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Family Medical Leave Act Procedures

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Personnel Policy Policy Number:
Link to: Family and Medical Leave Act Policy
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I. Procedure

Procedure Quick Links
A. Eligibility
B. Leave Duration
C. Application Process
D. Pay and Benefits
E. Medical Certification
F. Return to Work
G. Records

A. Eligibility

1. Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if they have been employed by the Town for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding the start of the leave. Military leave counts as hours worked.

2. Employees must provide a request for FMLA leave for one of the qualifying reasons which include:

a) Birth of a child and to care for a newborn child of the employee, spouse or domestic partner as qualified by the Town’s Affidavit of Domestic Partnership.

b) Placement with the employee of a child through adoption or foster care.

c) Care for the employee's spouse or domestic partner, the employee’s child younger than 18, the domestic partner’s child younger than 18, or the employee’s parent who has a serious health condition.

d) Care for the employee's or domestic partner's child 18 or older who has a serious health condition and is incapable of self-care.

e) A serious health condition that renders the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job.

f) Care for a covered current servicemember who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty that may render the servicemenber medically unfit to perform his or her duties and requires medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy. The employee must be the spouse, domestic partner, child, parent or next of kin of the servicemember.

B. Leave Duration

1. Up to 12 workweeks: FMLA leave for the birth, adoption or placement of a child, serious health condition or the employee or the employee’s qualifying family member; or due to a qualifying exigency is limited to a total of 12 workweeks during a calendar year.

2. Up to 26 workweeks: FMLA leave entitlement to care for an injured servicemember is up to 26 weeks in a single calendar year.

3. Intermittent Leave: FMLA leave can be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule if there is a medical need. The employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment so as not to disrupt unduly the operations of the Town. Whenever possible, employees should discuss scheduling with their immediate supervisor prior to scheduling any medical treatment in order to accommodate the work schedule.

a) Arrangements for intermittent leave may be made using the following schedule accommodations:

i) Intermittent leave can be taken in separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason.

ii) A reduced leave schedule could reduce an employee’s usual number of working hours per workweek, or hours per workday.

iii) A reduced schedule could change in the employee’s schedule for a period of time.

b) When an employee takes a leave on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule, only the amount of leave actually taken may be counted toward the employee’s leave entitlement.

c) If leave is used intermittently or on a reduced schedule, the Town reserves the right to temporarily transfer the employee to another position for which the employee is qualified, and which better accommodates recurring periods of leave.

4. When an employee qualifies for FMLA, leave will run concurrently with Worker's Compensation leave during a work-related injury/illness.

C. Application Process

1. When to Apply for FMLA Leave:

a) Foreseeable Leave: Employees seeking to use FMLA leave are required to provide 30-day advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when the need is foreseeable and such notice is practicable. If leave is foreseeable less than 30 days in advance, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable – generally, either the same or next business day.

b) Non-foreseeable Leave: When the need for leave is not foreseeable, the employee must provide notice to the employer as soon as practicable under the facts and circumstances of the particular case. Absent unusual circumstances, employees must comply with the employer’s usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for requesting leave.

c) Retroactive Designation: For leave that has not previously been designated as FMLA, employees may request that those prior absences be designated retroactively as FMLA by notifying the supervisor and/or HRD within two (2) business days of their return to work and providing appropriate documentation. This does not apply to previously designated intermittent leave.

2. Application Submission:

a) Employees should meet with their Human Resource Development Partner to discuss the application and medical certification process for using FMLA leave.

b) FMLA Application forms must only be submitted to the Human Resource Development Department. Once approved, appropriate information will be shared with the employee’s department payroll and benefits representative. Refer to Medical Certification section of this policy for information about the certifications that are required before and during an FMLA leave.

c) The Human Resource Development Department will provide a written response within five (5) business days to employees who submit a complete FMLA leave application.

d) If an employee is eligible for FMLA leave, the Town will specify any additional information required as well as the employee’s rights and responsibilities. If they are not eligible, the Town will provide a reason for the ineligibility. The Human Resources Development Department will inform employees if leave will be designated as FMLA-protected and the amount of leave counted against the employee’s leave entitlement.

3. Final Notification: Once FMLA leave is approved for an employee, Department Directors must forward a completed Personnel Transaction Form (PTF) to HRD and the Payroll Division of the Business Management Department.

4. Town Initiated FMLA Placement:

a) Employees on approved leave who qualify for FMLA, but do not submit notice to their departments may be placed on FMLA by the Town.

b) Leave may be designated as FMLA when a qualifying event requires the use of three consecutive days of leave.

c) The Human Resource Development Department will notify employees who are placed on FMLA leave by the Town as soon as practical.

d) Employees on approved leave who qualify for FMLA, but do not submit notice to their departments may be placed on FMLA by the Town.

D. Pay and Benefits

1. Use of Leave Pay: Employees may use paid leave benefits such as sick, vacation, compensatory time, holiday, donated leave or leave without pay. All use of paid leave must comply with the Town’s leave use policies.

