FMLA - Frequently Asked Questions
What is FMLA?
- Birth of a child and the care after such birth for either parent;
- Placement of a child for adoption or foster care;
- Serious health condition of the spouse, child, or parent of the employee; or
- Serious health condition of the employee
The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 legislates that UTMF must provide up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12 month contract period. It may be granted for one of the following reasons:
What is the benefit of FMLA to an employee?
FMLA ensures an employee who qualifies
for FMLA that his/her job is protected as long as he/she remains on FMLA
even if the employee is in an unpaid leave status.
Must the twelve weeks be taken for only one qualifying reason?
No. For example, if an employee
is off under FMLA status for 8 weeks due to the birth of a child and six months
after returning to work her parent becomes seriously ill, the employee may qualify
to take up to 4 additional weeks off as FMLA covered leave (with or without
paid leave) to care for the parent.
When must an employee be placed on FMLA?
Employees' medical conditions are
their business. However, when a supervisor notices that an employee has
repeated absences for the same condition or when an employee brings to the supervisor's
attention the need for extended leave, the supervisor should discuss FMLA with
the employee, explaining what it covers, placing the employee on FMLA pending
medical certification if the leave appears to meet the criteria, and asking
the employee to obtain a certification from the his/her physician to determine
if the employee qualifies for FMLA. If the physician certifies the employee's
illness (or the illness of the employee's spouse or parent) meets the 'serious
health condition' definition, the FMLA status will stand. Any medical
documentation or certification which a supervisor receives is confidential and
must be maintained in an employee medical file separate from the employee's
departmental personnel file.
The FMLA is composed of both paid leave (sick leave balance followed by vacation balance) and then unpaid leave. The benefits will be maintained throughout the entire leave, even if the leave becomes unpaid.
Can the employee work while on FMLA?
Yes. If the employee requires
a reduced work schedule or leave on an intermittent basis, the days when the
employee is not able to work will be counted as FMLA.
What is an employee's responsibility while on FMLA?
The employee must comply with the conditions of the leave. He/she may be required to present a certification
from the attending physician to qualify for the FMLA protection, and he/she may
be required to present recertification from his/her health care provider at
30 day intervals. The employee will be required to exhaust all sick leave
(if applicable) and all vacation leave while on FMLA. At that point the
employee will continue in an unpaid status as long as he/she qualifies for FMLA.
(The University will continue to pay the employee's premium sharing while on
FMLA.) The individual may not take unpaid leave in order to save the paid leave for a later time.
What about my medical records? Is the information kept confidential?
All medical certifications
of serious health conditions, whether of the employee or an employee's family
member are considered confidential medical records. The Family Medical Leave
Act (FMLA) requires that the records be kept separate from personnel files and
be maintained in confidence. In addition, the employee's own medical records
are subject to American
With Disabilities Act (ADA) restrictions. To avoid possible claims, all
certifications and other FMLA records should be maintained in confidential medical
files. Access should be limited to those with a strict need to know. <
How can I get more information on FMLA?
Handbook of Operating Procedures gives the UT-Houston policy regarding FMLA.. This
policy is the same policy used by the University of Texas System Medical
for its employees.