University of Minnesota  Procedure

Requesting, Approving, and Placing Employees on FMLA Leave

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Governing Policy

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Table of Contents

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Notice of Need for FMLA - Qualifying Leave

Faculty and staff members have the obligation to provide timely notice to their supervisors and the Leave Administration team about the need for FMLA-qualifying leave. Where the need for leave is foreseeable, such as for an expected birth or adoption or foster care placement or planned medical treatment, 30 days notice is to be provided to the supervisor and Leave Specialist before the leave is to begin. If 30 days notice is not feasible, then notice must be given as soon as practicable. The employee advises the supervisor and their Leave Specialist as soon as practicable if the dates of a scheduled leave change, are extended, or become known.

When planning medical treatment, an employee consults with the supervisor prior to the scheduling in order to work out a treatment schedule which best meets the needs of the employee and the work unit. If an employee fails to consult regarding scheduling, the responsible administrator/supervisor may require that the employee attempt to make different arrangements subject to health care provider approval.

Where the need for leave is unforeseeable, an employee provides notice to the Leave of Absence Specialist as soon as practicable under the facts and circumstances of the particular situation. The employee, absent unusual circumstances, should provide notice of the need for leave in keeping with any unit work rules for calling in sick or reporting an absence. This notice may be given by another responsible person if the employee is unable to do so personally.

An employee’s notice about the need for leave should be sufficient to make the Leave of Absence Specialist aware that it is for an FMLA-qualifying reason and should include the anticipated timing and duration of the leave. If the leave is due to an FMLA-qualifying reason for which the employee previously had FMLA leave, then the employee needs to mention the need for FMLA leave or the qualifying reason when providing notice. An employee has the obligation to respond to requests from the Leave of Absence Specialist for additional information to determine whether an absence is potentially FMLA-qualifying.

If an employee fails to provide proper notice of the need for an FMLA-qualifying need, then FMLA coverage may be delayed for a period of time dependent on the facts and circumstances of the particular situation.

Once the employee has given notice of the need for FMLA qualifying leave, the Leave of Absence Specialist must provide the employee with Form WH 381, Notice of Eligibility & Rights and Responsibilities U.S. Department of Labor under the Family and Medical Leave Act within five (5) business days of the notice.

Certification of FMLA-Qualifying Leave

Certification of the FMLA leave is required. The Leave of Absence Specialist should request certification of the FMLA-qualifying leave from the employee when notice of the need for leave is given or within five business days thereafter. For unforeseeable leaves, certification should be requested within five business days after the leave commences. Certification may be requested later if any reason arises to question the appropriateness of the leave or its duration.

Employees provide complete and sufficient certification within 15 calendar days after the request unless it is not practicable under the particular circumstances despite the employee’s diligent, good faith efforts or if the Leave of Absence Specialist permits more than 15 calendar days.

Complete and sufficient certification means that the applicable entries on the certification form are completed and are not vague, ambiguous, or non-responsive. If the certification is incomplete or insufficient, then the Leave of Absence Specialist will advise the employee in writing about what additional information is necessary. An employee has seven calendar days to provide the additional information unless it is not practicable under the circumstances. Otherwise, if the additional information is not provided, the FMLA leave may be denied until required certification is provided.

Designation of FMLA-Qualifying Leave

Using Form WH 382, the Leave of Absence Specialist provides notice to the employee that the leave is designated as FMLA-qualifying leave within five business days after complete, sufficient certification is provided or, where certification is not requested, within five business days after sufficient information is provided indicating an FMLA-qualifying leave is needed.

If the reason for leave is FMLA-qualifying, but the employee does not meet the eligibility requirements to take such a leave, then the Leave of Absence Specialist provides notice to the employee about the anticipated date for FMLA eligibility.

Entering FMLA in HRMS

Leave Documentation Process in FMLA:

The use of FMLA leave other than intermittent leave, must be documented in the employee’s JOB record in HRMS using the following action/action reason codes. This includes the use of paid and unpaid leave used concurrently with the FMLA leave. Additionally, concurrent paid leave that is accrued and banked (e.g., vacation, sick, comp time) must also be decremented using the absence management system.

Intermittent FMLA leave must be documented and will be tracked by the Leave Administration team.

Summary of Responsibilities

Employee

  • Notify the supervisor/responsible administrator of a need for foreseeable FMLA-qualifying leave with at least 30 days notice whenever possible, so as not to unduly disrupt the work unit's operations.
  • Notify the Leave of Absence Specialist of a need for foreseeable FMLA-qualifying leave with at least 30 days notice whenever possible, so as not to unduly disrupt the work unit’s operations.
  • Notify the Leave of Absence Specialist of a need for unforeseeable FMLA leave as soon as practicable. This notice should be in keeping with any unit work rules for calling in sick or reporting an absence.
  • Consult with the Leave of Absence Specialist prior to scheduling medical treatment during work hours in order to work out a treatment schedule which best meets the needs of you and the work unit.
  • When requested, provide medical or other certification to the Leave of Absence Specialist within 15 calendar days from the request or by a later specified due date.
  • If the Leave of Absence Specialist advises that certification is incomplete or insufficient, provide the additional requested information within seven calendar days of the request or by a later specified due date.
  • Provide any requested recertification or certification of fitness for duty in a timely manner.
  • Before the anticipated end date of a leave, communicate with the Leave of Absence Specialist regarding return to work or the medical necessity of additional leave beyond 12 workweeks.
  • Consult with the Leave of Absence Specialist or human resources if you need additional information regarding a leave. Also be aware of the Disability Resource Center as a resource regarding disabilities and medical conditions.