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FMLA FAQs

Am I required to use my accrued paid time off during FMLA leave?

Yes, you must use all accrued paid time you have available, which may include vacation, sick, compensatory, parental leave, and compassionate transfer of leave hours, before you take unpaid leave. It is at your discretion to elect which types of paid time you use in which order.

Can I take a combination of paid and unpaid leave simultaneously during FML?

No. You must use all paid leave—which may include vacation, sick, compensatory, parental leave, and compassionate transfer of leave hours—at your full FTE before you take any unpaid leave time.

What types of University employees are eligible for FMLA leave?

All Appointed Personnel (faculty, professional, administrative, postdoctoral scholar), Classified Staff, Student Workers, and Graduate Assistant/Associates who meet the following requirements are eligible:

  1. Has been employed by the University for at least 12 months; and
  2. Has worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of the FMLA leave.

I am not in a benefits-eligible position, am I eligible for FMLA leave?

Yes, if you meet the following eligibility requirements:
  1. Has been employed by the University for at least 12 months; and
  2. Has worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of the FMLA leave.

Note: If your position or appointment will end/terminate for reasons irrespective of your use of FMLA leave, then you will only be eligible for FMLA leave until that end/termination date.

I was recently rehired at the University following a break in service, am I able to count my prior University employment to show that I have "been employed by the University for at least 12 months"?

Yes, as long as the break in University service does not exceed 7 years, except if the 7 or more year break in service was due to National Guard or Reserve military service obligations.

Does the time taken off for vacation, sick leave, holidays or unpaid hours count toward the requirement to have worked at least 1,250 hours preceding the FMLA leave start date?

No, paid and unpaid absences or leave are not counted toward the 1,250 work hour requirement. Only those hours actually worked are counted.

Is there a resource to help me calculate FMLA leave eligibility?

Yes, an employee or Designated Leave Coordinator may access the FMLA Leave Eligibility Calculator to calculate hours worked and FMLA leave used.

I would rather not apply for FMLA leave now and instead save it for a later time when I may really need it. Is this allowable?

If you are an eligible employee, and you are taking leave for a FMLA leave qualifying reason, then you must take FMLA for the current leave request. If you need additional leave at a later date, your eligibility and FMLA leave balance will be reviewed at that time. If your FMLA leave entitlement is exhausted, you may contact your supervisor, Designated Leave Coordinator or Human Resources Benefits Administration to discuss if other leave options are possible.

Am I supposed to use FMLA leave every time I don’t feel well enough to work?

Unless complications arise, the common cold or flu, ear aches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, headaches other than migrane, are not serious health conditions for purposes of FMLA leave. See Serious Health Condition definition.

Do I have to use FMLA leave if I am absent three or more days?

If the reason for the absence is a qualifying FMLA reason, such as a serious health condition, then you will need to apply for FMLA leave.

I sometimes need to take unscheduled time off work for a few minutes or a few hours at a time because of a medical condition. Should I be using FMLA leave?

The definition of a serious health condition includes medical conditions which may only require you to take leave on an intermittent basis, such as a chronic health condition, which may episodic rather than scheduled or foreseeable.

May I take FMLA leave prior to the birth of my child?

Yes, pregnancy is considered to be a serious health condition and an eligible employee may take FMLA leave due to any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care; a spouse may also take FMLA leave due to this serious health condition.

May I take FMLA leave prior to the placement of a child with me for adoption or foster care?

Yes, if an absence from work is required for the placement to proceed, including for legal proceedings, counseling or travel to complete the adoption or foster care.

My spouse and I both are employees at the University. We will be having a baby; are we both eligible for twelve weeks of FMLA leave for the birth and bonding with our newborn?

No, since you are both employees of the same employer, the total between the two of you will not exceed twelve weeks of FMLA leave.

If I work a reduced or intermittent schedule, how much time will be counted against my FMLA basic leave entitlement?

Only the absence periods due to the qualifying FMLA leave reason will be counted as FMLA leave taken, up to 100% of your regularly scheduled work hours.

Is the information on my health care certification form confidential?

All FMLA leave forms will be kept in the employee’s department and University records; however all medical certifications or related FMLA leave documentation will be maintained as confidential medical records in separate files, apart from employee personnel files.

I was approved for intermittent FMLA leave for my own serious medical condition. Do I have to provide a doctor’s note each time I am going to be out due to my illness?

No, if your intermittent absences are consistent with the FMLA leave certification forms you submitted to your supervisor or Designated Leave Coordinator, then all absences for the same FMLA qualifying leave reason are considered a single leave reason and wouldn’t require a note each time you are absent. However, you are expected to meet the normal absence notification procedures (call-in procedures).

Am I required to submit a recertification for my serious health condition if I gave it to my supervisor prior to taking leave?

An employee may be required to submit subsequent certifications (recertification) when an employee requests an extension of leave, or if the circumstances of the previous certification have changed significantly, or if information casts doubt upon the reason for the absence or continuing validity of the previous certification. In all cases, a supervisor or Designated Leave Coordinator may require recertification every 6 months in connection with an absence.

Is FMLA leave paid?

FMLA leave runs concurrently with the use of the eligible employee’s accrued paid time benefits, as applicable, (i.e., sick time, vacation time, and, for non-exempt employees, compensatory time), approved use of compassionate transfer of leave, paid parental leave, and during the receipt of any disability/insurance plan payments (i.e., short-term disability, long-term disability, or worker’s compensation). A period of FMLA leave will be unpaid if the employee is not eligible for accrued paid time or exhausts his or her balance of accrued paid time.

