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Family Medical Leave Act Q&A

The following questions and answers are provided only as a guide and are not intended to be definitive on FMLA or university policy.

General Questions

What is FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, provides up to 12 weeks of absence to eligible employees for certain family and medical reasons. The purpose of FMLA is to help eligible employees balance work and family obligations while providing an element of job security during the leave period.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

What are reasons for taking FMLA?

Employees can qualify for FMLA due to childbirth or care of the newborn, for adoption or foster care placement, or for the care of a serious health condition for the employee, spouse, dependent child, or parent of the employee who has a serious health condition. Care of in-laws is not covered.  FMLA is also offered for military exigency or the care of a covered service member who has suffered serious injury or illness in the line of covered active duty.  

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Policy: HR-05-60 Leaves for Military Duty and Leaves for Military Families

How much notice does an employee need to give for FMLA leave?

Notice of 30 days is required if the absence is foreseeable. If not foreseeable, contact the supervisor as soon as possible.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

What counts as a serious health condition?

FMLA qualifying serious health conditions include any of the following:

  • Chronic conditions (diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, etc.)
  • Multiple treatments (chemotherapy, dialysis, etc.)
  • Pregnancy & prenatal care
  • Overnight hospitalization
  • Permanent/long-term conditions (Alzheimer's, terminal disease)
  • Incapacity of more than three calendar days plus treatment 2 times or treatment 1 time and continuing regimen

For further information regarding serious health condition qualifications, consult with your supervisor or HR representatives if you think a condition may qualify.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Under what circumstances may a FMLA leave be denied?

FMLA leave may be denied for any of the following reasons:

  • Does not meet eligibility requirements Employee has not been employed by IU for 12 months
  • Employee has not worked 1250 actual work hours in past 12 months
  • Not a qualifying reason for FMLA
  • Calendar year allotment of FMLA (12 weeks) has been exhausted
  • Required medical certification is not provided
  • Fraudulent use of FMLA (i.e., falsification of FMLA documentation or use of FMLA to work another job without required written permission to do so)

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

My employee enlisted in the Military, do I terminate them or put them on leave?

The employee should be placed on a leave of absence, with ‘military’ as the reason. Federal law protects the employment of employees, both staff and temporary, who have voluntarily enlisted in or who have been inducted into or called to duty by the uniformed services of the United States. The protections include leaves of absence for training and activity duty and continuation and restoration of certain benefits.

Policy: HR-05-60 Leaves for Military Duty and Leaves for Military Families

Is my employee eligible for a one-time 90 day leave of absence? If the employee has returned before using the full 90 days, can they use the remainder of those days at a later time?

A leave of absence without pay for up to 90 calendar days will be granted once, upon request, to an appointed employee with ten or more years of service. Departments are required to approve such a request unless they can show it creates an undue hardship. 

Since an employee can only use this once they would be unable to hold unused time for use at a later date. 

Policy: HR-05-10 Discretionary Leave of Absence

Eligibility

What are the eligibility requirements?

Employees must have:

  • worked for the University in any capacity (staff, academic, temporary) for at least 12 months (does not have to be consecutive; hourly time counts toward the 12 months); and
  • worked at least 1250 actual work hours for the University in the year preceding the FMLA absence (hourly time also counts). Paid time off (vacation, PTO, sick, holidays, etc.) does not count as a part of the 1250 hours.

All hours across all jobs an employee holds (staff, academic, temporary) count toward meeting these eligibility requirements. 

Time in the military service covered under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) will count towards fulfilling the length of employment and hours of work requirements to be eligible for an FMLA leave.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Are part time and Temporary employees eligible?

They can apply for FMLA to determine if they meet eligibility requirements.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

What option would be available if an employee is not eligible for FMLA and needs to take time off for a birth or serious health condition?

Staff employees, if not eligible for FMLA, could request a discretionary leave of absence from his/her department once leave accruals are exhausted. Temporary employees could simply request the time off to be approved.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Policy: HR-05-10 Discretionary Leave of Absence

Who are the family members covered under FMLA?

An employee may use FMLA for his/her own care, the care of a legal spouse, dependent children under age 18, or the parents of the employee. There are occasional circumstances which would permit an employee to use FMLA if needed to care for an adult dependent or if acting "in loco parentis."

