Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) Procedures
I. Notice and Reporting by Employees
- Employees desiring Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) leave must give at least 30 days notice to the College of the need for leave, whenever foreseeable, following usual and customary procedures for reporting an absence. When foreseeable leave is due to a qualifying exigency, notice must be provided as soon as practical, regardless of how far in advance leave was foreseeable. For qualifying exigency and military caregivers’ reasons, employees must provide sufficient information to indicate need for FMLA leave with anticipated timing and duration of leave.
- Whenever leave is needed for a planned medical treatment, whether for an immediate family member or the employee, the employee should make efforts to schedule the treatment so as to minimize disruption to the operations of the College.
- An employee on FMLA leave will be required to report periodically on his/her status and intention to return to work.
- Employees should advise the College if and when they decide unequivocally not to return to work.
- If an employee fails to give 30 days notice for foreseeable leave with no reasonable excuse for the delay, the College may deny the taking of the FMLA leave until at least 30 days after the date the employee provides notice.
II. Designation of Leave
It is the College's responsibility to determine that an employee is eligible for FMLA leave. An employee may submit an application for Family Medical Leave which can be obtained from the Human Resources department or online at the Human Resources website. However, the determining factor in designating FMLA leave is the qualifying reason(s), not the employee's election or reluctance to use FMLA leave or to use all, some, or none of the accrued leave. The College's designation must be based on information obtained from the employee or the employee's authorized representative.
If an employee notifies the College of the need for FMLA leave before the employee meets the eligibility criteria, the College will:
- Confirm the employee's eligibility effective on the date leave is to start, or
- Advise the employee when the requirement will be met.
Employees seeking to use FMLA leave may be required, at the election of the College, to provide:
- Medical certifications supporting the need for leave due to a serious health condition affecting the employee, an immediate family member, or a covered service member no later than 15 calendar days after the request by the College.
- Second or third medical opinions and periodic re-certification (at the College's expense). The College is permitted to designate the healthcare provider to furnish the second opinion, but the selected healthcare provider may not be employed on a regular basis by the College. If the opinions of the employee's and the College's designated healthcare providers differ, the College may require the employee to obtain certification from a third healthcare provider, again at the College's expense. This third opinion shall be final and binding. The third healthcare provider must be designated or approved jointly by the College and the employee. The College is required to provide the employee, within five business days, with a copy of the second and third medical opinions where applicable, upon request by the employee. If the employee refuses to release relevant medical records in order for the healthcare provider to render a sufficient and complete opinion, the employee's request for FMLA leave may be denied.
- The College may request periodic medical re-certification in connection with an ongoing or long-term condition. A re-certification may be required when an employee is seeking an extension of the initial leave period. The timing and frequency of medical re-certification will depend on the reason for the leave and its expected duration.
- Certification of fitness-for-duty prior to returning to work.
- Active duty orders for the covered military member when the employee first requests exigency leave or supporting documentation which may include:
- A description, signed by the employee, describing facts supporting the leave request and including any available documentation, such as a copy of the meeting announcement, appointment, or copy of a bill for service;
- The approximate date the qualifying exigency commenced or will commence;
- The beginning and end dates for the absence, if the request is for a single period of time;
- An estimate of the frequency and duration of the exigency, if the request is for intermittent or reduced schedule basis;
- Contact information of the third party or entity and a brief description of the purpose of the meeting if the exigency involves meeting with a third party or entity.
Intermittent leave may be taken in increments of 60 minutes as consistent with Policy 1.18 Sick Leave.
III. Requesting Leave
The employee will notify Human Resources by phone, email, or submit to Human Resources a completed Application for Family or Medical Leave 30 days in advance of the leave date, whenever practicable. The employee should also notify his/her supervisor with as much notice as possible for scheduling purposes.
The Chief Human Resources Officer (or designee) will review the form, determine the appropriateness of the request, and make the final decision regarding approval of FMLA leave. If a Certification of Healthcare Provider is requested, it must be returned within 15 calendar days. If a certification is incomplete or insufficient, the employee will have up to seven calendar days to remedy the deficiency. The College may designate a Human Resources representative or a healthcare provider to contact the employee's healthcare provider, consistent with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to verify and/or clarify if the employee cannot cure any deficiencies in the medical certification. If the employee refuses to cure deficiencies or does not grant permission to clarify, the employee's request for FMLA leave may be denied.
The Chief Human Resources Officer (or designee) will notify the employee, the employee's supervisor, and the Unit Vice President of the status of the request for leave within five workdays of the date of the submission of all necessary information. The College may designate FMLA leave with appropriate information without an application from the employee. Notification to the employee that leave will be designated as FMLA will be provided to the employee and the employee's supervisor.
The Chief Human Resources Officer (or designee) will arrange with the employee the payment schedule for coverage of the employee's spouse and/or dependents. (Refer to III C. Maintenance of Health Benefits)
When an employee is on paid leave but has not given notice of the need for FMLA leave, the College may, after a period of 10 work days, request that the employee provide sufficient information to establish whether the leave is for a FMLA-qualifying reason.
If an absence which begins as other than FMLA leave later develops into an FMLA-qualifying absence, the entire portion of the leave period that qualifies under FMLA may be counted as FMLA leave.
Once the College has knowledge that the leave is being taken for an FMLA-required reason, the College will, within five business days, absent extenuating circumstances, notify the employee that the leave is designated and will be counted as FMLA leave. The notice may be oral or in writing, but must be confirmed in writing within five business days.
A biological or adoptive parent, or an individual who stood in loco parentis (a person who is in the position or place of a parent), to an employee when the employee was a child.
A son or daughter who is:
- Under 18 years of age; or
- Is 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability; and who is
- A biological child; or
- An adopted child; or
- A foster child (a child for whom the employee performs the duties of a parent as if he/she were the employee's child); or
- A step-child (a child of the employee's spouse from a former marriage); or
- A legal ward (a minor child placed by the court under the care of a guardian) or;
- A child of an employee standing in loco parentis (a person who is in the position or place of a parent);
C. Next of Kin
Nearest blood relative.
A husband or wife recognized by the state of North Carolina.
E. Covered Service Member
A current service member who is being treated for a serious illness or injury incurred while on active duty or a service member who was a member of the Armed Forces anytime during the period of 5 years preceding the date on which the veteran undergoes treatment.
F. Serious Health Condition
An illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:
- Hospital care-inpatient care (i.e. an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical facility, including any period of incapacity or any subsequent treatment in connection with such impairment;
- Absence (a period of incapacity of more than three full consecutive calendar days) plus two visits to a healthcare provider for treatment;
- Pregnancy and prenatal care;
- Chronic conditions requiring periodic visits for treatments at least twice a year;
- Permanent/long-term conditions requiring supervision;
- Multiple treatments.
G. Healthcare Provider:
A doctor of medicine or osteopathy who is authorized to practice medicine in North Carolina or any other person determined by statute, credential, or licensure to be capable of providing healthcare services.
H. Intermittent Work Schedule:
A work schedule in which an employee works on an irregular basis and is taking leave in separate blocks of time, rather than one continuous period of time, usually to accommodate some form of regularly scheduled medical treatment.
I. 12-Month Period:
A "rolling" 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any family and medical leave.