I am a student worker, am I eligible for paid time while taking FMLA leave?

No, student workers are not eligible for paid time during any absence. However, if you are an eligible employee, you must follow the processes for requesting FMLA leave and will report FMLA leave unpaid time (time reporting code FMUP) for all absences from your scheduled work due to the FMLA qualifying reason.

Why do I report FMLA leave if I have enough sick or vacation to cover my absence?

The Family and Medical Leave Act and University policy require that leave qualifying under FMLA to be reported and tracked as FMLA Leave regardless of the source of compensation.

How do I report my FMLA leave time?

FMLA time reporting codes in UAccess Employee are as follows:

FML Sick time = FMSE or FMSP
FML Vacation time = FMVE or FMVP
FML Unpaid = FMUE or FMUP
FML Holiday pay = FMHE or FMHP
FML Paid Parental Leave = FPLE or FPLP
FML Comp Time Taken = FMCT
FML Grad Assistant Unpaid = FMGD
FML Grad Assistant Paid Parental Leave = FMGD
FML Student Employee Unpaid = FMST

A complete list of time reporting codes and descriptions is available on the Financial Services Office website at: http://www.fso.arizona.edu/payroll/departments/trc

What happens to my benefits while I am on FMLA Leave?

While on a paid FMLA leave, the University will continue to make payroll deductions to collect an employee’s share of group insurance premiums.
 
While on an unpaid FMLA leave, an employee may choose to retain or terminate any or all of his or her current group insurance coverage (i.e., medical, dental, vision, life insurance, short-term disability insurance). If the employee elects to retain coverage, then he or she must continue to pay the employee portion of the applicable premium(s), by submitting a payment either in person or by mail as required by University procedures.

I am receiving worker’s compensation. Do I still request and report FMLA leave?

Yes, if the reason for your absence/leave qualifies for FMLA leave, such as for your own serious health condition, then you and your supervisor or Designated Leave Coordinator will follow the FMLA leave procedures if you have not exhausted all of your FMLA leave entitlement. FMLA runs concurrently with any worker’s compensation payments and with use of any applicable paid or unpaid time. If you are receiving worker’s compensation payments, you may elect to be unpaid or use paid time benefits (i.e., sick time, vacation time, compensatory time) to supplement such payments, as long as the total of such payments does not exceed your gross earnings.

If I work a reduced or intermittent schedule, how much time will be counted against my FMLA leave entitlement?

Only the time actually taken as leave for the FMLA qualifying reason may be counted towards your FMLA balance.
 
For example, if you normally work 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, and you will work a reduced work schedule of 4 hours per day and take 4 hours of FMLA leave per day, at the end of the week you will have used 20 hours or ½ of a week of your FMLA entitlement.

Do I record FMLA leave during the University Holiday Closure?

If your position was subject to the closure period, do not record FMLA leave during the closure period (dates of closure and paid holidays). A supervisor may authorize any combination of the available University Closure Compensation options found in the University Closure Compensation policy to cover the University Closure days. If your position is not subject to the University Closure, such as when a department does not observe the closure, FMLA leave will be charged for FMLA leave qualifying absences.

Must an employee provide a doctor’s note prior to returning to work from a FMLA leave?

If the FMLA leave was due to an employee’s own serious health condition and the supervisor or Designated Leave Coordinator indicated on the Designation Notice that a fitness-for-duty certification was required in the Designation Notice, then the employee must provide such certification from his or her health care provider on or before the date the employee is scheduled to return to work.

What happens if I exhaust all FMLA leave and I am still unable to return to work?

Although you may have available sick and vacation time, you will inform your supervisor or Designated Leave Coordinator of your inability to return to work at the end of your FMLA leave entitlement. You may apply for other non FMLA leaves, however approval of other non FMLA leave is at the discretion of your department. You may contact your supervisor, Designated Leave Coordinator or Human Resources Benefits Administration to discuss if other leave options are possible. An employee who requires reasonable accommodation for a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (as amended), including any extension of leave following an FMLA leave, should make a request for reasonable accommodation through the University’s Disability Resource Center as soon as he or she believes that such an accommodation may be required.

My father serves in the Navy and was recently injured and is undergoing medical treatment. Can I take intermittent FMLA leave to take him to his related medical appointments?

Yes, if you are an eligible employee you may take up to 26 work weeks of job-protected FMLA leave during a “single 12-month period” in order to care for a covered servicemember who was injured in the line of military active duty.

My spouse is in the Air Force and has been called to active duty. I need to arrange for alternate childcare. Am I entitled to FMLA?

Yes, if you are an eligible employee, you may use any of your available basic leave entitlement balance to address any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that your spouse, child, or parent is a military member and is on (or has been notified of an impending call to) “covered active duty” in the Armed Forces.

What are some examples of Qualifying Exigencies?

Examples of qualifying exigencies include attending military events, arranging or providing for alternative child care or school for the child of a covered military member, addressing financial or legal arrangements, attending counseling sessions and to make funeral arrangements or address issues that arise from the death of a covered military member while on active duty status. FMLA leave may also be used for a period of 7 calendar days prior to the date of a short-notice deployment of a covered military member; for up to 5 calendar days each instance a covered military member is on a short-term, temporary, rest and recuperation leave during the period of deployment; or for attendance at ceremonies or other official post-deployment programs sponsored by the military for a period of 90 calendar days following the termination of the covered military member’s active duty status.

What does "job protected leave" represent for employees?

FMLA protection includes:
  • Commitment of the employer to restore the employee to the same or equivalent job upon returning from an FMLA qualifying leave.
  • The use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an employee's leave.


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