stated in Board Policy 2.15. When the physician states you are no longer considered disabled/unable to work, the duration of FMLA will be non-paid.

    DO I GET TO KEEP MY BENEFITS WHILE ON FMLA?

    Yes, but you must continue to pay your portion of the premiums during the paid portion of FMLA. The district will continue to pay the district’s share of your premiums. The first day of the month immediately following your un-paid leave of absence you will be required to pay your portion and the district’s portion of the premiums until you return to work.

    WHO PAYS MY PORTION OF MY BENEFITS WHILE I’M ON FMLA?

    You do.

    IF I ONLY WORK 10 MONTHS A YEAR, HOW DOES THE SUMMER AFFECT MY FMLA LEAVE?

    The summer does not count toward your FMLA.

    DO I HAVE TO TAKE ALL 12 WEEKS AT THE SAME TIME?

    Employees may not take intermittent or reduced leave in the case of the birth or placement of a child, unless the Superintendent or designee agrees. In the case of serious health conditions, leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary. Employees are expected to make a reasonable effort to schedule intermittent leave so that it does not disrupt the operation of the school system or assigned location.

    DOES MY EMPLOYER HAVE TO GIVE ME MY SAME JOB BACK WHEN I RETURN?

    Upon return from FMLA you will resume your original position, or have an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.

    HOW MANY TIMES CAN I TAKE FMLA?

    The maximum amount of time you may take is 12 weeks in a 12 month period. The 12 month period shall be a rolling twelve (12) month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave.

    DO I LOSE MY SENIORITY BY TAKING FMLA?

    No, the use of FMLA cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit (seniority, experience, etc.) that accrued prior to the start of the employee’s leave.

    DO I HAVE TO USE MY SICK DAYS BEFORE I GO ON FMLA?

    If you have accumulated sick leave available, it must be used when you go on FMLA (for self). The exceptions to this are in the case of maternity or the adoption of a child.

    DO HOLIDAYS AND SCHOOL VACATIONS COUNT TOWARD MY 12 WEEKS?

    Schools, like other employers, can only count leave time as FMLA leave when the employee would be otherwise working. For example, teachers typically are not required to work during the spring, summer, and winter breaks. Thus, if the employee took FMLA leave before one of these breaks, the period of the break does not count as FMLA leave weeks for that employee.

    Example: Teacher takes FMLA commencing December 1. The full week of winter break would not be counted as FMLA.

    Since clerical, maintenance, security, and some administrative employees are required to work some or all of the periods of summer, winter, and spring breaks, these weeks would be counted as FMLA leave for those employees. Weeks in which the school is open for a portion of the week, such as Thanksgiving week and President's Day week, would be counted toward FMLA leave for all employees.

    WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T RETURN AFTER FMLA?

    Employees who do not return to work upon expiration of a leave will be treated as having voluntarily terminated their employment. Every effort will be made to determine the employee’s status, however, when no contact or notification is made, disciplinary action will be taken.

    WHAT HAPPENS IF I EXTEND MY LEAVE ONCE FMLA STOPS?

    You may request an extended leave after a FMLA. At the time of an approved non FMLA extended leave you will be given the opportunity to continue health benefits by paying the entire premium due.  You cannot work at another job for pay while on extended unpaid sick leave from the District.

    WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT FMLA?

    Visit the website US Department of Labor The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or contact Mary McCaw in the Human Resources Department or 215-441-6000 ext. 11034

    SPECIAL RULES FOR SCHOOLS

    Congress recognized that there could be a substantial disruption to the educational process from instructional employees taking leave at certain times during the academic year or for certain intervals. As result, there are special rules in the FMLA regulations regarding "instructional employees" of public and private elementary and secondary schools. "Instructional employees" are those whose principal function is to teach and instruct students in a class, small group or individual setting. Thus, "instructional employees" includes not only teachers in the school, but also athletic coaches, driving instructors, and special education assistants, such as signers for the hearing impaired. For "instructional employees," the following rules apply:

    To take leave of a particular duration not to exceed the duration of the planned leave (the entire period of leave is counted as FMLA leave); or to temporarily transfer to another position, so long as such position has equivalent pay and benefits and is a position for which they are qualified. 

    If leave is requested near the end of the term, the following rules apply regarding job restoration:

    School may require continuous leave until the end of the term if:

     ·        Period of leave lasts more than five working days.

    Leave within last five weeks of the Academic Term for a purpose other than the instructional employee's own serious health condition

    ·        Period of leave is longer than two weeks; and

    ·        Return to work would occur within two weeks of the end of the Academic Term.

    Leave more than five weeks prior to the end of the Academic Term

    School may require continuous leave until the end of the term if:

    ·        Period of leave is at least three weeks;

    ·        Return to work would occur during the last three weeks of the Academic Term.

    In these cases, only the period of leave taken until the employee is ready to return to work may be charged against the instructional employee's twelve weeks (not the additional time the school requires the employee to not work).

    Married Employees Who Work for the Same Employer

    Another rule that often applies in the school setting applies when two eligible employees are married and work for the same employer. When the reason triggering the need for leave is for the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, or to care for the employee's parent with a serious health condition, such leave can be limited to a combined total of 12 workweeks (provided, however, that a combined total of 26 weeks applies if caring for a covered service member with a serious illness).

    But this limitation does not apply, if leave is taken by either spouse to care for the other spouse, or leave taken to care for a child or the employee's own serious health condition.