Note: This policy supersedes and replaces all prior federal family and medical leave related policies. Notwithstanding the above, an employee seeking leave benefits under this Policy must also satisfy all eligibility requirements as set forth below and required by applicable federal law. This Policy does not create any rights (contractual or otherwise) not already provided under federal, state or local law.
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, as amended (“FMLA” or “the Act”), The College provides, as set forth below, unpaid family and medical leaves of absence to “eligible employees.”
FMLA leave may be taken for the following purposes:
- the birth of an employee’s child or to care for the newborn child;
- the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or state-approved foster care;
- the care of an employee’s spouse, child or parent (“family member”) who has a serious health condition;
- the employee’s serious health condition which prevents the employee from performing any one essential function of the employee’s position;
- “qualifying exigency leave”: the employee’s responding or attending to a “qualifying exigency,” as defined below per applicable law, arising out of a covered military member’s covered active duty or notification of an impending call or order to covered active duty in the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves. A “covered military member” for purposes of this leave includes a spouse, son, daughter or parent of the employee; and
- “covered servicemember leave”: the employee’s care of a “covered servicemember” who has incurred a serious illness or injury.
- A “covered servicemember” means a member of the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy, is otherwise in out-patient status, or is on the temporary disability retired list for serious injury or illness. Here a “serious injury or illness” is defined as an injury or illness that was incurred by the member in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces (or existed before the active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces) and that may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank or rating.
- A “covered servicemember” also includes a veteran who was a member of the Armed Forces (including National Guard or Reserves) at any point in time within five (5) years preceding the date on which the veteran undergoes medical treatment. For purposes of veterans, a “serious injury or illness” is defined as an injury or illness that was incurred by the veteran in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces (or existed before the 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.”
For purposes of family and medical leave, a “serious health condition” as set out in (3) and (4) above is defined as an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider. Subject to certain conditions and applicable law, the continuing treatment requirement is met where an employee suffers an incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive, full calendar days and two (2) or more visits to a health care provider, or one (1) visit to a health care provider and a continuing regimen of care; an incapacity caused by pregnancy or prenatal care; a chronic condition, or permanent or long-term conditions; or absences due to multiple treatments. Other situations may meet the definition of continuing treatment. For purposes of this policy, “incapacity” means the inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment thereof or recovery therefrom.
For purposes of qualifying exigency leave, a “qualifying exigency” includes the following, provided the need for such leave arises out of the active duty or call to active duty status of a covered military member:
- short-notice deployment where, if a covered military member is notified of an impending call or order to active duty in support of a contingency operation seven (7) or less calendar days prior to the date of deployment; leave based on this exigency is restricted to a total of seven (7) calendar days beginning on the applicable notification date;
- military events and related activities sponsored by the military, including family support or assistance programs sponsored by the military, military service organizations or the American Red Cross;
- childcare and school activities, where it is necessary to arrange for alternative childcare, provide childcare on an urgent or immediate need basis and not a routine or regular basis, enroll in or transfer to a new school or day care facility or attend meetings with school officials;
- financial and legal arrangements to address the covered military member’s absence;
- counseling of eligible individuals by someone other than a health care provider, where the need for counseling is directly related to the active duty or call to active duty status of a covered military member;
- rest and recuperation, for purposes of spending time with a covered military member where that individual is on short-term, temporary, rest and recuperation leave during the period of deployment; up to five (5) days of such leave may be taken for each instance of rest and recuperation;
- post-deployment activities, including attendance at arrival ceremonies, reintegration briefings and events, and other programs sponsored by the military for a period of ninety (90) days following the termination of the covered military member’s active duty and attending to issues that arise from the death of a covered military member; and
- additional activities, provided that both the employee and Pitzer College agree that such activities constitutes a qualifying exigency and both agree to the timing and duration of the leave.
For purposes of covered servicemember leave, the employee seeking leave must be related to the covered servicemember as his/her spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin. “Next of kin,” for purposes of this policy, is defined as the nearest blood relative of a covered servicemember, other than the covered servicemember’s spouse, parent, son or daughter, in the following order of priority: blood relatives with legal custody, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins, and that person is needed to care for the covered servicemember. A veteran is “a person who served in the active military, Naval or Air Service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.”
An active full-time or part-time employee is eligible for FMLA leave under any of the above leave categories provided that on the date the employee’s leave is to commence:
- The employee has been employed for at least twelve (12) months in the preceding seven (7) years; and
- The employee has worked 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the commencement of leave.
