Faculty Handbook

Family and Medical Leave

7/19/18: updated contact at end of page

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 requires that eligible employees be allowed to take unpaid leave, or paid leave if earned, for a period of up to twelve work weeks in any twelve month period (defined by MSU as the fiscal year, i.e., July 1 through June 30) for the following reasons:  incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth; to care for the employee's child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care; to care for  the employee's spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee's job.

Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent on active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation may use their 12-week leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies.  Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings.

FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a 12-month period beginning on the first day of leave. A covered service member is a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the service member medically unfit to perform his or her duties for which the service member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.

The Act provides that an employee may use his/her leave entitlement intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary.  Leave due to qualifying exigencies may also be taken on an intermittent basis.

Health and dental benefits, if enrolled, will be maintained at the same level and under the same conditions as coverage would have been provided if the faculty/academic staff member were continuously employed during the entire leave period.

Faculty and academic staff who have regular appointments of nine months or longer at 50% time or more and have been employed by MSU for at least twelve months are eligible under FMLA.  Faculty and academic staff with fixed-term appointments of less than nine months or less than 50% time who have been employed by MSU for at least 12 months and have at least 1,250 hours of service during the twelve months immediately preceding the commencement of FMLA leave are also eligible.

Faculty and academic staff are required to use paid leave provided by the short-term disability leave of absence policy (see preceding section) in the case of pregnancy, childbirth and/or recovery or their own "serious health condition" and count it toward the twelve weeks of leave permitted under the FMLA.  Short term absences that are not "serious health conditions" do not count toward the twelve weeks of FMLA leave.  Faculty and academic staff may choose to use vacation leave for all or part of any otherwise unpaid FMLA leave, e.g., for the "serious health condition" of a family member.  Vacation leave for such purposes is counted toward the twelve weeks of leave permitted under the FMLA.

FMLA leave shall be concurrent with parental and other paid/unpaid leaves of absence taken for FMLA reasons.  For example, faculty and academic staff are not entitled to an additional twelve weeks of FMLA leave for birth of a child after the conclusion of a 12-week leave provided under the short-term disability and parental leave policies.

FMLA leave will not be provided beyond the end date of a fixed-term appointment.

Faculty and academic staff must provide their department chairperson/school director at least 30 days advance notice before FMLA leave is to begin if the need for the leave is foreseeable.  Otherwise, notice must be given as soon as practicable.  Units may require medical certification to support a request for leave because of a serious health condition and may require second or third opinions (at the unit's expense) and a fitness for duty report to return to work.

Questions regarding the FMLA may be directed to your department/school, Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs (353-5300) or the Human Resources Solutions Center (353-4434).

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