Family & Medical Leave FAQs

  • WHAT IS FMLA?

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    The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a federal law that provides unpaid, job protected leave to eligible employees, both male and female, in order to care for their families or themselves for specified family and medical conditions. Unpaid leave will be granted for any of the following reasons:

    • 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

    FMLA was amended in 2008 and now permits a spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, therapy, in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness.

     

     

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  • WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO TAKE FMLA LEAVE?

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    To be eligible, an employee must have worked for Alabaster City Schools at least 12 months and at least 1,250 hours within a 12-month period before the leave begins.

    Employees with a Serious Health Condition are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:

    • For 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, 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.

     

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  • WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A SERIOUS HEALTH CONDITION?

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    A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job, or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities. Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regimen of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.

     

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  • HOW DO I TAKE FMLA LEAVE?

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    First, complete an Employee Absence Form.

    You also will need to print out the following form for your own serious illness or the form for the care of a close family member with a serious illness.

    If the person for whom you are caring and the need for leave. If the request is for yourself, you will submit the Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition. If you are requesting FMLA to care for a family member you will submit the Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition.

    *If you are in the Military and going on active duty, a copy of your official orders will be sufficient when you fill out the Employee Absence Form.

    After the Employee Absence Form is completed, it must be sent to the Human Resources Department.

     

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  • DO I NEED A DOCTOR’S NOTE WHILE ON FMLA?

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    You are required to produce medical certification to support a request for leave due to a serious health condition. This must be received by the Human Resources Department prior to the start of such leave.

     

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  • WHAT IS THE NOTIFICATION PROCESS FOR WHEN A FMLA REQUEST IS APPROVED?

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    A copy of the approved FMLA form is mailed to the employee’s home address. You may need to use the ACS Change of Name and/or Address form to ensure Human Resources has current information.

     

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  • WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SICK LEAVE, PERSONAL LEAVE, EXTENDED LEAVE, ON THE JOB INJURY AND LEA

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    Sick Leave: Time that you have earned to be used for illness, such as:

    a) Personal illness or doctor’s quarantine.

    b) Incapacitating personal injury.

    c) Attendance upon an ill member of the employee’s immediate family (parent, spouse,

    child, sibling); or an individual with a close personal tie.

    d) Death in the family of the employee (parent, spouse, child, sibling, parent-in-law, son-

    in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nephew, niece, grandchild,

    grandparent, uncle or aunt).

    e) Death, injury, or sickness of another person who has unusually strong personal

    ties to the employee, such as a person who stood in loco parentis.

    Personal Leave: Time that you request for personal reasons. State laws for personal leave for employees of local boards of education are contained in Title 16, Chapter 8, Section 16-8-26 of the Code of Alabama (last amended by Act No. 97-444). This law also covers two-year postsecondary institutions and certain other agencies. A summary of the provisions of this law follows:

    a) This law covers any certificated employee and those support employees who work an average of at least 20 hours a week.

    b) A board of education may grant up to 5 days, but not less than 2 days, of personal leave each year.

    c) An employee is entitled to full pay for at least two of the personal leave days used during the scholastic year.

    d) A board of education may decide to grant additional personal leave days (not to exceed 5 days total) and may decide whether additional personal leave days are at full pay, partial pay, or without pay.

    e) Personal leave is noncumulative (unused days do not carry-forward to the next school year).

    f) A teacher or support employee may convert unused personal leave to sick leave at the end of the school year if the unused personal leave days are funded (full pay or partial pay) by state or local funding.

    g) A teacher may choose to be paid at the end of the school year for unused personal leave days at the same daily rate paid to substitute teachers if the unused personal leave days are funded (full pay or partial pay) by state or local funding.

    h) A teacher or support employee cannot be required to disclose their reasons for requesting personal leave.

    Extended Leave: Any leave in excess of 4 consecutive days.

    On the Job Injury: Time off due to injury in the line of duty.

    Leave Without Pay: Approved, unpaid time off.

    Unpaid Leave Without Approval: Unapproved, unpaid time off.

     

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  • DO I HAVE TO REQUEST FMLA?

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    You should apply if you are or will be absent for 5 days or more so that the district can determine if you are eligible.

     

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  • ARE FAMILY MEMBERS COVERED BY FMLA?

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    Please refer to answer number 1.

     

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  • HOW MUCH FMLA CAN I USE?

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    You may take a maximum of 12 weeks. If a husband and wife both work for Alabaster City Schools, the combined leave shall not exceed the 12 week period when the leave is taken for the birth or placement of a child or to care for a parent with a serious health condition.

     

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  • DO I GET PAID WHILE ON FMLA?

