For Supervisors: Family Medical Leave Act Process

What is FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows eligible employees to take job-protected leave for certain qualifying medical and family reasons. FMLA also ensures that health insurance coverage will continue during the leave under the same terms and conditions as if the leave had not been taken.

Resources:

FMLA Policy
Parental Leave Policy
Approving Leave
 

Click here to find out information on Leave for EHRA employees. 

Click here to find out information on Leave for SHRA employees.

Role of Supervisor

As a supervisor, you must take an active role in the Family Medical Leave process. Please review and become familiar with the steps below:

  • Review the FMLA policy
  • Notify HR that an employee has been out for 3 days, and indicate whether a fitness-for-duty test will be needed before the employee can return to work.
  • Refer employee to the HR Benefits Specialist to discuss FMLA and  the potential coordination of  Short Term disability and/or parental leave.
  • Ensure you are approving all monthly leave reports in a timely manner – this is extremely important and could have a detrimental effect on the employee if not approved timely.
  •       (if the employee is not able to complete and submit the timesheet, notify the payroll department)
  • If the employee leave balance reaches 100 hours, contact the Benefits Specialist to discuss options. 
  • When the employee returns to work, provide HR with a copy of the return to work notice. If the notice requires restrictions, then work with Human Resources to ensure appropriate accommodations are made. 
  • Do not allow the employee to work without a sufficient return to work notice as this could be a liability for the University.
  • If the employee is out intermittently then the supervisor needs to:
           1) Monitor and if the absences are greater than what was initially indicated at the time of the request for leave, contact Human Resources.
           2) Provide dates of absences to Human Resources so that accurate records are maintained.

Role of Human Resources

Once notified, HR contacts the employee to determine the nature of the absence – if they plan to be out consistently or on an intermittent basis
Determines if employee needs to also apply for short term disability (STD)
Within 5 days of the request, HR sends the employee the appropriate paperwork:
FMLA Notice of Eligibility
FMLA Rights and Responsibilities
Parental Leave – if applicable
Once the employee provides the completed FMLA certification, an email is sent to the supervisor to let him/her know that the employee has made an FMLA request as well as general information about employer responsibilities
Works with the employee and supervisor throughout process to ensure approvals are received and employee is paid appropriately
Helps employee coordinate FMLA with short term disability and parental leave – if applicable
Intermittent leave - HR will send the supervisor information that indicates how frequently the employee will need to be out of work and for what duration. The supervisor needs to monitor this and if the absences are greater than what was initially indicated then they should contact HR. In this instance, HR sends a request for re-certification as the conditions for FMLA have now changed.

Process Steps

FMLA Process

  1. Supervisor notifies HR that an employee has been out for 3 days
  2. Supervisor refers employee to the Benefits Specialist to discuss FMLA and/or parental leave
  3. HR contacts the employee to determine the nature of the absence – if they plan to be out consistently or on an intermittent basis. Determines if employee needs to also apply for short term disability (STD) 
  4. Within 5 days of the request, HR sends the employee the appropriate paperwork:
  5. FMLA Notice of Eligibility
  6. FMLA Rights and Responsibilities
  7. Parental Leave – if applicable
  8. Once the employee provides documentation an email is sent to the supervisor to let them know that the employee has made an FMLA request as well as general information about their responsibilities.
  9. HR notifies the supervisor of when/how they are to complete leave reports or timesheets.
  10. Supervisor is automatically notified by email when timesheets are due. If employee is unable to complete and submit their timesheet to the supervisor for approval, the supervisor should notify and make arrangements for submission with the payroll department. 
  11. If the employee is using their leave balances, the supervisor completes the timesheet and enters applicable leave or holiday time.  (Employee may do this if able)
  12. If the employee is having their income replaced by STD, the time is recorded by the HR office.
  13. If employee is also applying for STD, HR sends the supervisor notifications of approvals as they are received.
  14. When the employee returns to work, the supervisor (or employee) must provide HR with a copy of the return to work notice. If the notice requires restrictions, then HR notifys Health and Wellness, who with the supervisor make the accomations assessment. The supervisor should not allow the employee to work without a sufficient return to work notice as this could be a liability for the University.
  15. If an employee is out on intermittent leave, HR will send the supervisor information that indicates how frequently the employee will need to be out of work and for what duration. Example, flare ups occur 2 times every 2 months for 2 days each. The supervisor needs to monitor this and if the absences are greater than what was initially indicated then they should contact HR. In this instance, HR sends a request for re-certification as the conditions for FMLA have now changed.
  16. If the employee is out intermittently then the supervisor needs to ensure that HR is provided dates of those absences so they can be recorded accurately.

FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

1) If an employee has plenty of sick leave, do they still have to apply for FMLA?

Yes, the University is required to notify employees of their FMLA rights if they are out for 3 days or more.

2) Is an employee paid while out on FMLA?

FMLA does not give any extra paid time off. The employee would need to use her accrued leave or Short Term Disability or Parental Leave if applicable.

3) How do I know if I am eligible for family and medical leave?

Human Resources will confirm in writing or by email your eligibility, but in general, to qualify for FMLA, you must have 12 months of service with and you must have worked at least 1,040 hours during the 12 months preceding the date your leave begins.

4) How do I know if I have a serious health condition or a family member has a serious health condition?

UNC Asheville will grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12 month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • for the birth of a son or daughter, and to bond with the newborn child;
  • for the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care, and to bond with that child;
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent – but not a parent “in-law”) with a serious health condition;
  • to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition; or
  • for qualifying exigencies arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status as a member of the National Guard, Reserves, or Regular Armed Forces.

A physician's note will document a serious medical condition. 

FMLA also allows eligible employees to take up to 26 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a “single 12-month period” to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.

5) Does an employee have to take leave all at once or can it be taken periodically or to reduce the employee’s schedule?

When it is medically necessary, employees may take FMLA leave intermittently – taking leave in separate blocks of time for a single qualifying reason – or on a reduced leave schedule – reducing the employee’s usual weekly or daily work schedule. When leave is needed for planned medical treatment, the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operation.