1021: FMLA Leave Policy
Georgetown University provides unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons to eligible faculty and staff employees in accordance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, as amended (“Federal FMLA”), the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act (“DC FMLA”), and other applicable law.
Faculty and staff may coordinate FMLA leave with other types of paid and/or unpaid leave available to eligible employees, and these leaves will run concurrently. Other types of leave provided to faculty are described in the Faculty Handbook and Campus Policies. Other types of leave provided to staff are described in the Human Resources Policy Manual.
Types of FMLA Leave
Federal FMLA Leave
Eligibility: An employee is eligible for Federal FMLA leave if he or she (i) has completed 12 months of service with the University (which need not be consecutive, and includes periods of paid and unpaid leave), (ii) has worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave; and (iii) works at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the University within 75 miles.
Federal FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of leave combined during any 12- month period when leave is taken for one or more of the following reasons:
- The birth of a Son or Daughter of an employee and to care for the child within one year of birth.
- The placement with an employee of a Son or Daughter for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement.
- To care for a Spouse, Son, Daughter, or Parent with a Serious Health Condition.
- A Serious Health Condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position.
- A qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s Spouse, Son, Daughter, or Parent is a military member on Covered Active Duty, or has been notified of an impending call or order to Covered Active Duty status.
Consistent with Department of Labor regulations, a qualifying exigency includes: (1) short-notice deployment; (2) military events and related activities; (3) childcare and school activities; (4) financial and legal arrangements; (5) counseling; (6) rest and recuperation; (7) post-deployment activities; (8) parental care; and (9) additional activities to address other events which arise out of the Covered Servicemember’s active duty or call to active duty status, provided that both Georgetown and the employee agree that such leave shall qualify as an exigency, and agree to both the timing and duration of such leave.
Federal FMLA also provides eligible employees with up to 26 workweeks of leave combined during any 12-month period to provide care for a Covered Servicemember with a Serious Injury or Illness if the employee is the Spouse, Son, Daughter, Parent, or Next of Kin of the Covered Servicemember.
DC FMLA leave
Eligibility: An employee is eligible for DC FMLA leave if he or she (i) has been employed by the University for at least one year without a break in service except for regular holiday, sick or personal leave and (ii) has worked at least 1000 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the request for family or medical leave.
DC FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 16 workweeks of family leave and up to 16 workweeks of medical leave during any twenty-four month period.
Family leave can be taken for one or more of the following reasons:
- The birth of a Child of the employee within one year of birth.
- The placement of a Child with an employee for adoption or foster care within one year of placement.
- The placement of a Child for whom the employee permanently assumes and discharges parental responsibility within one year of placement.
- The care of an employee’s Family Member who has a Serious Health Condition.
Medical leave can be taken for a Serious Health Condition that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job functions.
- Coordination of Federal FMLA and DC FMLA Leave
Federal FMLA and DC FMLA run concurrently and cannot be used consecutively if leave is covered under both laws.
An eligible employee is limited to a combined total of 26 workweeks of Federal FMLA leave for any FMLA-qualifying reasons during a single 12-month period.
- Use of Intermittent or Reduced Leave
Leave may be used on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule if certified as medically necessary by the attending health care provider. Employees needing leave on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule must attempt to schedule the leave so as not to disrupt the University’s operations. At the University’s discretion, the University may temporarily assign an employee to an alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates the employee’s intermittent or reduced leave schedule.
Upon agreement between the University and the employee, family leave for the birth, adoption, foster care, or placement of a child may be taken on a reduced leave schedule, during which the 16 workweeks of DC FMLA family leave may be taken over a period not to exceed 24 consecutive workweeks.
- Leave Limitations on Spouses or Family Members Employed by the Same Employer
Spouses who are both employed by the University may be limited in their use of leave in some circumstances and should consult the FMLA Coordinator in the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits.
- Notice of Leave
If the need for family/medical leave is foreseeable, the employee must give the University 30 days prior written notice. If 30 days’ notice is not possible, notice must be given as soon as possible. When possible, the employee should make a reasonable effort to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt his or her department. Where the need for leave is not foreseeable, the employee must notify the supervisor as soon as possible.
