Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC) recognizes that certain major life events may require an employee to be away from work for an extended period, such as becoming a parent, being incapacitated due to or needing continuing treatment for a serious health condition, needing to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or a family member being called up for or on active duty in the Armed Forces. To balance these needs with H-SC's need to have employees available to work, H-SC has established the following Family and Medical Leave Policy in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA"). Exceptions to this policy will occur if necessary to comply with any applicable state or local laws.
This policy is intended to provide a descriptive summary of employees' rights and responsibilities under H-SC's FMLA and Medical Leave Policy. More detailed information about the FMLA may be obtained by contacting Human Resources.
With the exception of military caregiver leave, as discussed below, an employee eligible for FMLA leave can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave during the 12-month period measured forward from the date of the employee's first FMLA leave usage. For military caregiver leave, an eligible employee can take up to 26 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave during a single 12-month period beginning on the first day the employee takes military caregiver leave.
To be eligible for FMLA leave an employee must report:
- To a facility that employs 50 or more employees, or
- To a facility that is located within a 75-mile radius of other H-SC facilities where the combined total of employees is 50 or more
AND the employee must have:
- Been employed by H-SC for at least 12 months; and
- Worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding a leave. (When determining whether this eligibility requirement has been met for an employee returning from military obligations, the employee will be credited with hours of service that would have been performed but for the period of military service.)
Circumstances qualifying for leave
The following circumstances qualify for FMLA leave:
- Parental leave related to the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the child
Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave during the 12-month leave year to bond with and care for their child after the child's birth or placement with the employee for adoption or foster care. This includes adoption or foster care-related activities such as counseling sessions, court appearances, consultations with lawyers or doctors, and/or related travel. Spouses employed by HSC are entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks of family leave for this purpose. The leave(s) must be completed within the first 12 months after the child's birth or placement.
- Leave related to an employee's own serious health condition
An eligible employee may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave during the 12-month leave year in connection with his or her own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee's job.
"Serious health condition" means any illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either:
- Any period of incapacity (i.e., inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities) or treatment connected with inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical-care facility, and any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care; or
- Continuing treatment by a health care provider that includes any period of incapacity:
- For more than three consecutive full calendar days and treatment by a health care provider within seven days after the employee first experiences incapacity, and a second visit to the health care provider within the first 30 days after the first day of incapacity (absent extenuating circumstances beyond the employee's control that prevent the follow-up visit from occurring as planned by the health care provider, such as the health care provider's lack of available appointments), or a continuing regimen of treatment under the supervision of the health care provider.
- Due to pregnancy or prenatal care. (A visit to the health care provider is not necessary for each absence.)
- Due to a chronic serious health condition that: requires at least two periodic visits a year for treatment by a health care provider, 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 (such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy). (A visit to a health care provider is not necessary for each absence.)
Due to a permanent or long-term condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g., Alzheimer's, a severe stroke, terminal cancer). (Only supervision by a health care provider is required, rather than active treatment.)
- Due to any absences to receive multiple treatments for restorative surgery or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive full calendar days if not treated (e.g., chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer).
- Leave related to a family member with a serious health condition
Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave during the 12-month leave year to care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition, as defined in the preceding section. A son or daughter must be under 18 years old, or 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability. In-laws are not considered family members. Spouses employed by H-SC are entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks of family leave to care for a sick parent.
- Military family leave related to qualifying exigencies
Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave during the 12-month leave year for one or more of the following qualifying exigencies related to a spouse, son, daughter or parent being on active duty or called to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation:
- military events and related activities (including official activities sponsored by the military, a military service organization or the American Red Cross and related to the covered military member's active duty or call to active duty);
- child care and school activities (including arranging alternative child care, providing child care on an urgent or immediate-need basis, enrolling or transferring a child to a new school or day care facility, or attending meetings with staff at a school or day care facility);
- financial and legal arrangements (including making these arrangements because of a covered military member's absence due to active duty or a call to active duty status);
- counseling (for benefit of the employee, a covered military member or a child of a covered military member if counseling is needed as a result of a covered military member's active duty or call to active duty and is provided by someone other than a health care provider);
- post-deployment activities (including attending arrival ceremonies and reintegration briefings or addressing issues resulting from a covered military member's death during active duty); and
- any other activities ABC and an employee agree constitute qualifying exigencies.
