Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions
Complete List of Benefits > FMLA Benefits

Q1 How much leave am I entitled to under FMLA?
  If you are an "eligible" employee, you are entitled to use up to 12 weeks of leave for certain family and medical reasons during a 12-month period.

Q2 How is the 12-month period calculated under FMLA?
  UNI uses a "rolling" 12-month period. This means that FMLA leave cannot exceed 12 weeks during any 12-month period.

Q3 Which employees are eligible to take FMLA leave?
  Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave if they have worked for the University for at least 12 months, and have worked for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months.

Q4 Do the 12 months of service with the University have to be continuous or consecutive?
  No. The 12 months do not have to be continuous or consecutive; all time worked for UNI is counted.

Q5 Do the 1,250 hours include paid leave time or other absences from work?
  No. The 1,250 hours include only those hours actually worked for the University. Paid and unpaid leave, including FMLA leave, are not counted.

Q6 I have been at UNI for a year but I only work 50% time. Am I eligible for FMLA leave?
  No. FMLA leave requires that an employee have worked 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months. This requirement works out to approximately a 60% work schedule.

Q7 I work only during the academic year when classes are in session. Is the time when classes are not in session when I am not required to be at work counted against my FMLA entitlement?
  No. Any break in normal schedule of one week or more when the employee would not otherwise be expected to be at work does not count against an employee’s FMLA entitlement.

Q8 If there is a paid holiday during my FMLA leave is that day counted as part of my leave?
  Yes. If a holiday falls during a week of continuous FMLA leave the full week is still counted as FMLA leave.

Q9 Does the law guarantee paid time off?
  No. The FMLA only requires unpaid leave. Depending upon the circumstances of your leave, UNI may either require or allow employees to use accrued paid leave to remain in pay status during a FMLA leave.

Q10 I am expecting a baby this year. I have lots of sick leave accrued. Can I use 12 weeks of sick leave on my FMLA leave?

You can use sick leave only during the period that your physician certifies that you are unable to work because of the pregnancy and delivery. Any leave beyond that period must be taken as vacation, compensatory time off or leave without pay.

Q11 Do I have to give UNI my medical records for leave due to a serious health condition?
  No. You do not have to provide medical records. You must, however, have your health care provider complete the medical certification form that is sent to you by the University. You must return this form within 15 days after you receive it.

Q12 Can UNI make inquiries about my leave during my absence?
  Yes, but inquiries can only be made to you. UNI can request a second medical opinion regarding the meeting of the "serious health condition" requirements and can also request an update of your medical certification every 30 days or sooner under certain circumstances.

Q13 Can UNI require me to return to work before I exhaust my leave?
  Yes. UNI can require you to return to work if you no longer have a serious health condition as defined by FMLA or if you fail to fulfill your obligation to provide supporting medical certification. UNI may not, however, require you to return to work early by offering you a light duty assignment.

Q14 Can I return to work before my 12 weeks of FMLA entitlement is taken?
  Yes. You are not allowed to take more FMLA leave than is necessary to resolve the circumstances for which the leave was needed. If your leave is due to your own serious health condition, you must have a certificate from your physician releasing you to return to work. UNI has the right to require a second opinion (see Certification required for return to work). If your leave is due to the birth or placement of a child, you are not required to take the entire 12-week leave. However, since this leave must be continuous, once you return to work you cannot take any remaining entitlement at a later date unless the child has a serious health condition.

Q15 Are there any restrictions on how I spend my time while on FMLA leave?
  UNI does not restrict how you spend your time while on FMLA leave unless the reason for the leave no longer exists, you have failed to provide requested medical certification, or if the reason for the leave has been misrepresented.

Q16 Can UNI refuse to grant me FMLA leave?
  Yes, if you are not eligible for FMLA leave or if the reason you use to request leave does not qualify under the FMLA.

Q17 I am working but I am also undergoing radiation treatment for cancer. Can I schedule these treatments whenever I choose?
  You must talk to your supervisor and try to schedule treatments at times that will cause the least disruption to your department.

