University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Family and Medical - FMLA Leave

Policy Statement

Once it is clear that an eligible individual is out for an FMLA qualifying reason, they should be placed on FMLA leave and the Leave Specialist must provide Department of Labor Form WH 381: Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities to the eligible individual along with any requested certification forms concerning the FMLA-qualifying leave. Whether to request additional documentation, and/or medical certification for the absence is at the unit’s discretion.

Eligible Individual

All types of University faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and student workers, are eligible for FMLA leave if they meet both of the following conditions.

  • They have worked at the University for at least 12 months. These 12 months need not be consecutive; however, if an eligible individual has had a break in University service of greater than seven years, prior periods of employment will not be counted subject to certain exceptions set forth in the federal law.
  • They worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding commencement of the leave.

All paid time should be credited for purposes of determining eligibility.

Union-represented eligible individuals are first covered by FMLA language as stated in their respective collective bargaining agreements. Union represented eligible individuals and unit administrators should refer to the provisions in those agreements first when taking or administering FMLA leave.

Protections of FMLA Leave

An eligible individual returning to work following an FMLA leave is able to return to the same position or an equivalent one. The eligible individual is not guaranteed the actual position they held prior to the leave. An “equivalent position” means a job that is virtually identical to the original one in terms of pay, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions.

Use of Paid Leave

Unless otherwise specified, all eligible individuals are required to use, concurrently with the FMLA leave, the following paid leaves in the order listed:

  1. For all qualifying reasons other than the birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption:
    1. sick leave or salary continuation (including academic disability) that is available for use as defined by the contract, rule, or policy governing the reason for the leave;
    2. accrued compensatory time, if available; and
    3. accrued vacation leave in excess of 10 days to which the Eligible Individual is entitled.
  2. For FMLA leave taken as a result of the birth or adoption of a child, the eligible individual is required to use paid leave as specified in A. above, until such time as the eligible individual elects to take the University’s paid parental leave. At that point, paid parental leave takes precedence over the other types of available paid leave for the duration of the eligible FMLA leave period.

Where the order as specified above is in conflict with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement, the terms of the agreement control.

If the FMLA leave is paid as a workers’ compensation absence, then the eligible individual is not required to use other forms of paid leave.

If an eligible individual does not have applicable paid leave, the eligible individual must take unpaid FMLA leave.

Compliance with Federal Law

The federal FMLA will be followed in all ways in regard to requests, granting, and record keeping for leaves eligible under FMLA. Please note that FMLA does provide additional leave for servicemembers.

Reason for Policy

This policy implements Board of Regents Policy: Employee Work-Life and Personal Leaves (PDF). The University provides a family and medical (FMLA) leave in accordance with federal laws and regulations. FMLA is intended to allow eligible individuals to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for a serious health condition, for the birth or adoption of a child, and for the care of an immediate family member who has a serious health condition or who is called to certain active duty status in the Armed Forces. The Act is intended to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families, to promote the stability and economic security of families, and to promote national interests in preserving family integrity.


Policy Contacts
Subject Contact Phone Email
General Information or Procedural Assistance
  • Primary: Leave Specialist
  • Secondary: Local campus, college, or administrative unit HR administrator
  • Other (as needed): Office of Human Resources consultant
612-624-8647; 800-756-2363
Local Campus, College or Administrative unit HR
[email protected]
Document Processing and Employee Benefits Information
  • Primary: Responsible administrator/ supervisor
  • Secondary: Local campus, college, or administrative unit HR administrator
  • OHR Contact Center
612-624-8647; 800-756-2363 [email protected]
Disability Resource Center · Disability Resource Center 612-626-1333 [email protected]
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Vice President, Office of Human Resources
  • Senior Director - Total Rewards
  • See Contacts Table above


