Family and Medical - FMLA Leave
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the maximum leave time allowed under an FMLA leave?
Typically, an Eligible Individual has a total of 12 unpaid weeks for all FMLA leaves in any fiscal year. However, if the FML is to act as a caregiver for a military family member, the Eligible Individual could have a total of 26 unpaid weeks in a single 12-month period.
- Are these paid or unpaid leaves?
The FMLA leave itself is unpaid. However, the policy requires that Eligible Individuals use the following paid leaves in the order listed concurrent with the FMLA leave.
For all qualifying reasons other than the birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption:
- 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;
- accrued compensatory time, if available; and
- accrued vacation leave in excess of 10 days to which the Eligible Individual is entitled.
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 FMLA leave is paid as a workers' compensation absence, then the employee is not required to use other forms of paid leave.
- What position does the Eligible Individual get assigned to upon return from an FMLA leave?
Under FMLA, the Eligible Individual is generally guaranteed the same or equivalent position upon return to work at the end of the FMLA leave unless that position has been eliminated through the ordinary course of business, including, but not limited to layoff, non-renewal or program curtailment. If an Eligible Individual is unable to perform an essential function of the job when the FMLA leave ends, then the Eligible Individual has no right to return to that position under the FMLA. In such cases, the Disability Resource Center should be involved to assess the University's obligations under disability laws.
- Do temporary employees have any rights under FMLA?
Temporary employees are eligible for FMLA leave if they have worked (anywhere) at the University of Minnesota for at least 12 months over the last seven years and they have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding the commencement of the leave. If a temporary employee's appointment has expired, then that temporary employee is no longer an employee and is not eligible for leave. If the temporary appointment expires or the position is eliminated during the leave, the temporary employee's employment will be terminated and the leave will end on the last day of the appointment.
- Does the University of Minnesota contribute towards medical and dental coverage during an FMLA leave?
Yes, if an Eligible Individual was eligible for University contributions for health premiums immediately prior to the leave, the University will continue to contribute its share during FMLA leave, or any paid leave during which the employee is receiving at least 50% of base pay, whichever would be longer. Paid leave includes sick leave, compensatory time, parental leave, and vacation. Coverage will be canceled if the Eligible Individual does not pay their share of the premium or if it is more than 30 days late.
- What happens if the Eligible Individual’s appointment ends while the individual is on FMLA?
If an Eligible Individual's appointment ends while on FMLA:
- The FMLA leave ends as of the last day of the appointment; and
- The medical and dental subsidy ends as of the last day of the pay period which includes the last day of the appointment. However, the Eligible Individual's medical coverage will be in effect through the last day of the month; and
- Any retirement contributions will cease with the Eligible Individual's last paycheck; and
- Any service accruals under MSRS to which the Eligible Individual may be entitled will end as of the last day of the appointment.
- What period constitutes a "year" for the purposes of FMLA leave?
The "year" used by the University under the FMLA is the fiscal year from July 1 to June 30. Note, however, that the 12-month period for military caregiver FMLA leave is 12 months from when the leave commences.
- May an Eligible Individual drop optional insurance coverages during FMLA leave?Yes, an Eligible Individual may drop optional life and disability coverages during an FMLA leave.
Coverages will be reinstated without evidence of good health at the end of the leave or when the Eligible Individual returns to active employment, whichever is sooner. If the leave extends beyond approved FMLA leave and lasts longer than 12 months, coverages may be reinstated with evidence of good health or at the next available open enrollment. If the Eligible Individual chooses not to continue life or disability coverage, and subsequently should die or become disabled when coverages are not in force, no benefits are payable for that disability or death.
- What happens if an Eligible Individual gives notice of intent not to return? Are their benefits terminated?
Yes, as long as the notice is "unequivocal." One form of an unequivocal notice is when the Eligible Individual submits a written letter of resignation. The individual has the option to continue coverage through COBRA following termination of employment.
- Is it permissible to transfer an Eligible Individual to another position during an FMLA leave?
The University may temporarily transfer an Eligible Individual to an alternative position in order to accommodate intermittent leave or leave on a reduced schedule that is foreseeable based on planned medical treatment. The Eligible Individual must be qualified for the alternative position, and the position must provide equivalent pay and benefits.. Otherwise, an Eligible Individual on an FMLA leave may not be transferred to an alternative position during that leave. Consult human resources before making any transfers of employees during FMLA leaves.
- Does the University contribute to the health insurance of Eligible Individuals while they are on an approved FMLA leave?
- Can an employee request sick leave or vacation for a serious health condition and NOT count this toward the 12-week FMLA period?
