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Family and Medical Leave Act Policy

Family and Medical Leave Act Policy

Authority: 
Business Affairs
Date enacted or revised: 
August 4, 2009
The Family and Medical Leave Act is intended to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of employees and their family members, to promote the stability and economic security of the family, and to promote national interests in preserving family integrity.

In compliance with the Family Medical Leave Act, McNeese State University will provide to qualified employees a total of twelve (12) weeks of "job protected" paid and/or unpaid leave during a twelve (12) month period for a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) qualifying event.

DETERMINATION OF "EMPLOYEEE" ELIGIBILITY FOR FMLA LEAVE:
An "eligible" employee is an employee who:
-has been employed by the State of Louisiana for at least twelve (12) months before the leave request (these need not have been consecutive); AND
-has worked at least 1,250 in-state service hours during that time.

Fair labor Standards Act (FLSA) hours worked principles shall be applied in determining whether an employee has worked 1,250 hours.

The twelve (12) months an employee must have been employed need not be consecutive months.  If an employee is maintained on the payroll for any part of a week, the week counts as a week of employment (52 weeks is deemed eequal to 12 months).

ENTITLEMENT TO FMLA LEAVE:
An eligible employee shall be intitled to a total of twelve (12) work weeks or 480 hours of unpaid leave during a twelve (12) month period for one or more of the following circumstances:
-for the birth of a child, and to care for the newborn child; or
-for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care; or
-to care for the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent with serious health condition; or
-because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee's position; or
-for qualifying exigencies arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on active duty or call to active duty status as a member of the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation.

A covered employer also must grant an eligible employee who is a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next to kin of a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, with a serious injury or illness up to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid leave during a "single 12-month period" to care for the service member.

Leave to care for a newborn child or for a newly placed child must conclude within 12 months after the birth or placement. (See CFR Section 825.201)

Spouses employed by the same employer may be limited to a combined total of 12 workweeks of family leave for the following reasons:
-birth and care of a child;
-for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, and to care for the newly placed child; and,
-to care for an employee's parent who has a serious health condition.

EFFECTIVE DATE(S) OF FMLA LEAVE:
Leave qualifying as FMLA leave is applied to the employee's twelve (12) month period is measured forward from the date any employee's initial FMLA leave begins.  The next twelve (12) month entitllement period commences the first time FMLA leave is taken after expiration of any previous twelve (12) month entitlement period.

Example:
12 Month Period  +09/04/93  1st date leave begins
                           (12 week or 480 hour entitlement)
                          +09/03/94  12 monthe period ends

FMLA leave may be taken on a continuous basis, or intermittently (without a fixed schedule) or on a reduced leave schedule (fixed schedule with reduced hours).  Leave on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule shall only be granted when medically necessary.  This leave is subtracted from the employee's twelve (12) work week entitlement on an hour-for-hour basis (equated to 480 leave hours in a twelve (12) monthe period).

USE OF ACCRUED LEAVE:
-McNeese State University shall require the use of accrued paid leave-annual and sick as allowed under state and university policy for FMLA leave purposes.  When paid leave is exhausted, or cannot be used under specific circumstances, unpaid (leave without pay) leave shall be granted to attain the twelve (12) work week entitlement. 
-An employee who has exhausted all accrued sick leave cannot be terminated for that reason if that employee has not used all the FMLA leave entitlement.
-Leave that qualifies for FMLA purposes cannot be denied, and in all circumstances, it is the supervisor's responsibility to designate leave, paid or unpaid, as FMLA qualifying, based upon information provided by the employee, on the Application for Leave Form.
-Leave for non-FMLA purposes, or leave requested by the employee and granted by the supervisor and the appointing authority in excess of the FMLA entitlement, shall be granted in accordance with applicable rules and university leave policies.
-Employees requiring sick leave from qualified medical professionals to Human Resources.

BENEFITS:
During any FMLA leave, McNeese State University must maintain the employee's coverage under any group health plan on the same conditions as coverage would have been provided if the employee must pay their portion of any insurance premiums while they are on Leave without Pay.

If a new health plan or benefits or changes in health benefits or plans are provided while an employee is on FMLA leave, the employee is entitled to the new changed plan or benefits to the same extent as if the employee were not on leave.  Notice of any opportunity to change plans or benefits must also be given to an employee of FMLA leave.

An employee may choose not to retain health coverage during FMLA leave.  However, when an employee returns from leave, the employee is entitled to be reinstated on the same terms as prior to taking leave, without any qualifying period, physical examination, exclusion of pre-existing conditions, etc.

Except as required by COBRA, McNeese State University's obligation to maintain health benefits under FMLA ceases if and when an employee fails to return from leave, and thereby terminates employment, or the employee exhausts his or FMLA leave entitlement.

While McNeese State University must continue to maintain health benefits, the obligation to maintain health insurance coverage ceases if an employee's premium payment is more than 30 days late.  If coverage lapses because an employee has not made required premium payments, McNeese State University must still restore the employee to coverage/benefits upon the employee's return from FMLA leave equivalent to those the employee would have had if leave had not been taken.  In such a case, an employee shall not be required to meet any qualification requirements, including any new pre-existing condition waiting period, to wait for an open enrollment, or to pass a medical examination to obtain reinstatement of coverage.

EMPLOYEE NOTICES:
An employee must provide the supervisor at least 30 days advance notice before FMLA leave is to begin if the need for the leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement for adoption or foster care, or planned medical treatment for serious health condition of the employee or a family member.

If 30 days of notice is not practical, notice must be given as soon as practical, meaning at least verbal notification to the employer within one or two business days of when then need for leave becomes known to the employee.