2. Maintenance of Benefits: During an approved leave the Town will continue to pay the employers’ share of benefits including BCBS healthcare insurance premium and disability insurance. Employees are responsible for any deductions they have withheld from their paycheck including dependent BCBS healthcare premiums, dental insurance, voluntary disability coverage, 401 K, child support and miscellaneous deductions.

3. Pay and Benefits Meeting: Employees should meet with the Payroll Supervisor of the Business Management Department to discuss using paid leave and maintaining payroll deductions and benefit status while on FMLA leave.

E. Medical Certification

1. Initial Medical Certification: The Town of Chapel Hill requires that an employee’s request for leave due to a serious health condition affecting the employee or a covered family member be supported by a certification from a health care provider.

2. Intermittent Leave - Second and Third Opinion Certifications: The Town of Chapel Hill may require, at its expense, the opinion of a second health care provider, so long as the health care provider is not regularly employed by the employer. If the second opinion differs from the first opinion, the Town may require, at its own expense, the opinion of a third health care provider, designated or approved jointly by the employer and employee. The third health care provider's opinion is final and binding on the employer and employee. The employer and the employee must act in good faith in agreeing on a third opinion provider. The Town will provide a copy of any second or third opinions to the employee on the employee's request.

3. Intermittent Leave - Re-certification: For leaves other than those taken to care for a newborn child or a child that is being placed with the employee for adoption or foster care, the Town of Chapel Hill may require medical re-certification to ensure that the need for FMLA intermittent leave continues to exist. In addition, the Town of Chapel Hill may require that doctors certify that the employee’s condition is incapacitating enough to warrant the days an employee was absent during a preceding period of time. Re-certifications are to be obtained at the employee’s expense.

4. Resuming Work Certification: If reasonable safety concerns exist, an employer may, under certain circumstances, require such a certification for employees returning from intermittent FMLA leave.

5. Incomplete Certifications: The employee must provide a complete and sufficient certification when a medical certification is requested by the Town within fifteen (15) days. If the Town deems the certification to be incomplete and insufficient, the Town may advise the employee of such and state in writing what additional information is necessary to make the certification complete and sufficient. The employee has seven (7) additional days to re-submit a complete and sufficient certification.

F. Return to Work

1. Eligible employees are entitled to be restored to the same or an equivalent position as they held when the leave started.

2. Employees on leave for a non-work related condition must present a medical release to return to work.

3. Upon returning to work, employees may be asked to medically certify that they are able to perform the essential functions of the position.

4. In accordance with Town policies and procedures, employees not able to return to work after using all FMLA leave benefits may request additional leave. Additional leave will require the approval of the Department Head and/or the Town Manager.

5. Termination of employment may occur while an employee is on leave as the result of a reduction in force or if the employee is unable to perform one or more of the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation.

6. Employees may be temporarily reassigned during Intermittent/Reduced Schedule FMLA Leave. In cases where intermittent leave or a reduced schedule has been approved, the Department may temporarily reassign the employee with no loss of pay or benefits to a different job or to a part-time position for the duration of the leave, which better accommodates the employee’s need for leave and the Department’s operational needs.

G. Records

1. Employees must comply with their department’s reporting procedures.

2. All FMLA records are confidential and will be maintained by the Human Resource Development Department.

3. Other than what is sent from the Human Resources Development Department to an employee’s Payroll and Benefits Representative, copies of FMLA records shall not be maintained in departmental files.

4. Time off due to FMLA will be tracked by the Payroll and Benefit Representatives in each department and communicated to HRD and the Payroll Division of the Business Management Department

5. Employees and Payroll and Benefit Representatives shall be responsible for noting when their time off was due to FMLA.

6. For leave that has not previously been designated as FMLA, employees may request that those prior absences be designated retroactively as FMLA by notifying the supervisor and/or HRD within two (2) business days of their return to work and providing appropriate documentation. This does not apply to previously designated intermittent leave.

II. Forms /Instruction

III. Definitions


A. Intermittent Leave: Leave that is not taken consecutively or leave taken on a reduced schedule. Examples of intermittent leave might be leave that is taken spread over a period of months.

B. Serious Health Condition: A condition which requires inpatient care at a hospital, a residential medical care facility; or a condition which requires continuing care by a licensed health care provider.

C. Family Member: The FMLA has its own definition of family member which is the employee’s spouse, child or the employee’s own parent. The Town’s Policy also includes domestic partner as defined in the Town Code of Ordinances, Section 14-58.

D. Serious Injury or Illness for Covered Servicemembers: The term “serious injury or illness,” in the case of a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, means an injury or illness incurred by the member in the line of duty while on active duty in the Armed Forces that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank, or rating.

E. Covered Servicemember: means 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.

F. Qualifying Exigency Leave: The military leave entitlement helps families of members of the National Guard and Reserves manage their affairs while the member is on active duty in support of a contingency operation. Reasons include short-notice deployment.

G. Qualifying military events and related activities: Childcare and school activities; Financial and legal arrangements; Counseling; Rest and recuperation; Post-deployment activities; Additional activities not encompassed in the other categories, but agreed to by the employer and employee.

IV. Responsibilities  
V. Appendicies  
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