Family and Medical Leave: Employee Information

The University recognizes that during your career, circumstances may arise that require you to take a prolonged or intermittent absence from work for family or medical reasons. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows eligible employees to take job-protected leave for certain qualifying medical and family reasons. FMLA also ensures that health insurance coverage will continue during the leave under the same terms and conditions as if the leave had not been taken.

Qualifying Reasons & Eligibility for FML

If you are eligible, you can take time off of work for health reasons, for a new baby, or to care for a seriously ill family member. All employees, including student workers and graduate assistants/associates, may be eligible for FML.

Requesting FML

FML is restricted to parents, children, or spouses and applies only to serious illnesses, including some chronic health conditions that may cause episodic rather than foreseeable illnesses. If you believe you may be eligible and have a qualifying reason, start the FML process with a request for leave.

Your Pay and Benefits While on FML

FML is unpaidbut if you have available paid time off, you must use it during your leave. Your benefits coverage will continue while your portion of the premiums is paid through payroll deduction, or if you are unpaid, by direct bill.

Your Responsibilities While on FML

There are several ways to ensure that your leave goes smoothly.

Your Rights Under the FMLA

The University commits to restore you to the same or equivalent job when you return from an FMLA-qualifying leave. Also, the use of FML leave cannot cause you to lose any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of your leave.

If you believe your supervisor or department is interfering with your right to take FML, or is retaliating against you for using FML, contact the Division of Human Resources at 520-621-3660 or

University and Federal Resources

Find University of Arizona information and policies, as well as resources from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Paid & Unpaid Leave

FML itself is not paid. However, under University policy, during your FML absence you must use any paid time you have accrued. If you are a remote employee who lives in a state with paid family and medical leave, contact the Division of Human Resources at 520-621-3660.

Yes, before you take unpaid leave, you must use all paid time you have available, which may include vacation, sick, compensatory, and parental leave. You may choose which types of paid time you use in which order.

No. You must use all paid leave at your full FTE before you take any unpaid leave time.

No, student workers are not eligible for paid time during any absence. However, you must follow the processes for requesting FML and will report unpaid FML time (time reporting code FMST) for all absences from work due to the FMLA-qualifying reason.

Notify your supervisor of the event, so that it can be credited with the appropriate pay designation. You will be paid for that time and it will not count toward your FML entitlement.

Leave for Childbirth or Adoption

Yes. Pregnancy is considered to be a serious health condition, so you may take FML for any period you are unable to work due to pregnancy, or the need for prenatal care, Your spouse may also take FML.

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.

No, since you are both employees of the same employer, you can only take a total of 12 weeks of FML. However, if both you and your spouse qualify for paid parental leave, you may each take six weeks of paid leave to bond with your baby.

Time Tracking

The Family and Medical Leave Act and University policy require that absences due to an FMLA-qualifying reason be reported and tracked as FML, whether or not you are receiving compensation. FML is job-protected leave, so it benefits you to apply.

Here are common FML time reporting codes in UAccess Employee:

FML + paid sick time FMSE or FMSP
FML + vacation time FMVE or FMVP
FML + holiday pay FMHE or FMHP
FML + paid parental leave FPLE or FPLP
FML + compensatory time taken FMCT
FML + compassionate transfer of leave sick FCSE or FCSP
FML + compassionate transfer of leave holiday FCHE or FCHP
FML unpaid absence FMUE or FMUP
FML for grad assistant, unpaid FMGD
FML + grad assistant paid parental leave FPLG
FML for student employee, unpaid FMST

A complete list of time reporting codes and descriptions is available on the Financial Services Office website at

Only absences taken due to the FMLA-qualifying reason are counted against your FML balance.

For example, if you normally work 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, and your reduced work schedule is 4 hours per day, 5 days a week, you would record 4 hours of FML per day, for 20 hours FML per week.

If your position is subject to the University closure, then the closure period as well as the paid holidays of December 24 (Christmas Eve), December 25 (Christmas Day), and January 1 (New Year's Day), do not count toward your FML entitlement. You can be paid holiday and university closure time as long as you are in a paid status on the last workday prior to the Christmas Eve holiday and the first workday after January 1.

In cases where your position is not subject to the University closure, such as when a department does not observe the closure, FML should be recorded for qualifying absences from scheduled work.

Employee Rights & Responsibilities

All FML leave forms are retained in your home department and Division of Human Resources records. However, all medical certifications and FMLA leave documentation are maintained as confidential medical records in separate files, apart from your personnel files.

If you have concerns about submitting FMLA paperwork to your supervisor you may consult with your unit HR representative, if one exists, or contact the Leave Advising Team in the Division of Human Resources.

