Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Leave

[Faculty Handbook Category #1]

  1. To be eligible for a leave of absence under the FMLA policy a faculty member must have worked for the college at least twelve months and at least 0.60 FTE (1,250 hours) during the twelve months immediately preceding the request for a leave.  Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2008, an eligible faculty member is entitled to a total of twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave during any twelve‑month period:
    1. for the birth of a child, or the placement of a child with the faculty member for adoption or foster care;*
    2. because of a serious health condition that makes the faculty member unable to perform the essential functions of their job;
    3. to provide care for the faculty member’s spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition;
    4. any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent of an employee is on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call to active duty status, in support of a contingency operation.
    5. Leave for any of the above reasons (i) through (iv) shall be cumulative, for a combined total of twelve weeks in any twelve-month period.  If a husband and wife are both employed by the college, the FMLA entitles them only to a combined total of twelve weeks of leave for birth, adoption, foster care placement, or care of a family member during any twelve-month period; leave for the employee’s own health condition is not combined with the spouse’s leave.
  1. An eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness sustained in the line of duty on active duty is entitled to up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for the servicemember.  This military caregiver leave is available during a single 12‑month period during which an eligible employee is entitled to a combined total of 26 weeks of all types of FMLA leave.
  2. Unless the faculty member makes special arrangements and is granted permission by the Dean of the College to do so, FMLA leave for the birth or adoption of a child or for foster care placement must be taken all at one time.  FMLA leave taken because of the faculty member’s or another’s serious health condition may be taken intermittently, all at one time, or in the form of a reduced work schedule, depending upon what is medically necessary.  Leave taken by part-time faculty members in the form of a reduced schedule will be prorated to the FTE of the faculty member’s appointment during the last twelve months preceding the leave.
  3. If FMLA leave is taken due to the serious health condition of the faculty member or a family member, medical certification may be required before the leave begins or as soon as practicable afterward.  While on leave, the faculty member may be required to furnish recertification regarding a serious health condition.  A faculty member who has taken an FMLA leave due to a serious health condition will be required to present a fitness‑for‑duty release prior to being restored to employment.  The college may, at its own discretion and expense, require a second opinion at any time.
  4. FMLA leave should be scheduled as far in advance as possible.  If the need for a leave is foreseeable, at least thirty (30) days advance notice should be given.
  5. While on FMLA leave, health insurance benefits will continue in the same manner as prior to the leave.  St. Olaf will continue to contribute toward the college’s health care plan during the FMLA leave, with the faculty member paying the balance of the premiums for higher coverage or dependent coverage.  Faculty member co-payments must be made in a timely manner to avoid jeopardizing continued coverage.  Faculty members who do not return from their leave will be required to reimburse the college for premiums paid on their behalf during the FMLA leave, except in certain limited circumstances specified by the Act.
  6. Upon returning from a FMLA leave, a faculty member is entitled to be restored to the same position he or she held when the leave began, or to an equivalent position.  There may, however, be certain circumstances when a faculty member will be denied restoration, such as reductions in force or layoffs due to financial exigency, or lack of ability to perform essential job functions.
  7. The twelve (12) weeks of FMLA time available to eligible faculty members will be calculated on a rolling year basis, measured backwards from the time the employee wishes to take leave.
  8. If faculty members are eligible for both unpaid FMLA leave and any paid leave (such as sick pay through the salary continuation program or worker’s compensation wage replacement benefits), faculty members are required to use the paid leave concurrently with unpaid FMLA leave.  Any other leave granted under this Leaves of Absence policy also shall run concurrently with FMLA leave.
  9. Faculty members who anticipate requesting a Family and Medical Leave Act leave must check with the Human Resources Office for specific information regarding application procedures.  If you have questions about your leave entitlements, please contact the Human Resources Office.

*A faculty member’s entitlement to leave under the Act expires twelve (12) months from the date of the birth or placement.