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

FMLA benefit

How is FMLA time paid?

Beginning on the first day of the leave, staff must use all time off accruals as part of the 12-week FMLA leave. An employee's compensatory time must be used prior to the use of any other time off accruals. After all compensatory time is used, the employee may choose the order in which their remaining time-off accruals are expended. Time off accruals that must be used during FMLA leave include holidays, income protection time (sick time), vacation, and PTO for Professional Staff.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

What happens if an employee runs out of paid time during an FMLA absence?

Additional time may then be requested under Discretionary Leave of Absence policy for the same reason as the FMLA leave; however, all the rights and entitlement provided under the FMLA are not applicable.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Policy: HR-05-10 Discretionary Leave of Absence

How long does a department have to respond to an apparent FMLA need?

Within five business days of receipt or initiation of Form #1 FMLA Leave Notice of Designation, Request, and Approval, the department head or designee is to notify the employee whether the leave qualifies and will be counted as FMLA leave. The department will complete the applicable section of the bottom of this form. Copies will be retained in departmental FMLA files and sent to the campus human resources office.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

May an employee have more than one FMLA absence in a year?

Yes, if the employee is eligible. However, 12 weeks (480 hours if 100% FTE) is the maximum time allowed during the calendar year for FMLA absences except Military Care Giver Leave.  An employee who has a qualified family relationship with a covered service member may take up to 26 weeks of leave during a single 12-month period.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Is 12 weeks of FMLA protection always available each calendar year for University employees?

Each year an eligible employee with a qualifying reason, may take up to 12 weeks for his/her own sickness or for the care of a spouse, parent or dependent child. A total of 12 weeks per calendar year is available for each employee even though an employee may be absent for multiple conditions/reasons or multiple times.  An employee who has a qualified family relationship with a covered service member may take up to 26 weeks of leave during a single 12-month period.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Who qualifies under the FMLA as a health care provider?

Persons authorized to provide health care services include podiatrists, psychologists, optometrists, chiropractors, dentists, doctors of medicine or osteopathy, nurse practitioners and midwives, clinical social workers, Christian Science practitioners, and any recognized IU health plan.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

What happens at the end of an FMLA?

An employee on FMLA leave for his/her own serious health condition, is asked to provide an intent to return to work form prior to returning to work when returning from a full time absence. The employee should be able to return and perform the essential functions of the position. The same or an equivalent position is held open during FMLA absences.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Use of FMLA

May an employee use FMLA on an intermittent basis?

An employee may apply for intermittent FMLA leave. Such leave is granted for such reasons as chronic serious health conditions or ongoing treatments (i.e., chronic asthma, chemotherapy or dialysis treatments). Employees should schedule foreseeable appointments around their normal work schedule and seek department approval on foreseeable absences.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

May an employee use FMLA on an intermittent basis for the birth or placement of a child in the employee’s home?

Use of intermittent FMLA leave for the birth of a child, adoption or foster care placement requires the approval of the supervisor.  Such employees must make a reasonable effort to schedule the intermittent leave so it does not disrupt operations.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Can work schedule issues or assignment to alternative positions be considered in the request for intermittent FMLA leave?

Under certain circumstances, departments may place employees who are on an intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule in another position with equivalent pay and benefits. This placement is considered to be a temporary transfer and should be discussed with the campus human resources office. Such employees must make a reasonable effort to schedule the intermittent leave so it does not disrupt operations.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

How does a PAE employee record time in ePTO while on FMLA? How do I record intermittent time?

Using the Advanced Tab in ePTO, enter the FMLA code for your time away from the office as either SFL (Sick-FMLA), PFL (PTO-FMLA) or HFL (Holiday-FMLA) time according to your wishes on the Form #2 completed.  If you have run out of accruals, you will need to enter AFL as you enter absent without pay status. 

All time missed in a work day due to an FMLA must be charged to time off accruals, including charges to PTO for partial day absences for Professional Staff.  The ePTO system will permit the employee to record FMLA on an hourly basis for this purpose. (time should be recorded in any increment, even if less than 1 hour) 

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Do you have to use accrued time off while on FMLA?

