Family and Medical Leave Act Policy
Authority: Business Affairs
Date Enacted or Revised: August 4, 2009; Revised May 17, 2022
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 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 FMLA, McNeese State University provides qualified employees a total of 12 weeks of job-protected paid and/or unpaid leave during a 12-month period for a FMLA-qualifying event.
Determination of Employee Eligibility for FMLA Leave
An eligible employee is an employee who:
- Has been employed by the state of Louisiana for at least 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 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 equal to 12 months).
Entitlement to FMLA Leave
An eligible employee shall be entitled to a total of 12 work weeks or 480 hours of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for one or more of the following circumstances:
- For the birth of a child, and to care for the newborn child;
- For placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
- To care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition;
- 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 called 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-of-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 work weeks 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 work weeks 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 applied to the employee’s 12-month period is measured forward from the date any employee’s initial FMLA leave begins. The next 12-month entitlement period commences the first time FMLA leave is taken after expiration of any previous 12-month entitlement period.
09/04/2021: First date leave begins
(12-week or 480-hour entitlement)
09/03/2022: 12-month period ends
FMLA leave may be taken on a continuous basis, 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 12-work week entitlement on an hour-for-hour basis (equated to 480 leave hours in a 12-month period).
Use of Accrued Leave
- McNeese State University shall require the use of accrued paid annual leave and sick leave 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 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.
During any FMLA leave, the employee may maintain health coverage in the same manner as when employed. The employee is responsible for paying the employee portion of insurance premiums while on leave without pay.
If a new health plan or benefits or changes in health plans or benefits 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 on 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 their 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’s 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 open enrollment, or to pass a medical examination to obtain reinstatement of coverage.
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 a serious health condition of the employee or a family member.
If 30 days 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 the 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 a FMLA packet as described below.
Leave Request and Medical Certification
An employee may obtain a FMLA packet from the Office of Human Resources and Student Employment or download the packet from the University website at www.mcneese.edu/hr. This packet contains a request for FMLA leave form, and a Certification of Healthcare Provider Form for self or a 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 and student employment immediately upon receipt. The employee must bring the Certification of Healthcare Provider Form to the physician(s) and return it to the director of human resources and student employment within 15 calendar days. The director of human resources and student employment will respond to the employee as required by law within five business days. The supervisor will be notified of 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 human resources and student employment may deny FMLA leave until an employee submits the certification.
In accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the director of human resources and student employment may contact the healthcare professional, but the direct supervisor may never contact the healthcare professional. If the Certification of Healthcare Provider Form is incomplete or insufficient, the employee will be contacted and given seven calendar days to resolve the issue with the certification.
Re-certification from the healthcare provider will be required every 30 days unless the absence is for a short duration. Ongoing, continuing FMLA absences will require re-certification every six months.
The employee will be required to present proper return-to-work medical certification to the Office of Human Resources and Student Employment 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 the FMLA leave is approved.
The University policy on returning to work will apply for “light” or “modified” duty work. “Light” or “modified” duty does not count against an FLMA entitlement.
Continuing Treatment by a Healthcare 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 healthcare provider (i.e., in-person visits, the first within seven days and both within 30 days of the first day of incapacity);
- One treatment by a healthcare provider (i.e., an in-person visit within seven days of the first day of incapacity) with a continuing regimen of treatment (e.g., prescription medication, physical therapy);
- Any period of incapacity related to pregnancy or for prenatal care. A visit to the healthcare provider is not necessary for each absence;
- 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 healthcare provider, and may involve occasional episodes of incapacity. A visit to a health care provider is not necessary for each absence;
- A period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. Only supervision by a healthcare 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 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.
Healthcare Provider: Includes any of the following:
- Doctors of medicine or osteopathy authorized to practice medicine or surgery (as appropriate) by the state in which the doctor practices;
- Podiatrists, 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 perform within the scope of their practice as defined under state law;
- Christian science practitioners listed with the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts;
- Any healthcare provider recognized by the employer or the employer’s group health plan’s benefits manager; and
- A healthcare 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 several 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 continuous period of time, and may include 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 responsibility for the employee, when the employee was a child. A biological or legal relationship is not necessary; however, documentation of the responsibility 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 workday.
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 hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility;
- 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 healthcare provider;
- Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care;
- 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 treatments (including any period of recovery there from) by, or on referral by, a healthcare 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 legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is under 18 years of age or who is 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.
This policy is distributed via the University Policies webpage.