Authorized Health Care Provider
A doctor of medicine or osteopathy who is authorized to practice medicine or surgery by the state where they practice. The definition also includes: podiatrists, dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists, chiropractors (related to spinal manipulation), nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, clinical social workers, physician assistants, and listed Christian Science practitioners. These professionals, including health care providers practicing in a country other than the United States, must be authorized to practice in that state/country and must be performing within the scope of their practice as defined under state law.
Covered Servicemember
A current member of or member on the temporary disability retired list of the Armed Forces, including the Regular Armed Forces and National Guard or Reserves. This term also includes any veteran who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable up to five years prior to the start date of FMLA leave. For military caregiver leave, the covered servicemember's serious injury or illness eligible for FMLA leave are described in 29 CFR 825.309.
Eligible Individual
Faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and student workers who have: a) worked at the University a minimum of twelve months and b) worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding commencement of the leave. Note that all paid time is counted toward these eligibility requirements.
Eligible Individual's Parent
A biological, adoptive, step or foster parent or an individual who stands or stood in loco parentis to an eligible individual when the eligible individual was a child.
Eligible Individual's Child
The eligible individual’s biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child by virtue of the eligible individual standing in loco parentis who is either under the age of 18 or age 18 or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability at the time that FMLA leave is to commence. For FMLA leave related to qualifying exigency or military caregiver, the child may be of any age and capacity of self-care is inapplicable.
Eligible Individual's Spouse
The eligible individual’s spouse as recognized under Minnesota law.
Fiscal Year
July 1 through June 30
Qualifying Exigency
One of the following situations where an immediate family member (a) is deployed to a foreign country as a member of the Regular Armed Forces or (b) is on or receives a federal call to active duty status to a foreign country as a member of the Reserves or a retired member of the Regular Armed Forces or Reserves:
  • Short-notice deployment activities (limited to seven calendar days of FMLA leave): to address any issues arising from the impending call or order to active duty if the military servicemember receives seven or less calendar days’ notice prior to the date of deployment;
  • Military events and related activities: to attend any official military-sponsored ceremony, program, or event or certain family support or assistance programs and informational briefings related to the call or active duty;
  • Childcare and school activities of the military servicemembers’ child: to make alternative childcare arrangements, to provide childcare on an urgent, immediate need basis, to enroll in or transfer schools or daycare facilities, and/or to attend meetings with school or daycare staff;
  • Financial and legal arrangements: to make or update financial or legal arrangements to address the military servicemember’s absence and/or to act as the military servicemember’s representative before a federal, state, or local agency for purposes of obtaining, arranging, or appealing military service benefits;
  • Counseling activities: to attend counseling provided the need arises from the call to or active duty status, it is provided by someone other than a healthcare provider, and it is for the eligible individual, the military servicemember, or the servicemember’s child;
  • Rest and recuperation activities (limited to five workdays per instance): to spend time with the military servicemember who is granted short-term, temporary rest and recuperation leave;
  • Post-deployment activities: to attend military-sponsored, official ceremonies or programs or to address issues that arise from the death of the military servicemember while on active duty status; and/or
  • Additional activities: to address other issues provided the need arises out of the military servicemember’s call to or active duty status and the University and supervisor/responsible administrator agree that the leave is considered qualifying exigency and upon the timing and duration of the leave.
Serious Health Condition
  • An illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves one of the following:
  • Hospital Care: Inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with or consequent to such inpatient care.
  • Absence Plus Treatment: A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive, full calendar days (including any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition), that also involves:
  • Treatment two or more times, within 30 days of the first day of incapacity, unless extenuating circumstances exist, by a health care provider, by a nurse or physician's assistant under direct supervision of a health care provider, or by a provider of health care services (e.g., physical therapist) under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider, or
  • Treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the health care provider.
  • Pregnancy: Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care.
  • Chronic Conditions Requiring Treatments: A chronic condition which
    • Requires periodic visits (at least twice a year) for treatment by a health care provider or by a nurse or physician's assistant under direct supervision of a health care provider; and
    • Continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of a single underlying condition); and
    • May cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity (e.g. asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.)
  • Permanent/Long-Term Conditions Requiring Supervision: A period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. The eligible individual or family member must be under the continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a health care provider. Examples include Alzheimer's, a severe stroke, or the terminal stages of a disease.
  • Multiple Treatments (Non-Chronic Conditions): Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery) by a health care provider or by a provider of health care services under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider, either for restorative surgery after an accident or other injury, or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive, full calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment such as cancer (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.) severe arthritis (physical therapy), kidney disease (dialysis).