An employee must promptly notify the University if there is a change in the circumstances for which the employee requested leave (including if the employee anticipates needing to extend the leave past the time period originally indicated).
- Calculation of the Leave Period
The leave period begins on the first work day of the employee’s first qualifying leave within the 12-or 24-month period, as applicable. The only exception is that the single 12-month period for military caregiver leave begins on the first day the employee takes leave for this reason, regardless of whether the employee has taken any prior FMLA leave.
- Medical Certifications and Recertifications
When an employee requests family/medical leave because of the employee’s own Serious Health Condition, or the Serious Health Condition of a covered family member, the employee must provide appropriate medical certification. The University will conditionally notify the employee whether the leave will be designated as FMLA leave and request medical certification within five business days of an employee’s request for family/medical leave. The employee must submit the medical certification form within 15 days after the University’s request for medical certification or as soon as reasonably possible. Failure to provide satisfactory medical certification may result in denial of leave until appropriate medical certification is provided.
If an employee continues on leave past the time period of Incapacity specified in the original medical certification or past the relevant 12- or 24-month leave period, whichever is earlier, he or she must provide a recertification or a new certification of his or her medical condition.
Employees on intermittent leave or a reduced schedule must provide medical recertifications upon the expiration of the time period specified in the original certification as necessary for such leave, or every six (6) months, whichever is earlier.
The University may also request medical recertifications if the employee requests an extension of leave, the circumstances described by the previous certification have changed, or the University receives information that casts doubt upon the continuing validity of the certification.
To the extent not covered by insurance, employees must bear the costs of any medical certification or recertification required by this policy.
- Returning from Leave
An employee returning from a medical leave due to his or her own Serious Health Condition must supply satisfactory medical certification from the health care provider clearing the employee to return to work.
The University restores an employee returning from an approved family or medical leave who has not exceeded the number of weeks of leave allowed to the same position that the employee held when the leave started, or to an equivalent position, with equivalent benefits, pay, seniority, and other terms and conditions of employment, unless the employee would not have otherwise been employed at the time reinstatement is sought. The University may also deny job restoration to a “key employee” as that term is defined in U.S. Department of Labor regulations.
- Pay while on Leave
All family and medical leave (federal, state, or local) is unpaid, although eligible employees may substitute University paid leave, may apply for short- and/or long-term disability benefits or may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Employee use of such paid leave or disability or workers’ compensation benefits is counted toward the maximum leave periods for the applicable 12-or 24- month period.
- Continuation of Benefits
An employee who takes an approved family or medical leave does not lose any employment benefit or seniority accrued before the date on which the leave commenced. During an approved family/medical leave, the University will maintain the employee’s health and other insurance benefits at the same level and under the same conditions as if the employee continued to be actively employed. Employees on paid leave will continue to have the contributory portion of the premium deducted from the paycheck. If the employee is on unpaid leave, he or she is responsible for paying the employee contribution directly to Human Resources for the remainder of the leave period.
An employee on family/medical leave is not eligible for COBRA coverage during the leave. If the employee does not return from the leave and terminates employment, he/she is eligible for COBRA coverage.
Federal FMLA Leave
For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply, as may be amended by final regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor:
Incapacity – the inability to work, attend school, or perform other regular daily activities due to the Serious Health Condition, treatment therefore, or recovery therefrom.
Parent – biological, adoptive, step or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stood “in loco parentis” (in place of parent) to an employee when the employee was a Son or Daughter as defined below, but the term does not include parents-in-law.
Serious Health Condition – any illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:
- any Incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care;
- any Incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days and continuing treatment by a health care provider
- treatment by a health care provider for a chronic Serious Health Condition;
- period of Incapacity which is permanent or long- term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective;
- period of absence to receive multiple treatments (and recovery therefrom) by a health care provider; or
- Incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care.
Son or Daughter –a biological, legally adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing “in loco parentis” (or in place of parent). The Son or Daughter must be under 18 years old; or age 18 or older and incapable of caring for him or herself because of a mental or physical disability. Employees who are considered “in loco parentis” (or in the place of a parent) under this provision include those responsible for the day-to-day responsibilities to care for a person under this provision or those who financially support a person under this provision.