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    The School District will pay any accrued sick and/or personal time until your physician states that you or the individual you are caring for is no longer considered disabled/unable to work. When the physician states you or the individual you are caring for is no longer considered disabled/unable to work, the duration of FMLA will be non-paid.

     

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  • DO I GET TO KEEP MY BENEFITS WHILE ON FMLA?

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    Yes, but you must continue to pay your portion of the premiums during the paid portion of FMLA. The District will continue to pay the District’s share of your premiums.

    According to the PEEHIP Member Handbook: “The beginning date of the leave of absence should be the date any accrued leave is exhausted (sick leave, donated leave, annual leave or personal days). The employer must enter the leave of absence status and beginning date in the Employer Portal when an employee is granted an official leave of absence. Upon return to work, employees who paid for their insurance while on an authorized leave of absence cannot pick up new insurance coverage that they did not have while on leave. Employees who do not pay for their insurance while on an official leave of absence or have a break in coverage can enroll as new employees within 30 days and choose the effective date of the day they return to work, the first day of the month after they return to work, or can enroll during Open Enrolment for an October 1 effective date.”

     

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  • WHO PAYS MY PORTION OF MY BENEFITS WHILE I’M ON FMLA?

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    You do.

     

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  • IF I ONLY WORK 10 MONTHS A YEAR, HOW DOES THE SUMMER AFFECT MY FMLA.

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    The summer does not count toward your FMLA.

     

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  • DO I HAVE TO TAKE ALL 12 WEEKS AT THE SAME TIME?

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    Employees may not take intermittent or reduced leave in the case of the birth or placement of a child, unless the Superintendent or designee agrees. In the case of serious health conditions, leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary. Employees are expected to make a reasonable effort to schedule intermittent leave so that it does not disrupt the operation of the school system or assigned location.

     

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  • CAN EMPLOYERS REQUIRE EMPLOYEES TO SUBMIT A FITNESS-FOR-DUTY CERTIFICATION BEFORE RETURNING TO WORK

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    Yes. As a condition of restoring an employee whose FMLA leave was due to the employee's own serious health condition that made the employee unable to perform the employee's job, an employer may have a uniformly-applied policy or practice that requires all similarly-situated employees to obtain and present certification from the employee's health care provider that the employee is able to resume work. The employee has the same obligations to participate and cooperate in the fitness-for-duty certification process as in the initial certification process and is responsible for any associated costs.

     

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  • DOES MY EMPLOYER HAVE TO GIVE ME MY SAME JOB BACK WHEN I RETURN?

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    Upon return from FMLA you will resume your original position, or have an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.

     

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  • WHAT HAPPENS IF I EXTEND MY LEAVE ONCE FMLA STOPS?

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    You may request an extended leave after an FMLA. At the time of an approved non-FMLA extended leave you will be given the opportunity to continue health benefits by paying the entire premium due. You cannot work at another job for pay while on extended leave from the District.

     

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  • HOW MANY TIMES CAN I TAKE FMLA?

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    The maximum amount of time you may take is 12 weeks in a 12 month period. The 12 month period shall be a rolling twelve (12) month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave.

     

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  • DO I LOSE MY SENORITY BY TAKING FMLA?

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    No. The use of FMLA cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit (seniority, experience, etc.) that accrued prior to the start of the employee’s leave.

     

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  • DO I HAVE TO USE MY SICK DAYS BEFORE I GO ON FMLA?

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    If you have accumulated sick leave available, it must be used when you go on FMLA.

     

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  • WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T RETURN AFTER FMLA?

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    Employees who do not return to work upon expiration of a leave will be subjected to disciplinary action according to District policy. Every effort will be made to determine the employee’s status. However, when no contact or notification is made, disciplinary action will be taken.

     

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  • DO HOLIDAYS AND SCHOOL VACATIONS COUNT TOWARD MY 12 WEEKS?

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    Schools, like other employers, can only count leave time as FMLA leave when the employee would be otherwise working. For example, teachers typically are not required to work during the spring, summer, and winter breaks. Thus, if the employee took FMLA leave before one of these breaks, the period of the break does not count as FMLA leave weeks for that employee.

    Example: Teacher takes FMLA commencing December 1. The two weeks of Winter break would not be counted as FMLA.

    Since clerical, maintenance, security, and some administrative employees are required to work some or all of the periods of summer, winter, and spring breaks, these weeks would be counted as FMLA leave for those employees. Weeks in which the school is open for a portion of the week, such as Thanksgiving week and President’s Day week, would be counted toward FMLA leave for all employees.

     

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  • WHERE CAN I FOUND OUT MORE ABOUT FMLA?

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    Visit the website U.S. Department of Labor The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) CLICK HERE or contact Vickie McAuley or Dr. Latanza M. Harrison in the Human Resources Department at 663-8400.

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