An eligible employee whose spouse, son, daughter or parent is on active duty or called to active duty may take the following amounts of FMLA leave for these qualifying exigencies:
- up to seven calendar days prior to the date of a short-term deployment, calculated from the date notified of an impending call or order to active duty in support of a contingency operation; and
- up to five days to spend time with a covered military member on each short-term rest and recuperation period during deployment.
The covered military member must be a member of the National Guard or Military Reserves or a
retired member of the Armed Forces or Reserves. Active members of the Regular Armed Forces
are not covered.
- Military caregiver leave related to a servicemember's serious illness or injury
Eligible employees may take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave during a single 12-month period beginning on the first day of leave to care for a current member of the Armed Forces, the National Guard or Reserves or a member on the temporary disability retired list of the Armed Forces, the National Guard or Reserves (a "servicemember"), who has a serious injury or illness
- that was incurred in active duty that may render the servicemember unfit for duty; and
- for which the service member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.
To take this leave, an employee must be the servicemember's spouse, parent, son, daughter, or next of kin. An employee may not take more than one 26-week period of leave to care for the same servicemember unless it is for a different serious illness or injury. Military caregiver leave, when combined with other FMLA-qualifying leave, may not exceed 26 weeks in a single 12-month period. Spouses employed by H-SC are entitled to a combined total of 26 weeks of family leave for this purpose.
Reduced-schedule or intermittent leave
When medically necessary for an employee's own serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or to care for a servicemember with a serious illness or injury, an employee may take FMLA leave intermittently or on a reduced-schedule basis. The employee must make reasonable efforts to schedule medically necessary intermittent leave so it does not unduly disrupt H-SC's operations. An employee is also entitled to take reduced-schedule or intermittent leave for qualifying exigencies when necessary. It may be necessary to transfer an employee to an alternative comparable position in order to accommodate an intermittent or reduced leave schedule and business needs.
Substitution of paid benefits for unpaid FMLA leave
An employee may elect, or H-SC may require, the application of appropriate accrued paid time off to some or all of the employee's 12-week Family and Medical leave allotment, as long as the policy requirements for the paid time off are met. If applicable, an employee may receive Short-Term Disability or workers' compensation benefits during leave. H-SC and the employee may agree to use paid leave to supplement disability or workers' compensation benefits, if permitted by applicable state laws and plan provisions. Remaining Family and Medical leave must be taken on an unpaid basis. An employee's total Family and Medical leave, paid or unpaid, may not exceed 12 weeks (or 26 weeks to care for a servicemember with a serious illness or injury) in the 12-month period.
Note: For H-SC staff employees FMLA runs concurrent with accrued vacation and/or accrued sick leave.
Note: For H-SC faculty FMLA runs concurrent with accrued sick leave. The College provides sick leave to faculty members whereby they are entitled to continuation of their base salary from the first day of illness or disability for up to six months per fiscal year. For information on the College's Faculty Disability Leave Policy refer to the Faculty Handbook, Section IV-B-3. For information on the College's Long Term Disability Leave Policy refer to the Employee Handbook, Employee Benefits, Page 5-3.
Reinstatement after leave
Unless an employee is a "key employee," H-SC will reinstate the employee to his or her same or equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment following an FMLA leave, except that the employee will have no greater right to reinstatement or other benefits and conditions of employment than if he or she had been working continuously.
If, while on a family or medical leave of absence, the employee pursues other employment or self-employment not consistent with the stated need for time off, H-SC will consider the employee to have resigned from employment.
H-SC will not consider the use of family or medical leave as a negative factor in any employment decision.
Notice and certification requirements
Notice and certification obligations: the basics
When an employee's need for FMLA leave is foreseeable, the employee must provide H-SC with 30 days advance written notice of the requested leave. Otherwise, the employee must provide as much notice as he or she can, generally within one to two business days of when the employee knows that he or she will need the leave. The notice of leave should be made in writing and state the reason for leave and the amount of time requested. Whenever possible, schedule medial treatments so as not to unduly disrupt H-SC's operations.
To obtain FMLA leave, an employee needs to follow these basic steps:
- Inform the employee's manager and Human Resources of the requested leave;
- btain a copy of an FMLA request form and the applicable FMLA certification form from Human Resources;
- Return the FMLA request form and the FMLA certification form as soon as possible to Human Resources;
- Continue to communicate with the employee's manager and Human Resources about the progress of the employee's leave and the employee's return to work date, providing additional medical certifications or obtaining additional medical evaluations as necessary to justify the length of absence or as requested by Human Resources.
