The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
Fact Sheet for Ball State University Employees
What Is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
FMLA requires covered employers, including Ball State, to provide up to 12 weeks during a “leave year” of unpaid, job-protected leave to “eligible” employees for specified family and medical reasons. The university defines the “leave year” as a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any Family and Medical Leave (FML). A new “leave year” is calculated each time FML is used.
The law contains provisions on employer coverage, employee eligibility for the law’s benefits, entitlement to leave, maintenance of health benefits during leave, job restoration after leave, notice and certification of the need for FML, and protection for employees who request or take FML. The law also requires employers to keep certain records.
Who Is Covered?
To be eligible for FMLA benefits, an employee must meet all three of the following requirements:
- have worked for the university for a total of 12 months (it does not need to be consecutive)
- have worked for the university at least 1,250 hours during the past 12 months
- have a balance of FML leave entitlement
Allowed Reasons for Leave
Ball State will grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during a leave year for one or more of the following reasons:
- the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee
- the placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care
- to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent, or qualified same-sex domestic partner) with a serious health condition
- the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition
- any qualifying exigency (“as the Secretary [of Labor] shall, by regulation, determine”) arising out of the fact that the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation
Leave for birth and care or placement for adoption or foster care must conclude within 12 months of the birth or placement.
Ball State University will grant an eligible employee up to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid leave during a leave year for the following reason:
“To care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, qualified same-sex domestic partner, or next of kin who is a “member of the Armed Forces, including some qualifying veterans, or is 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.”
What Qualifies as a ‘Serious Health Condition?'
“Serious health condition” means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:
- Hospitalization and Subsequent Treatment—Any period of incapacity involving an overnight stay in a hospital or residential medical care facility, and any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care; or
- Absence Plus Treatment—A period of incapacity (i.e., inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities) for more than three consecutive calendar days and also involves either:
- treatment two or more times by a health care provider; or
- treatment one time by a health care provider followed by a continuing regimen of treatment.
- Pregnancy and Prenatal Care—Any period of incapacity. A visit to a health care provider is not necessary for each absence.
- Chronic Conditions—Any period of incapacity due to a chronic condition which:
- requires periodic visits for treatment
- continues over an extended period of time
- may cause episodic rather than continuous incapacity. A visit to a health care provider is not necessary for each absence. Examples are asthma or diabetes.
- Permanent/Long Term Condition—A period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. The employee or family member must be under the continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a health care provider. Examples include Alzheimer’s, a severe stroke, or the terminal stages of a disease.
- Conditions requiring Multiple Treatments—Any period of incapacity for restorative surgery or for conditions that if left untreated would result in incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days.
Under some circumstances, employees may take FML intermittently, which means taking leave in blocks of time, or by reducing their normal weekly or daily work schedules.
FML may be taken intermittently whenever medically necessary to care for a seriously ill family member or because the employee is seriously ill and unable to work.
When intermittent leave is needed to care for an immediate family member or the employee’s own illness and is for planned medical treatment, the employee must try to schedule leave so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operation.
Paid Leave—What about Vacation and Sick Leave?
For faculty, professional, and staff personnel, only the employee’s remaining balance of sick leave for the care of a family member (five days per year) may be substituted for the unpaid FML when the FML is for the care of a family member. Under university policy, when an employee uses FML for his or her own health condition, accrued sick leave will be applied during the FML; however, using accrued vacation during the FML is the employee’s option after the exhaustion of accrued sick leave.
University service personnel (Bargaining Unit) may use scheduled PTO (paid time off), accrued time from their IPB (income protection bank), or unpaid leave (or any combination of the three options) for any FML for their own serious health condition. Service personnel may use scheduled PTO (paid time off), or use unpaid leave (or a combination of the two) for any FML taken for the care of a family member during the family member’s serious health condition, for the care of a newborn child, newly adopted child, or a newly placed foster child. If your disability continues for more than 8 calendar days, you may be eligible for Short-Term Disability Pay (STDP); contact The Hartford at 1-800-741-4306 to apply.
Maintaining Health Benefits
Ball State University will maintain group health insurance coverage for an employee on FML who was actively covered by our Plan at the time the leave begins with no change in the benefit as long as the employee share of the premium is paid.
It is the employee’s responsibility to make arrangements with the Office of Payroll and Employee Benefits (765-285-8461) to pay his or her share of health insurance premiums while on leave. In some instances the university may recover premiums it paid to maintain health coverage for an employee who fails to return to work from FML. If possible, the employee should schedule a time to meet with the Benefits staff before the FML begins to understand how their benefits will be affected during the leave of absence.
Will I be Able to Return to my Same Job?
Except for certain employees designated as “key” employees, an employee must be restored to his or her original job or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment upon return from FML.
In addition, an employee’s use of FML cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that the employee earned or was entitled to before using FML.
How to Provide Notice and Certification
An employee seeking to use FML is required to provide 30-day advance notice of the need to take FML when the need is foreseeable and such notice is practicable (i.e., a planned inpatient surgery). When the need for leave (an absence from work) is unforeseeable, the employee must give notice as soon as practicable.
Ball State University may also require an employee to provide:
- medical certification supporting the medical need for leave due to a serious health condition of the employee or the employee’s family member
- second or third medical opinions (at the university’s expense)
- periodic recertification every 30 days unless the initial period of incapacity certified by the health care provider is longer than 30 days
- periodic reports during the leave regarding the employee’s status and intent to return to work
- a “fitness-for-duty” certificate from the health care provider and a clearance from University Health Center before a return to work
Contact University Human Resource Services (765-285-1036) if you have questions or would like to request Family and Medical Leave.
Special Note for Faculty
Faculty are reminded that any leave request other than special assigned leave is separate from the tenure and promotion process. Specifically, faculty members requesting FML, or any other leave of absence from the university, will need to work with their unit heads to discuss and complete any request to stop/extend their probationary period.