Family Medical Leave FAQ's
What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law which came into effect in 1993. It requires The University of Texas at Dallas to grant eligible employees up to 12 weeks of FMLA job-protected leave per year for specified medical reasons.
How does an employee qualify for Family Medical Leave?
An employee must have been employed by the University or with another state agency for at least 1 year and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during that year.
Under what circumstances may I use FMLA leave?
FMLA leave is available to you if you are certified as having a health condition as defined under the FMLA and meet the eligibility criteria. You may also use FMLA leave if an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) has a health condition and needs your care.
What types of illnesses qualify for leave under FMLA?
Any illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves the following criteria qualifies for leave under FMLA, provided eligibility requirements are met:
- Any period of incapacity requiring absence from work for more than three continuous days with continuing treatment by a health care provider;
- Continuing treatment by a health care provider for a chronic health condition; or
- Any period of incapacity connected with inpatient care or overnight stay in a hospital or residential medical-care facility
Who qualifies as "family"?
An employee’s spouse, children (son or daughter), and parents are immediate family members for the purposes of FMLA. The term "parent" does not include a parent "in-law". The terms "son or daughter" do not include individuals age 18 or over unless they are "incapable of self-care" because of a mental or physical disability.
What usually triggers FMLA?
If an employee is absent for three or more days, or is anticipating an absence for three or more days due to a serious health condition, the employee and/or department should notify the Office of Human Resources. Applying for FMLA does not mean the leave will be granted or that the employee is eligible. The University of Texas at Dallas is required to inform the employee of their FMLA rights when made aware of the situation.
How much time may an employee use under Family Medical Leave?
An employee may use 12 weeks of leave during a year. Family Medical Leave qualifying events include the birth or adoption of a child, a serious health condition of an immediate family member, or one's own serious health condition.
Can I use FMLA more than once? Is the 12 weeks yearly?
All leave eligible under FMLA may be used more than once per year. It may also be used for different and separate medical conditions. In no case, however, may an employee be granted more than 12 weeks of FMLA leave in one year.
How does FMLA benefit me?
The following benefits will apply if you qualify for leave under FMLA:
- 12 weeks of job-protected leave per year
- Maintenance of health care benefits
- Job restoration upon return from FMLA leave
Is Family Medical Leave paid or unpaid?
During the time that an employee is on leave for a FMLA reason, he/she must exhaust all APPLICABLE sick leave and vacation. Once that is exhausted, the employee will be placed on Leave Without Pay for the remainder of the 12 weeks. The University of Texas at Dallas will be responsible for paying the employee's premium sharing during that time. Premium sharing is the amount of money that the University and the State contribute to your insurance coverage. However, the employee will be responsible for paying the additional insurance that they normally have deducted from their paychecks (i.e., cost of coverage for dependents, long-term disability insurance, etc.).
Can I choose to exhaust my own paid leave prior to beginning FMLA leave?
No, you cannot choose to exhaust your own paid leave prior to beginning FMLA leave. The University of Texas at Dallas’ Administrative Policies and Procedures (D6-155.0) require you to use your available paid leave when you are missing work due to an FMLA-related reason. Your available paid leave will run concurrently with your FMLA leave. There are only two exceptions to this requirement:
- if you are on FMLA leave due to an on-the-job injury, you will have the option of using your available paid leave or being in a leave without pay status
- you are not required to use Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) compensatory overtime hours during FMLA leave. If you voluntarily choose to use FLSA overtime, FMLA hours will stop and restart following the use of the FLSA overtime hours.
What if my spouse also works for The University of Texas at Dallas?
Spouses employed by the same employer are jointly entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks of family leave for the birth and care of a newborn child, for placement of a child by adoption or foster care. However, you and your spouse are each entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid job protected leave for the purpose of caring for your own injury or illness.
When a holiday falls during a week that I am off from work due to an FMLA-related reason, will the hours of the holiday be counted as FMLA?
Yes. When a holiday falls during a week, the week counts as a full week of FMLA leave. However, when a component is closed for five consecutive working days or longer, such as the December holidays, those days will not count as FMLA time.
