The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires that the State System of Higher Education provide at least twelve weeks of leave (with or without pay) with benefits within a rolling twelve-month period to employees who have serious health conditions; who become parents through childbirth, adoption, or foster care placement; or who are needed to care for a seriously ill family member, as long as the employee has been employed at least one year (total employment, even if the employment was not continuous) and has been paid for at least 1,250 hours, (which includes regular and overtime hours paid, but excludes holidays and other paid time off) during the previous twelve-month period. Provided below is information about the State System’s family care leave without pay with benefits program. All family care leave without pay used will be designated as leave under the provisions of the FMLA.
Permanent/regular employees with at least one year of service (total employment, even if the employment was not continuous) are entitled to twelve weeks (450 hours for employees who work 7.5 hour days, 480 hours for employees who work 8.0 hour days, or a prorated amount of hours for part-time employees) of family care leave without pay every calendar year to care or arrange care for a family member with a serious health condition. Leave time is calculated on an hour-for-hour basis against the hours of entitlement.
Family member, for this purpose, is defined as a spouse, parent, child, or other person qualifying as a dependent under the IRS eligibility criteria. A parent can be a biological parent or an individual who stood as a parent (in loco parentis) to the employee when the employee was a child. A child can be a biological child, adopted child, foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child of a person who is standing as a parent (in loco parentis); a child must be under age eighteen, or eighteen years or older and incapable of self-care because of mental or physical disability.
Written notification stating the name and relationship of the person to be cared for and anticipated duration of the leave must be submitted to request family care leave without pay. Also required is a doctor’s certificate stating that the family member has a serious health condition which requires the employee’s care or requires the employee to arrange care, the date the illness or disability began, and its anticipated duration.
Before, during, after, or instead of family care leave without pay, employees may use accrued annual, personal, and/or if applicable sick family leave, provided the leave would qualify as family care leave without pay. The use of paid leave shall not be included when calculating the family care leave entitlement.
Employees may use leave on an intermittent or reduced-time basis at any time before family care leave without pay entitlement expires. Contact the Office of Human Resources, (724) 357-2431, for details regarding this option.
Employees are eligible for a maximum of twelve weeks (450 hours for employees who work 7.5 hour days, 480 hours for employees who work 8.0 hour days, or a prorated amount for part-time employees) of benefits while on family care leave without pay. The benefit entitlement includes both short- and long-term unpaid absences.
The following benefits continue during the entitlement period:
Employees have the right to return to the same position or an equivalent position with regard to pay and skill upon return from leave without pay. Failure to return to work following the termination of a leave without pay shall subject the employee to disciplinary action up to and including termination effective of the first day after the leave without pay ends.
Questions concerning family care leave without pay or the benefit entitlements while on a leave without pay may be referred to the Office of Human Resources, G-8 Sutton Hall, (724) 357-2431.