Different notice obligations apply for different types of leave requests. Consistent with applicable laws, H-SC may ask for additional information to support requests for qualifying exigency or military caregiver leave, including confirmation of family relationship. At minimum, however, employees should provide the following information when requesting FMLA leave for these purposes:
- An employee's own or a family member's serious health condition
To qualify for an FMLA leave related to an employee's own or a family member's serious health condition, an employee must provide a written certification issued by a health care provider that includes the approximate date on which the serious health condition began, the probable duration of the condition, and the appropriate medical facts regarding the condition. If the leave is for planned medical treatment and is not a continuous leave, but rather an intermittent or reduced-schedule leave, the certification must include dates on which the treatment is expected to occur (or at least the frequency of treatments) and the duration of the treatment.
- If the leave is for the employee to care for a family member, the certification must include a statement that the employee is needed to provide such care and an estimate of the amount of time needed to provide such care.
- If the leave is due to the employee's own serious health condition, the certification must include a statement indicating which essential functions of the employee's position he or she is unable to perform as well as any other work restrictions and their likely duration.
- Qualifying exigency leave
If an employee is requesting leave for a "qualifying exigency" related to the employee's spouse, son, daughter or parent serving on active duty in the armed forces or being notified of an impending call or order to active duty, the employee must support his or her leave request with a certification showing that the spouse, son, daughter or parent service member has been called to active duty or has been notified of any impending call or order to active duty.
- Military caregiver leave
If an employee is requested military caregiver leave, the employee must provide certification completed by one of the authorized health care providers identified on the certification form provided by H-SC (e.g., the Department of Veteran Affairs, Department of Defense, DOD TRICARE, etc.). Consistent with applicable laws, ABC also may ask for additional information to support requests for qualifying exigency leave or military caregiver, including confirmation of family relationship.
H-SC's process for evaluating leave requests
Requests for leave will be reviewed by Human Resources and will be granted for qualifying reasons and for the period of time for which the employee is certified or for which the employee's spouse, child or parent requires special care, subject to the limits established by the FMLA or applicable state or local law. Failure to provide adequate certification(s) will result in denial of the requested leave and may result in other employment consequences if the employee's absence is not otherwise authorized.
Within five business days of receiving a request for FMLA leave, H-SC will notify the employee whether he or she is eligible for FMLA leave and whether the requested leave is designated and will be counted as FMLA leave.
H-SC will advise an employee whenever it finds a certification incomplete or insufficient and state in writing what information is needed to cure the deficiency. The employee will then have seven calendar days to cure the deficiency (unless impracticable under the circumstances). After the employee has had an opportunity to cure, ABC may contact the health care provider for clarification and/or authentication of the certification. Contact with the health care provider requires the employee's written authorization. Under no circumstances will the contact be made by the employee's direct supervisor.
An employee seeking additional FMLA leave for a previously certified condition must specifically make reference to the need for FMLA leave or the previous condition for which FMLA leave was used.
If an employee submits a certification that is in a language other than English, the employee must provide a written translation at the employee's own expense.
H-SC may require periodic recertification of a serious health condition during a leave and periodic reports during the leave regarding an employee's status and intent to return to work. In addition, H-SC may request that an employee provide annual medical certifications for medical conditions lasting in excess of a leave year. Finally, H-SC may require an employee to provide certification that he or she is able to return to work at the end of a leave.
Second or third medical opinions
In some cases, H-SC may require periodic status reports and/or second and third opinions. To facilitate the process for a second or third opinion, an employee must authorize the release of relevant medical information pertaining to the condition for which leave is sought to the second or third opinion health provider, if requested by that provider. If the employee does not comply, H-SC may deny FMLA leave.
Benefits during leave
During Family and Medical Leave, an H-SC employee will continue to receive the same benefits as when he or she was an active employee. If the leave is running concurrently with paid leave, employee benefit contributions will be deducted from the employee's paycheck just as they are when he or she is working. If the leave is unpaid, the employee will be billed directly for the contribution. If an employee fails to timely (i.e., within 30 days) pay required insurance premiums, H-SC may elect to pay them for the employee and later recover those amounts from the employee. Additionally, in some cases ABC may recover the entire amount of premiums it paid for health coverage during the leave if the employee fails to return to work. To the extent required by law, all employee benefits will be unconditionally reinstated upon the employee's return to work.
Questions and exceptions
Questions relating to leave entitlements and/or the status of employee benefits or compensation during approved leaves should be directed to Human Resources. Exceptions to this policy will occur if necessary to comply with applicable laws. All exceptions to this policy must be reviewed in advance and approved by the Director of Human Resources.