Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The FMLA allows employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable paid or unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons.
Eligible employees include any employee who:
- have been employed by the State of Kansas/University in a position for at least 12 months within the last seven years (does not have to be consecutive); and
- have worked for the State of Kansas/University for at least 1,250 hours in the 12 month period immediately preceding the first day of FMLA qualifying leave.
Medical Events Qualifying for FMLA Coverage
Parental Leave: eligible employees may use up to 12 work weeks of leave for the birth of their child or placement of a child through adoption or foster care, and the care of the child upon birth. (Leave must be taken within 12 months following the birth or placement.)
Family Illness: eligible employees may use up to 12 work weeks of leave to care for an employee's family member (defined as parent, legal spouse, child or legal dependent under 18 or over 18 if incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability as defined by the American with Disabilities Act) or
Personal Illness: eligible employees may use up to 12 work weeks of leave for a serious illness or injury which makes the employee unable to perform job responsibilities.
Military Events Qualifying for FMLA Coverage
Exigency Leave: eligible employees with a legal spouse, child (biological, adopted, foster, stepchild, legal ward or a child for whom the employee stood in loco parents, and who is of any age, or parent on active duty or called to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves or regular Armed Services in support of a contingency operation and deployed to a foreign country may use up to 12 work weeks of leave to address qualifying exigencies. Qualifying exigencies may vary but would include attending military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing financial and legal arrangements, attending counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings.
Military Caregiver Leave: eligible employees may take up to 26 work weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a single 12-month period. A covered service member is a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who has been seriously injured or incurred an illness while deployed on active duty. The service member must be undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or be in outpatient status; or be on the temporary disability retired list. The medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy may begin at any time during the period of 5 years preceding the date on which the veteran undergoes that medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy.
Notice of Family Medical Leave
Human Resource Management (HRM) is the University’s designated authority to review and approve FMLA requests. Notification of serious personal or family medical illness/injury, parental leave or military leave is to be made by the employee 30 days prior to the qualifying event (if possible) or by the employee's supervisor, or departmental leadership after an absence of more than three, full consecutive work days. An employee's supervisor or departmental leadership should also notify HRM if an employee has an absence due to a chronic or ongoing medical condition without regard to the absence being for more than the three, full consecutive work days. Certification is required for all types of FMLA leave and recertification can be required for a continuing medical condition(s). Certification of the medical need for leave must be provided on the appropriate University forms.
Each employee eligible for FMLA coverage is entitled to 12 work weeks of paid or unpaid leave during any 12 month period, beginning the first day leave is taken. If spouses are both KU employee and eligible for FMLA leave coverage, each employee is entitled to up to 12 work weeks of such leave based on qualifying FMLA conditions. During an employee’s approved FMLA period, the employee is required to exhaust all paid leave balances before going onto FMLA leave without pay status.
The University of Kansas establishes the 12 month period by using a fixed 12 month measurement period. The fixed 12 month measurement period begins the first day an employee is approved for FMLA during the career at the University, even if multiple FMLA leaves are subsequently approved. Examples are provided on the HRM website at http://humanresources.ku.edu/family-and-medical-leave . HRM will notify the employee of the outcome of the FMLA designation.
If approved, FMLA provides the employee a number of guarantees as described at Family & Medial Leave.
Denial of Family and Medical Leave
Family and medical leave can be denied by HRM ONLY when:
- the employee does not meet the eligibility requirements;
- the condition does not meet FMLA-qualifying standards;
- the employee has failed to provide timely advance notice; or
- adequate certification has not been provided within 15 calendar days of the employee’s receipt of the certification form.
If an employee feels that family and medical leave has been denied inappropriately, the employee may discuss this with HRM.
Medical Records for FMLA
The required medical certifications are considered confidential medical information and will be maintained separately from other personnel records.
During FMLA leave, an employee must fulfill several responsibilities for handling the absence and the authorized return from leave as specified on the HRM website. http://humanresources.ku.edu/family-and-medical-leave
While on approved FMLA leave, State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) coverage will be maintained during the 12-week FMLA entitlement period. While on paid leave, the employee will pay the regular SEHP premiums (through paycheck deduction or, if the paycheck is insufficient, through personal check), and KU will pay its regular employer contribution. If leave without pay is necessary, in order to maintain SEHP coverage, for the first 30 days the employee must pay the employee premium and KU will pay its regular employer contribution. The employee will then be offered the SEHP’s Direct Bill coverage and must pay the entire premium without receiving an employer contribution. HRM Benefits will assist employees with SEHP coverage and/or direct bill processes.
Additional FMLA Information
Paid and unpaid leave taken for an FMLA approved condition will be FMLA protected and counted against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement.
There are several overlapping policies relating to absence from work due to medical related reasons (e.g. FMLA, Americans with Disabilities Act, Workers' Compensation with the Return to Work program, Shared Leave, etc.). Questions regarding overlapping policies may be directed to HRM.
Human Resource Management
103 Carruth-O’Leary Hall
1246 W. Campus Road
Lawrence, KS 66045
Disability - Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102): means, with respect to an individual: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such an individual; a record of having such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment. Such impairments could include but are not limited to; amputation, schizophrenia, anxiety, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Intellectual/ Developmental Disorders, blindness, or hearing loss.
Physical Impairment – physiological condition, anatomic loss, etc. that affects one or more of the body’s systems (i.e. musculoskeletal, neurological, or digestive)
Mental Impairment – mental or psychological condition – i.e. intellectual disability/development disability, learning disabilities, emotional and mental health
Illness - an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves: inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or continuing treatment by a health care provider. Reasons for leave may include mental health related treatment, symptoms, or diagnoses.
Condition - physical, mental, or medical disease, illness, or injury. Any condition – e.g., physiologic, mental, or psychologic conditions or disorders including but not limited to: orthopedic, visual, speech, or hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, intellectual/ developmental disabilities, emotional or mental health disorders, HIV, drug addiction, or alcoholism.
04/30/2021: Updated policy to include mental health terminology.
10/10/2018: Updated applies to from faculty to staff to all employees who
02/26/2018: Updated to clarify coverage period and associated benefits impact.
01/03/2018: Updated Approver to Senior Associate Vice Provost, Human Resource Management
12/26/2017: Added guidance regarding leave without pay and FMLA.
10/20/2016: Removed USS Handbook from related statutes, regulations, and/or policies section as it is no longer active.
07/08/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
05/04/2016: Added new categories - Personnel>Staff>Leaves & Holidays as well as Personnel>Faculty/Academic Staff>Leaves & Holidays.
04/07/2016: Added keywords.
10/20/2015: Updated language to include same-sex legally married spouses and removed lengthy citations of the law; clarified language.
04/02/2015: Fixed broken link to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
12/17/2014: Fixed broken links to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
11/18/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
01/2009: Amended federal legislation effective (KU policy amended immediately afterward).
08/1993: Federal legislation effective (KU policy implemented soon thereafter).