February 7, 2000
Volume 52, No. 20
Q & A on the Family Medical Leave Act
What is FMLA and what is its purpose?
FMLA is the acronym for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which became law in 1993. It is a federally mandated benefit intended to promote the development of the family unit and enhance worker productivity.
What circumstances qualify an employee for FMLA leave?
FMLA leave may be requested for the following reasons:
What defines a serious health condition?
The FMLA defines a serious health condition as an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves:
What does the FMLA do?
The FMLA was established to:
What are an employee's responsibilities in requesting FMLA leave?
The employee's responsibilities include:
Since FMLA leave is an unpaid leave of absence, can I apply my accrued paid leave to my time away from work?
Yes. University employees' accrued sick leave, vacation leave and floating holidays are inclusive of FMLA leave. FMLA leave starts by using your accrued paid leave and, once your accrued paid leave is used, moves into an unpaid leave. The combined paid and unpaid FMLA leave cannot exceed 12 weeks.
Example: Your doctor certifies that it is medically necessary for you to be away from work for 12 weeks. If you have four weeks of accrued paid leave (sick leave, vacation leave and floating holidays) available, you exhaust that first. Your remaining eight weeks of FMLA leave would be unpaid.
How does FMLA leave affect my benefits coverage?
An employee on family and medical leave may continue participation in health, dental, life and BeneFlex plans. While on a paid status, benefit premiums will continue to be deducted from bimonthly or monthly paychecks. If an employee is on unpaid leave, the employee will be responsible for paying his or her premiums.
Can I request FMLA leave more than once?
Yes, but Emory reduces the current FMLA leave request by any previously used FMLA leave over a rolling 12-month period, measured backward from the date leave is to begin.
Example: If you have taken eight weeks of leave during the past 12 months, an additional four weeks of leave is available. If you used four weeks beginning Feb. 1, 2000, four weeks beginning June 1 and four weeks beginning Dec. 1, you would not be eligible for any additional FMLA leave until Feb. 1, 2001.
What happens to my job while on FMLA leave?
Your position must be held while you are out on FMLA leave. If you return to work within the 12 weeks, you will be reinstated to the same job or substantially equivalent job, which includes equivalent shift, pay, responsibility, department and benefits. If you do not return within the 12-week period, Emory is not required to hold your position under FMLA.
For more information about FMLA, contact Employee Relations at 404-727-7625.
--Wynell Lauver is communications coordinator for Human Resources.