Eligible Individual
  • Notify the supervisor orally or in writing of a need for foreseeable FMLA leave with at least 30 days’ notice whenever possible, so as not to unduly disrupt the department's operation.
  • Notify the supervisor orally or in writing of a need for unforeseeable FMLA leave as soon as practicable.
  • When requested, provide medical or other certification to the supervisor/responsible administrator to support any FMLA leave.
Office of Human Resources Leave Administration
  • Assist employees with FMLA leave administration.
  • Advise supervisors/responsible administrators on FMLA leave management.
  • Inform the University community of FMLA leave provisions and requirements.

Related Information


December 2022 - Changes are due to OHR centralizing the leave of absence administration process.
October 2019 - Comprehensive Review. Includes a new section (Use of Paid Leave) which provides a clear road map to employees on when various paid leave, including parental leave, must be used in conjunction with the otherwise unpaid FMLA leave. Improve clarity, consistency, and alignment with other leave policies.
March 2013 - Policy updated to comply with U.S. Department of Labor’s Final Rules. Revisions include:
  • Expanding military “qualifying exigency” to include parental care activities, increase rest and recuperation leave maximum to 15 days, and clarify covered active duty;
  • Crediting USERRA-covered service absence towards hours worked for leave eligibility;
  • Clarifying “covered servicemember” to include veterans and modifying the definition of their serious injuries and illnesses.
  • Eliminating University Forms UM1702 and UM1703 and replacing with reliance on federal-provided forms for military family leave.
January 2010 - Policy updated to comply with 2010 National Defense Authorization Act. Revisions include:
  • Expansion of military caregiver leave (including in revised form UM1702) to encompass certain veterans;
  • Expansion of definition of "qualifying exigency" (including in revised form UM1703) to include members in the Regular Armed Forces who are deployed to foreign countries.
February 2009 - Policy updated to comply with final regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. Revisions include:
  • Providing military family FMLA leave related to a qualifying exigency;
  • Providing military family FMLA leave related to acting as a caregiver;
  • Clarifying calculation of 12 months University employment;
  • Clarifying all University employees are able to take FMLA leaves if they meet the eligibility criteria;
  • Clarifying confirmation of family relationship documentation;
  • Adding definitions of "covered servicemember," "immediate family member," "next of kin," and "qualifying exigency;" and
  • Clarifying definitions of "authorized health care provider," "employee's parent," "employee's son or daughter," "employee's spouse," and "serious health condition."
December 2007 - Policy converted to the new University-wide format for administrative policies.
October 2006 - Removed confusing eligibility language under Official Language, Section G, Graduate Assistants.
March 2004 - Clarification in language with relation to use of sick and vacation leave, updated HRMS information and minor edits, and clarifications made. Two new forms added:
  • UM 1602 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Certification for Birth/Care of Newborn (pdf)
  • UM 1603 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Certification of Adoption or Foster Care Placement (pdf)
January 2004 - Minor clarifications in language. Added "Benefits" to Official Language - C. Benefits Reinstatement to clarify the focus of that section.
March 2003 - Minor clarifications in language.
July 2002 - Minor clarifications in language, additional information added under Frequently Asked Questions
April 1995 - Final rules issued by the Department of Labor. Major changes include:
  1. Redefinition of serious illness and other terms, e.g., health care provider, and
  2. Requiring FMLA documentation be given to faculty and staff within two business days of request or immediately upon notification of FMLA leave instatement without employee request.
April 1995 - Original FMLA policy for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement or the date of contract signing.
August 1993 - Original FMLA policy for employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
September 2002