An employee shall provide at least a verbal notice sufficient to make the supervisor aware that the employee needs FMLA qualifying leave, and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave.  The employee must still obtain and complete and FMLA packet as described below.

LEAVE REQUEST AND MEDICAL CERTIFICATION:
An employee may obtain a FMLA packet in Human Resources or download the packet from the McNeese University website at www.mcneese.edu/hr . This packet contains a request for FMLA leave form, and a Certification of Health Care Provider form for self or family  member.  The employee must complete the request for FMLA leave form, and submit it to the supervisor.  The supervisor must process the request for FMLA leave form, and submit it to the Director of Human Resources immediately upon receipt.  The employee must bring the Certficiation of Health Care Provider form the the physician(s) and return to the Director of Human Resources within 15 calendar days.  The Director of Human Resources will respond to the employee as required by law within five (5) business days.  The supervisor will be notified with the outcome of the leave request.

If an employee fails to provide in a timely manner (15 calendar days), a requested medical certification to substantiate the need for FMLA leave due to a serious health condition, the Director of fHuman Resources may deny FMLA leave until an employee submits the certification.

In accordance with HIPPA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Director of Human Resources may contact the health care professional but the direct supervisor may never contact the health care professional.  If the Certificiation of Health Care Provider form is incomplete or insufficient, the employee will be contacted and give seven (7) calendar days to resolve the issue with the certification.

Re-certification of the health care provider will be required every thirty (30) days unless the absence is for a short duration.  On-going, continuing FMLA absences will require re-certification every six (6) months.

The employee will be required to present proper return to work medical certification to Human Resources prior to being restored to duty.  If a Fitness for Duty Certification based on essential functions of the position will be required to return to work, the employee will be informed at the time FMLA leave is approved.

The university policy on Return to Work will apply for "light" duty work or "modified" duty work.  "Light or Modified" duty does not count against an FLMA entitlement.

DEFINITIONS:
Continuing Treatment by a Health Care Provider
A period of incapacity lasting more than three consecutive , full calendar days, and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition that also includes:
-treatment two or more times by or under the supervision of a health care provider (i.e., in-person visits, the first within 7 days and both  within 30 days of the first day of incapacity); or
-one treatment by a health care provider (i.e., an in-person visit within 7 days of the first day of incapacity) with a continuing regimen of treatment (e.g., prescription medication, physical therapy); or

Any period of incapacity related to pregnancy or for prenatal care.  A visit to the health care provider is not necessary for each absence; or

Any period of incapacity or treatment for a chronic serious health condition which continues over an extended period of time, requires periodic visits (at least twice a year) to a health care provider, and may involve occasional episodes of incapacity.  A visit to a health care provider is not necessary for each absence; or

A period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatmetn may not be effective.  Only supervision by a health care provider is required, rather than active treatment; or

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 days if not treated.

Eligible Employee
-An employee who has been employed for a total of at least 12 months by the State of Louisiana on the date the leave is to commence, and month period.
-Who, on the date on which any FMLA leave is to commence has worked at least 1,250 hours within state service during the previous 12 month period.

FMLA
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

Health Care Provider
-doctors of medicine or osteopathy authorized to practice medicine or surgery (aas appropriate) by the State in which the doctor practices;
-podiatrist, dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists, and chiropractors (limited to treatment consisting of manual manipulation of the spine to correct a subluxation as demonstrated by X-ray to exist) authorized to practice in the State and performing within the scope of their practice under State law;
-nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives,  and clinical social workers authorized to practice under State law and performing within the scope of their practice as defined under State law;
-christian science practioners listed with the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts;
-any health care provider recognized by the employer or the employer's group health plan's benefits manager; and,
-a health care provider listed above who practices in a country other than the United States and who is authorized to practice under the laws of that country.

Incapable of Self-Care
The individual requires active assistance or supervision to provide daily self-care in serveral of the "activities of daily living" (i.e., caring appropriately for ones' grooming and hygiene, bathing, dressing, eating, cooking, cleaning, shopping, taking public transportation, paying bills, etc.).

Intermittent Leave
Leave taken in separate periods of time due to a single illness or injury, rather than for one continous period of time, and may included leave of periods from a half-hour or more to several weeks (i.e., leave taken on an occasional basis for medical appointments, or leave taken several days at a time spread over a period of six months, such as for chemotherapy).

Loco Parentis
The individual(s) who has day-to-day responsibilities to care for and financially support a child, or in the case of an employee, who had such responsibilty for the employee, when the employee was a child.  A biological or legal relationship is not necessary; however, documentation of the responsibilty for care and support shall be required; (i.e., affidavit signed by notary and/or two witnesses, income tax returns, etc.)

Parent
The biological parent or an individual who stands or stood in loco parentis when the employee was a child.  This term does not include parents "in-law".

Reduced Leave Schedule
Leave schedule that reduces the usual number of hours per work week or hours per work day.

Serious Health Condition
An illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:
-any period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hopsital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or
-a period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three calendar days from work, school, or other regular daily activities that also involves continuing treatment by (or under the supervision of) a health care provider; or
-any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care; or
-any period of incapacity (or treatment therefore) due to a chronic serious health condition (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.);
-a period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g., Alzheimer's, stroke, terminal diseases, etc.); or
-any absences to receive multiple treatment (including any period of recovery there from) by, or on referral by, a health care provider for a condition that likely would result in incapacity of more than three consecutive days if left untreated (e.g., chemotherapy, physical therapy, dialysis, etc.).

Son or Daughter
A biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a leagl ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is under 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

Spouse
A husband or wife as defined or recognized under State law for purposes of marriage.