Spouse – a husband or wife as defined or recognized by law.
Military Family Leave
Covered Active Duty – for members of the Regular Armed Forces, duty during deployment of the member with the Armed Forces to a foreign country; or for members of Reserve components of the Armed Forces (members of the National Guard and Reserves), duty during deployment of the member with the Armed Forces to a foreign country under a call or order to active duty in a support of a contingency operation.
Covered Servicemember – (1) a current 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; or (2) a veteran who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, for a Serious Injury or Illness and who was a member of the Armed Forces (including a member of the National Guard or Reserves) and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable at any time during the 5 year period prior to the first date the eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for the covered veteran.
Next of Kin of a Covered Servicemember – the nearest blood relative, other than the Covered Servicemember’s spouse, parent, son, or daughter, in an order of priority listed in Department of Labor regulations.
Parent of Covered Servicemember – a Covered Servicemember’s biological, adoptive, step or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stands “in loco parentis” (or in place of parent) to the Covered Servicemember, but the term does not include parents-in-law.
Serious Injury or Illness – (1) in the case of a current member of the Armed Forces (including a member of the National Guard or Reserves), an injury or illness that was incurred by the Covered Servicemember in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces or that existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces, and that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank, or rating; and (2) in the case of a covered veteran an injury or illness that was incurred by the member in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces (or existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces) and that manifested itself before or after the member became a veteran, and is: (1) a continuation of a serious injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated when the covered veteran was a member of the Armed Forces and rendered the servicemember unable to perform the duties of the servicemember’s office, grade, rank, or rating; or (2) a physical or mental condition for which the covered veteran has received a U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs Service-Related Disability Rating (VASRD) of 50 percent or greater, and such VASRD rating is based, in whole or in part, on the condition precipitating the need for military caregiver leave; or (3) a physical or mental condition that substantially impairs the covered veteran’s ability to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of a disability or disabilities related to military service, or would so absent treatment; or (4) an injury, including a psychological injury, on the basis of which the covered veteran has been enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.
Son or Daughter on Active Duty Status – the employee’s biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child for whom the employee stood “in loco parentis” (or in place of parent), who is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status, and who is of any age.
Son or Daughter of Covered Servicemember – the Covered Servicemember’s biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child for whom the Covered Servicemember stood “in loco parentis” (or in place of parent), and who is of any age.
For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply, as may be amended by final regulations issued by the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights:
Child – a person under twenty-one (21) years of age; a person who, though twenty-one (21) years or older, is substantially dependent upon the employee by reason of physical or mental disability; and a person who is under twenty-three (23) years of age and is a full-time student at an accredited college or university.
Committed Relationship – a domestic partnership, as defined in section 2(4) of the Health Care Expansion Act of 1992; D.C. Official Code 32-701(4), or a familial relationship between two individuals demonstrated by such factors as, but not limited to, mutual economic interdependence, including joint bank accounts, joint tenancy, shared leases, and joint and mutual financial obligations such as loans; domestic interdependence including close association, public presentment of the relationship, and exclusiveness of the relationship; length of the relationship; and intent of the relationship as evidenced by a will or life insurance.
Family Member –
- a person to whom the employee is related by blood, legal custody, or marriage;
- a foster child;
- a child who lives with an employee and for whom the employee permanently assumes and discharges parental responsibility; or
- a person with whom the employees shares or has shared, within the last year, a mutual residence and with whom the employee maintains a committed relationship.
Serious Health Condition – a physical or mental illness, injury, or impairment that involves:
- inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential care facility; or
- continuing treatment or supervision at home by a health care provider or other competent individual.
Employees should inform supervisors whenever their need for leave may be covered by Federal FMLA, DC FMLA, or other local jurisdiction’s laws.
The supervisor should then contact the FMLA Coordinator in the Office of Faculty & Staff Benefits upon receipt of such report or if the supervisor believes that an employee may have an FMLA qualifying event. The FMLA Coordinator will administer the FMLA process, coordinate necessary correspondence and paperwork, and ensure that the employee’s medical documentation is kept confidential and maintained in a secure location.