No. If the employee meets the criteria for FMLA leave and the leave is for an FMLA-qualifying reason, then it is designated as and counted as FMLA leave.
- Is a new 12 weeks of FMLA leave available to an employee on/after July 1 of each year?
Yes. 12 weeks of FMLA leave are available each fiscal year for eligible employees for FMLA-qualifying reasons.
- How does the FMLA leave eligibility apply to student employees, graduate assistants, and professionals-in-training (95xx job codes)?
Student employees, graduate assistants, and professionals-in-training (95xx job codes) are eligible for FMLA leave, provided they meet the eligibility requirements (12 months employment at the University and 1,250 hours worked in the 12 months preceding the leave).
- How is FMLA usage counted during holiday weeks?
A holiday during a full week of FMLA leave has no effect; the week is still counted as one week of FMLA leave. If the Eligible Individual works any part of a workweek during which a holiday falls, the holiday does not count as FMLA leave unless the Eligible Individual was scheduled to work on the holiday.
- If an individual has been employed by the University for at least 9 months and has provided an average of 20 hours or more per week but has not been here for the 12 months of service, can that individual take a leave that is covered under FMLA?
No. An employee must meet both eligibility requirements in order to qualify.
- Can an administrator place an employee on FMLA leave if the employee fails to request the leave?
Yes. A responsible administrator/supervisor should place employees on FMLA who meet the eligibility requirements and have qualifying circumstances. NOTE: within five business days after receiving complete, sufficient certification or, if no certification was requested, after sufficient information is provided indicating a need for FMLA-qualifying leave, the responsible administrator/supervisor must provide notice to the employee that the leave is being designated as FMLA leave.
- Can an administrator deny or delay a FMLA leave even if the employee meets the eligibility requirements and has a serious health condition?
Yes. If an Eligible Individual fails to request a leave in a timely manner or fails to provide complete and sufficient certification after requested, FMLA leave may be denied or delayed. Whether FMLA leave should be denied or delayed in a particular situation depends on the unique facts and circumstances of that situation. Human resources should be involved in assessing the situation before any decision to deny or delay a FMLA leave is made.
- Can time spent as a student employee be combined with time employed in any other employee group (academic, civil service, labor represented, etc.) appointment to fulfill the eligibility requirement of at least twelve months of University employment and 1,250 hours worked?
Yes, provided all of the employment at issue has been within the University.
- Is workers' compensation leave counted simultaneously with that of FMLA leave?
- Is FMLA leave determined by weeks or days or portions thereof? For example, if an employee is on a 50 percent time appointment and begins an FMLA leave, is the FMLA leave period 12 weeks or 24 weeks?
The FMLA leave period is defined specifically as 12 weeks. For Eligible Individuals on less than a 100% appointment, the 12 week FMLA leave available in the 12 month period is prorated based on the employee's percentage appointment. For example, an Eligible Individual on a 50 percent appointment would be eligible for an FMLA leave of 12 weeks at 50 percent time.
- How do you calculate intermittent FMLA leave?
Intermittent FMLA Leave is counted in hours. As an example, an Eligible Individual with a 100 percent time appointment who is on intermittent FMLA leave is entitled to the hour equivalent of 12 weeks at 100 percent time (480 hours). Leave taken against that amount must be tracked at the local unit in a manner sufficient to demonstrate the use of leave against the 480 hours available.
- When should an Eligible Individual's absence be designated as FMLA leave?
Within five business days after receiving complete, sufficient certification, or, if no certification was requested, after sufficient information is provided indicating a need for FMLA-qualifying leave, the supervisor/responsible administrator should provide notice to the employee that the leave is or is not being designated as FMLA leave.
- If FMLA leave is taken for the birth or placement of a child, by what time period must the leave be concluded?
An employee's FMLA leave taken for the birth or placement of a child must be completed by the end of the 12-month period that begins on the date of the birth or placement.
- For the birth or placement of a child where both parents are employed at the University, how much FMLA leave are the parents entitled to take?
Each parent is entitled to 12 weeks of FMLA leave for the birth or adoption of a child assuming each otherwise meets FMLA eligibility requirements. When both parents work in the same department/division, the responsible administrator may exercise discretion in approving timing of the leaves to address resources and work coverage of the department/division.
- What time is credited in determining whether an Eligible Individual worked at least 1250 hours in the 12 months preceding the request for an FMLA leave?
All paid time is credited in making this determination, whether worked time or otherwise paid time off.
- In the event that an Eligible individual is unable to communicate their status to the University, can a family member do so in their place?