If an employee is considered full-time and only works four or six hours per day as per doctor's restrictions, can the rest of the day be considered FMLA leave?
Yes, provided the reason for the shortened workday is certified as an FMLA condition.
How does FMLA work when an employee misses work intermittently for the same reason?
All intermittent time lost due to the same condition will be tracked as per guidelines set by each department. This lost time would be logged until the 12 weeks of FMLA time (or 480 hours for each full-time employee) are expired.
Can I use FMLA if my illness is incurable or not likely to get better? For how long?
You may use FMLA for a certified health condition for the full 12-week period allowed. In this case, you should notify Human Resources Management as soon as your illness is deemed to be incurable. Other benefits, such as disability retirement, may be available to you.
What if I am not "eligible" for leave under the FMLA?
If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for FMLA, you may request a leave of absence from your department head. A leave of absence request will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with consideration given to the business needs of the department. You may also be eligible for leave under the State of Texas, Parental Leave Act.
What if my leave extends beyond the twelve weeks provided by FMLA or Parental Leave?
If your leave extends beyond the twelve weeks provided by FMLA or the Parental Leave Act, and you have exhausted all available paid leave, your department has fulfilled their obligations under both acts and are no longer required to hold your position. A leave of absence request may be made for any time beyond the 12 weeks. Leave of absence requests will be considered on a case-by case basis with consideration given to the business needs of the department.
Does The University of Texas at Dallas have a Maternity Leave Policy?
Maternity Leave falls under FMLA. An employee is entitled to 12 weeks of leave for the birth of a child. During this time, all applicable sick leave and vacation accruals must be used. Once the accruals are used, the employee will be placed on Leave Without Pay. The University of Texas at Dallas will be responsible for the premium sharing during the 12 weeks of leave. Premium sharing is the amount of money that The University and the State contribute to your insurance coverage. However, the employee will be responsible for paying the additional cost of insurance that they normally have deducted from their paychecks. (i.e., coverage for dependents, long-term disability insurance, etc.) The employee is entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of leave.
However, if an employee does not qualify for FMLA, the University does have a Parental Leave Policy. It states that an employee is entitled to 12 weeks of leave. During that time, all applicable vacation and sick leave accruals must be used, then, the employee will be placed on Leave Without Pay. However, the employee is required to pay their entire insurance premiums and will not be entitled to receive any premium sharing, as they would under FMLA.
What is the relationship between FMLA and Parental Leave?
Parental Leave is available to those employees not eligible for FMLA needing time off for the birth of a natural child or the adoption or placement for foster care of a child younger than three years of age. The provisions of the leave are for the mother or the father. Parental Leave differs from FMLA in that:
- Parental Leave time begins with the date of birth or when the adopted child is formally placed in the home
- Time taken off - up to 12 weeks - must be continuous
- The employee does not receive the state coverage for insurance premiums during unpaid leave
Who can request Parental Leave?
University of Texas at Dallas employees, including employees who are not eligible for FMLA leave, are entitled to a parental leave of absence.
Are there leave policies for new fathers?
If the employee is eligible for FMLA, he may use sick leave in conjunction with the birth of a child if the child is actually ill or to care for his spouse while she is recovering from labor and delivery. The doctor is required to provide Human Resources with a medical certification statement indicating the length of time the recovery will take.
After the use of sick leave, the father is required to use accrued vacation and then be placed on Leave Without Pay. The University of Texas at Dallas will be responsible for paying the employee's premium sharing during that time. Premium sharing is the amount of money that The University and the State contribute to your insurance coverage. However, the employee will be responsible for paying the additional insurance that they normally have deducted from their paychecks. (i.e., cost of coverage for dependents, long-term disability insurance, etc.) He is entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of leave.
Are there military family leave entitlements?
Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent on active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation may use their 12-week leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies. Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings.
FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered servicemember during a single 12-month period. A covered servicemember is a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform his or her duties for which the servicemember is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.
Last Updated: September 24, 2013