Q18 My physician tells me that I need surgery but it doesn’t need to be done immediately. Can I schedule the surgery whenever I want to?
  Since the need for surgery is not immediate you must talk to your supervisor and try to schedule your leave for a period when it will cause the least disruption to your department. If the need for the surgery is immediate, you should schedule it as soon as possible.

Q19 The FMLA law says that I must give the University 30 days’ notice before I take a FMLA leave. What if my father has a heart attack? Am I required to wait 30 days before I can start my leave?
  The FMLA law says that you must give 30 days’ notice if feasible. In an emergency situation, you must give notice to your department within one to two working days of learning of the need for the leave.

Q20 I have been using my accrued vacation for the past two weeks to take care of my mother who has a serious health condition. I only told my department that I was taking vacation - not that I was caring for my mother. Do these past two weeks count as part of my FMLA entitlement?
  Under the Department of Labor regulations, UNI may retroactively designate FMLA leave if the employee has not told the University of the reason for the leave or has failed to return the required medical certification.

Q21 Does workers’ compensation leave count against an employee’s FMLA leave entitlement?
  It can. FMLA leave and workers’ compensation leave can run together, provided the reason for the absence is due to a qualifying serious illness or injury and the University notifies the employee in writing that the leave will be counted as FMLA leave.

Q22 Can the University count leave taken due to pregnancy complications against the 12 weeks of FMLA leave for the birth and care of my child?
  Yes. An eligible employee is entitled to a total of 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period. If the employee has to use some of that leave for another reason, including a difficult pregnancy, it may be counted as part of the 12-week FMLA leave entitlement.

Q23 Can the University count time on maternity leave as FMLA leave?
  Yes. Maternity leave for the birth of a child would be considered qualifying FMLA leave (for a serious health condition) and may be counted as part of the 12 weeks of leave.

Q24 Who is considered an immediate "family member" for purposes of taking FMLA leave?

An employee’s spouse, children and parents are immediate family members for the purposes of FMLA. The term parent does not include a parent "in-law." The term children does not include children over the age of 18 unless they are "incapable of self-care" because of a mental or physical disability.

Q25 May I take FMLA leave for visits to a physical therapist, if my doctor prescribes the therapy?
  Yes. Assuming you meet the "serious health condition" criteria, FMLA permits you to take leave to receive "continuing treatment by a health care provider." This can include treatment ordered by a doctor but administered by other health care professionals.

Q26 I am a Merit employee. Will I receive my salary increase on my normal anniversary date even though I am on FMLA leave?
  You may not. Unpaid FMLA leaves of 30 calendar days or more will cause the University to adjust the merit increase date. This new merit increase date will become the employee’s permanent date.

Q27 Will I receive my scheduled July 1 salary increase while I am on an FMLA leave?
  Yes. Employees on FMLA leave are eligible to receive all across-the-board salary increases that are not contingent upon an anniversary date or performance appraisal.

Q28 I am on an unpaid FMLA leave. Because I am not being paid I don’t have the money to pay my share of the health and dental insurance premiums. Can UNI cancel my coverage?
  UNI must send you a notice 15 days’ notice after the date the premium is due. If the premium is still not paid 30 days after the date the premium was due, your coverage will be cancelled.

Q29 Does UNI have to continue my other benefits while I am on an unpaid leave?
  No. FMLA only requires that the University continue your health and dental insurance.

Q31 I want to take FMLA leave when I adopt a child, but will the University fill my position while I am away and will I have to accept another position or another shift?
  An employee returning from a FMLA leave is entitled to his/her same job or an equivalent position with no loss of pay or status. Equivalent position is defined as a position in the same job location, with the same shift or equivalent work schedule, requiring substantially equivalent skill, effort, responsibility and authority and having the same pay and benefits.

Q32 If UNI has a layoff while I am on FMLA leave and my job would have been affected by the layoff, will I still have the entitlement to the same or equivalent position at the end of my leave?
  No. FMLA leave does not offer you any greater job protection than you would have had if you had not taken a leave.

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Date Updated: April 22, 2010