Note that no FMILA form, including the medical certification, must provide a medical diagnosis or protected health information. All that is required is verification that you have a serious health condition, how that condition affects your ability to work, and how long the limitation is expected to last.

Under FMLA regulations:

  • When you return to work, the University must restore you to your previous position or an equivalent one.
  • Your supervisor cannot retaliate against you for exercising your right to FML.
  • Your supervisor cannot interfere with your leave (e.g., cannot require you to work from home).

The University must continue your health insurance coverage if you continue to pay your portion of the premiums. The University allows you to continue all benefits if you pay the employee premiums.

While you are in paid status, the University will continue to make payroll deductions for your benefits, as normal.

If you move to an unpaid status, you will have the choice to continue all benefits, waive all benefits, or waive only certain benefits during your leave period. If you elect to retain coverage, the University will bill you for the employee portion of the applicable premium(s). Your benefits may be terminated if you do not pay the premiums or contact the Division of Human Resources to arrange a payment plan.

Within 31 days of returning to work, submit a Qualified Life Event form to Human Resources to have your benefits restored.

You need to inform your supervisor or leave advisor of your inability to return to work at the end of your scheduled leave entitlement. The department has the discretion to allow you to take other non-FMLA unpaid leave. Contact your supervisor, HR representative, or the Leave Advising Team to discuss potential leave options.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) you have the right to request reasonable accommodations for a disability, which may include a non-FMLA unpaid leave or modifications to where and how you do your work. Contact the University’s Disability Resource Center for a consultation as soon as you believe an accommodation may be required.

If you believe your rights under the FMLA may have been violated, contact the Division of Human Resources at 520-621-3660 or

If you know you will need to take leave (e.g., you are pregnant or have scheduled surgery), notify your supervisor, HR representative, or the Division of Human Resources at least 30 days in advance. Begin the leave application process promptly and work with your department to plan how your work responsibilities will be covered during your absence.

If your absence is unforeseeable, notify your supervisor verbally as soon as possible, then complete the application process as soon as you are able.

Follow your department’s absence notification and time reporting procedures as instructed by your supervisor.

Keep your supervisor or designated contact person at the University apprised if the circumstances of your leave change, you need to extend your leave, or you decide not to return to work (e.g., long-term disability or retirement).

Recertification Requirements

No, if your intermittent absences are consistent with the FML certification forms you submitted to your supervisor or leave advisor, then all absences for that cause are considered a single leave reason. However, you should follow your department’s normal absence notification procedures.

You may have to provide a recertification when (1) you request an extension of your leave, (2) the circumstances of the previous certification change significantly, or (3) information casts doubt on the reason for your absence or the continuing validity of the previous certification. In all cases, a supervisor, HR representative, or leave advisor may require recertification for an extended absence.

The Designation Notice you received will indicate whether a fitness-for-duty certification is required. If it is, you must provide this certification from your health-care provider on or before the first day you return to work. Your supervisor has the right to prohibit you from returning to work until you provide the fitness-for-duty certification.

If there are any restrictions on your return to work (e.g., how much weight you can lift following surgery), these should be documented in a medical certification from your health-care provider.

Military Leave Entitlement

Yes, if you are eligible for FML, you may take up to 26 work weeks of job-protected FML during a single 12-month period in order to care for a covered service member who was injured on military active duty.

Yes, your loss of childcare is a qualifying exigency arising from the fact that your spouse is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call to duty). FML may also be used for qualifying exigencies arising from your child or parent serving in the military.

Examples of qualifying exigencies include

  • attending military events;
  • arranging or providing for alternative childcare or school for the minor child of a covered military member;
  • addressing financial or legal arrangements;
  • attending counseling sessions; and
  • making funeral arrangements or addressing issues that arise from the death of a service member on active duty.

You may also use FML for a covered service member

  • for 7 calendar days prior to the date of a short-notice deployment;
  • for up to 5 calendar days each time the service member is on a short-term, temporary rest and recuperation leave during the period of deployment; or
  • for attending ceremonies or other official post-deployment programs sponsored by the military that occur within 90 calendar days following the termination of the service member’s period of active duty.

For purposes of the military family leave entitlement, the leave year begins on the first day you take FML to care for the covered service member and ends 12 months after that date. You may not take more than 26 work weeks of FML within a single 12-month period. If the reason for requesting FML qualifies for both the military family leave entitlement and the basic leave entitlement, the leave is credited to military family leave, and you cannot take more than 26 work weeks during the leave year.

If there are separate reasons for the use of the military family leave entitlement and the basic leave entitlement, the eligible employee is limited to a combined total of 26 work weeks during the single 12-month period provided that no more than 12 weeks of FMLA leave is for the basic leave qualifying reason.

You may each use your available balance of the military family leave entitlement. However you and your spouse are limited to a combined total of 26 work weeks during a single 12-month period.

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