Beginning on the first day of the leave, staff must use all time off accruals as part of the 12-week FMLA leave.

  • An employee’s compensatory time must be used prior to the use of any other time off accruals.
  • After all compensatory time is used, the employee may choose the order in which their remaining time-off accruals are expended. Time off accruals that must be used during FMLA leave include holidays, income protection time (sick time), vacation, and PTO for Professional Staff.
  • The requirement that an employee must use time off accruals to cover FMLA leave applies to any FMLA leave, including a leave that is taken either intermittently or through a reduced work schedule.
  • All time missed in a work day due to an FMLA must be charged to time off accruals, including charges to PTO for partial day absences for Professional Staff.

Prior to the start of an FMLA or as soon as it is feasible to do so, the employee must decide and notify the supervisor on which time off accruals he or she wants to use after compensatory time is exhausted.

When the time off accruals are exhausted, the remainder of the FMLA leave is without pay. This time and the time charged to accrued time off benefits--are to be recorded on the attendance record as FMLA leave.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

How do FMLA and leave work together?

When the time off accruals are exhausted, the remainder of the FMLA leave is without pay. This time and the time charged to accrued time off benefits--are to be recorded on the attendance record as FMLA leave.

When it is known that the period without pay will exceed 30 days, the department is to process the appropriate HRMS documentation to place the employee on a leave of absence for the balance of the FMLA leave.

University service credit continues to accrue during a FMLA leave.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Can I work from home while on FMLA?

An employee may request to work from home while on FMLA, however, working from home is not a protection provided under the FMLA.  FMLA covers only an eligible employee’s absence from work due to a covered reason. 

Indiana University does have guidelines for telecommuting when feasible at the department’s discretion.  The department’s decision could depend upon the following:

  • The employee’s job responsibilities—if certain tasks and assignments can be performed at home
  • Availability of necessary equipment and materials to perform the work
  • The home environment—if it is one in which the employee can work productively and safely.
For rore information see the telecommuting guidelines for non-emergencies.

Use and accrual of benefits during FMLA

What happens to benefits during an FMLA leave?

A staff employee will continue to earn normal leave and holiday accruals during an FMLA for the period s/he is using any type of paid leave during the absence. Health insurance coverage will continue through the University during an FMLA absence if the employee continues to pay his/her share of the premiums.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Does the University continue to pay a portion of health insurance coverage during an FMLA absence?

Medical and dental benefits will be maintained during the leave so long as the employee intends to return and does actually return to work.

Employees on an FMLA leave continue to be responsible for paying their share of premiums for benefit plans. Contact the campus human resources office for more information.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

How do I pay for my benefits when on leave?

Medical and dental benefits will be maintained during the leave so long as the employee intends to return and does actually return to work.

Employees on an FMLA leave continue to be responsible for paying their share of premiums for benefit plans and will receive separate billing.

Policy: HR-05-20 Family Medical leave Act (FMLA) Rights

Can I drop any of my benefits while on leave?

Some benefit changes may depend upon a family status change outside of open enrollment. Visit the Human Resources Benefits Change Connection webpage for addition information.  You may also contact the Benefits Team at or (812) 855-2172.

Certification/documentation

Who do I submit my FMLA forms to?

FMLA Forms can be submitted to your supervisor, department head, or Human Resources.  For guidance on the HR Representative in your area contact Employee Relations at (812) 856-6047.

Do I have to give my medical information to my supervisor?

No, you may choose to provide your FMLA forms to Human Resources within your department or campus human resources. To review these options, contact Employee Relations at (812) 856-6047.

What documentation do I need to attach to my leave eDoc?

Actually a note is preferable to any documentation being attached. Any and all notes or documentation must not disclose any confidential medical information. 

My employee has just returned from Military leave, what do I do?

Submit return to work eDoc to update Records and/or adjust the expected return date on the previous eDoc that initiated the leave.  The employee may be eligible for reinstatement of certain benefits.

Policy: HR-02-100 Reemployment Provisions



All IU campus locations: Contact your campus HR representative.

IU Bloomington location: Contact the Human Resource Assistant at 812-856-6047.