DHDA. Family and Medical Leave of Absence

PURPOSE
The purpose of this policy is to define South Plains College’s position with respect to employees who need to miss work due to personal or family medical situations.

POLICY
South Plains College is covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (the "FMLA") and will comply with the requirements of the Act. Under the provisions of the FMLA, eligible employees are entitled to take a leave for the following reasons:

1. Parental Leave:
A. Birth of a child or in order to care for child (must be taken within twelve- (12) months of the birth);


B. The adoption or foster care of a child (must be taken within twelve (12) months of the adoption or placement in foster care).

2. Medical Leave
A. The need to care for an employee’s spouse, son, *daughter, *or parent who has a serious health condition; or


B. The employee’s own serious health condition.
*Children must be either under the age of eighteen (18), or age eighteen (18) or older and "incapable of self-care" because of mental or physical disability.


SPOUSE AGGREGATION
In the case where both an employee and his/her spouse are employed by South Plains College, the aggregate number of weeks to which both associates are entitled because of the birth or placement of a child or to care for a parent with a serious health condition will be limited to twelve (12) workweeks during any twelve (12) month period. This limitation does not apply in instances where leave is take because of an employee’s own serious health condition or to care for a spouse or child with serious health condition.

Although leave may be taken for any of the above-listed reason, and employee is entitled to a total of twelve (12) weeks of FMLA-covered leave within a rolling twelve (12) month period, measured backward from the date of the most recent request for a covered leave of absence. This means that each time an employee requests a leave under the provisions of this policy, the available time for a leave of absence will be the balance of the total twelve (12) weeks that has not been used during the twelve (12) month period immediately preceding the commencement of leave.

ELIGIBILITY
To be eligible for leave, an employee must have been employed by South Plains College for at least twelve (12) months and have worked for the least 1250 hours during the twelve (12) month period immediately preceding the commencement of leave.

NOTICE REQUIREMENTS
Anyone requesting a leave of absence under this policy should see his/her Human Resources representative and complete the proper leave request forms. Where the need for leave is foreseeable, the request must be submitted at least thirty (30) days prior to the desired beginning of a leave of absence. Failure to give at least thirty (30) days notice of foreseeable need for a leave of absence may delay the start of such leave until thirty (30) days after the date the notice is received by the College.

If the need for a leave is not foreseeable, the employee must provide at least verbal notification to his/her supervisor within three (3) days of learning of the need for leave. In such an event, the employee must submit a written request for leave to the Human Resources Department as soon as practicable after giving verbal notice.

CERTIFICATION OF THE NEED FOR LEAVE
In addition to providing notice of the need for a leave, any employee who needs to have an FMLA-covered Medical Leave of Absence must present certification of the need for a leave of absence. This certification must be provided with fifteen (15) days of the request. The Human Resources Department has forms available for an employee to have completed by his/her health-care provider. Failure to provide certification may result in the employee’s leave being delayed, denied, or revoked.
NOTE: South Plains College reserves the right to a second or third medical certification at the College’s expense. South Plains College further reserves the right to require re-certification of the continuance of a serious health condition at thirty - (30) day intervals. Re-certification may also be required if:
    •    An employee requests an extension of leave
    •    Circumstances described by the original certification have changed significantly;
    •    South Plains College receives information that casts doubt upon the continuing validity of the certification; or
    •    An employee is unable to return to work because of the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition.

INTERMITTENT LEAVE
Generally, FMLA leave must be taken in a single block. Under certain circumstances, however, FMLA leave may be taken on an intermittent or reduced work schedule basis. A Parental Leave of Absence may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule basis if the employee and the College can agree on the schedule requested by the employee.

A Medical Leave of Absence may be taken intermittently or on the reduced work schedule basis if the requesting employee produces the required certification that there is a medical need for a leave of absence and that the medical need is best accommodated through an intermittent leave or reduced work schedule.

If medical leave is requested on an intermittent or reduced work schedule basis, the College may, at the discretion of management, transfer the employee temporarily to an available alternative position for which the employee is qualified and which better accommodates recurring periods of leave than does the employee’s regular position. Any such transfer will be to a job that offers pay and benefits that are equivalent to those available in the employee’s regular job.

FMLA LEAVE IS UNPAID
Employees on approved FMLA leave of absence will be required to use any earned, unused vacation and sick days during the approved leave of absence. All employees on approved FMLA leave of absence will not receive pay for lost time other than earned, unused vacation or sick days.

RETURN TO WORK
An employee returning from a leave taken because of his/her own health condition must provide certification from his/her health-care provider that he/she is able to return to work.
Employees will not lose any seniority or other benefits that were accumulated before FMLA leave was taken. Employees will not, however, be entitled to discretionary raises, promotions, or other benefits that become available during the period of leave. Benefit accruals, such as vacation, sick leave, or holiday benefits will be suspended during leave and will resume upon return to active employment.

SPC will not hold a position for an employee who does not return to work after the leave has expired.

EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN EMPLOYEES
Salaried employees in the highest-paid ten percent (10%) of the College workforce are not guaranteed job restoration if returning such employees to work would cause substantial and grievous economic injury to the College. However, these employees will still be entitled to continuation of health benefits throughout the leave period. South Plains College will notify employees in writing at the time leave is requested or at such time as the College determines that the employee qualifies for this exemption. If the leave has already begun, the employee will be given the option of deciding whether or not to return to work after receiving the notice. An employee who will not be restored will remain an employee of South Plains College during the duration of his/her leave.

HEALTH INSURANCE
An employee away from work due to FMLA leave will continue medical insurance coverage at the College’s expense. The employee will be responsible for payments of his/her voluntary insurance premium(s) on the same day such payment would be required if payment were made by payroll deduction. Where the need for a leave of absence is foreseeable, the employee will be asked to sign an agreement before the leave of absence begins that:
Discloses the amount that the employee must remit on a timely basis to retain the coverage; and Indicates that the employee understand his/her voluntary insurance premium payment obligations.
If the FMLA leave is not foreseeable, this agreement must be signed as soon as possible after the leave begins.

An employee’s failure to pay premiums within thirty - (30) days of the due date for such premiums will result in the loss of his/her voluntary insurance coverage.
If an employee does not return to work at the end of an approved FMLA leave, he/she may be required to repay the College for the insurance premiums it paid.
 
Amendment: Replaces DHD


Authorized by: Executive Council


Nature of Revision: Content & Clarification


Date Issued: 10/99

 


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