In determining FMLA eligibility, an employee re-employed following military service will be given credit for (i) the period of uniformed service towards the months-of-employment eligibility requirement, and (ii) the hours of service that would have been performed but for the period of uniformed service.
Length of Family and Medical Leave and Qualifying Exigency Leave
An eligible employee is entitled to a combined total of twelve (12) workweeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period. The amount of leave available to an employee will be calculated by looking backward at the amount of leave taken within the 12-month period immediately preceding the first date of leave. Leave taken for the care of a newborn child or placement for adoption or foster care must be taken within twelve (12) months of the birth or placement of the child. The leave may be taken as an uninterrupted, continuous leave of absence or as an intermittent leave or a reduced schedule for these reasons.
If both a husband and wife are employed by the College, and are eligible for leave, except for leave due to the serious health condition of the employee or employee’s child, the two (2) may take a combined total of twelve (12) weeks.
Intermittent leave or a reduced schedule may be approved for the employee’s serious health condition or a family member’s serious health condition where medically necessary and where the need for such leave is best accommodated through such scheduling. Intermittent leave or a reduced scheduled leave is also available for qualifying exigency leave. An employee requesting intermittent leave/reduced schedule may be transferred temporarily to an available alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits, or to a part-time position with an equivalent hourly rate and benefits, if such a position better accommodates the need for intermittent leave/reduced schedule.
These types of leave run concurrent with other leave entitlements provided under federal, state and local law to the extent covered and permitted by those laws.
Length of Covered Servicemember Leave
An eligible employee is entitled to a combined total of twenty-six (26) workweeks of unpaid leave within a single 12-month period for covered servicemember leave. Leave to care for an injured or ill servicemember, whether or not combined with other FMLA-qualifying leave, may not exceed twenty-six (26) weeks in a single 12-month period. In that single 12-month period, the employee is entitled to no more than twelve (12) weeks of leave for any of the other types of FMLA leaves. If both a husband and wife are employed by the College, and are eligible for covered servicemember leave, the two (2) may take a combined total of twenty-six (26) weeks. Intermittent leave or a reduced schedule may be approved for covered servicemember leave where medically necessary and where the need for such leave is best accommodated through such scheduling. An employee requesting intermittent leave/reduced schedule leave may be transferred temporarily to an available alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits, or to a part-time position with an equivalent hourly rate and benefits, if such a position better accommodates the need for intermittent leave/reduced schedule leave.
Covered servicemember leave runs concurrent with other leave entitlements provided under federal, state and local law to the extent covered and permitted by those laws.
Substitution of Paid Leave
Family/medical leave is unpaid. However, the employee may use his/her accrued vacation or other personal time while on a family medical leave. If the employee is on leave due to his/her own illness, the employee must use available paid sick leave in lieu of unpaid leave status. Vacation, sick days, and other personal time will not accrue while the employee is on a leave.
Any family and medical leave, qualifying exigency leave, whether paid, unpaid or a combination thereof, will be counted toward the 12-week leave entitlement. Any covered servicemember leave, whether paid, unpaid or a combination thereof, either taken by itself or together with any other family and medical leave and/or qualifying exigency leave, whether paid, unpaid or a combination thereof, will be counted toward the 26-week leave entitlement.
Employee Notification Requirements
If the need for a leave is foreseeable, the employee must provide 30 days’ written notice of the need for the leave. If the need for a leave is not foreseeable, or if it is otherwise not possible to provide 30 days’ notice, notice must be provided as soon as practicable.
In order to be granted FMLA leave, the employee must provide certification to the CUC Disability Office from the appropriate health care provider:
If the leave is needed to care for an ill family member or for a covered servicemember, the certification must contain the following information: (i) date of commencement of the serious health condition; (ii) probable duration of the condition; (iii) estimated amount of time the employee will be needed to provide care; and (iv) that the serious health condition warrants the participation of a family member to provide care. If additional information is required by the College in order to determine if a “serious health condition” exists, the employee may be asked to provide a signed US Department of Labor Form WH-380 – Certification of Health Care Provider.”
If the leave is needed for the employee’s own serious health condition, the certification must contain the following information: (i) date of commencement of the serious health condition; (ii) probable duration of the condition; and (iii) that the employee is unable to perform the function of his/her position because of the serious health condition or must be absent from work for medical treatment. If additional information is required by the College in order to determine if a “serious health condition” exists, the employee may be asked to provide a signed US Department of Labor Form WH-380 – Certification of Health Care Provider.”
Failure to provide timely and complete medical certification may result in denial of a family/medical leave.
If the leave is due to the employee’s own illness, Pitzer College may require the employee to obtain a second medical certification from a health care provider selected by the College. In the event the first and second opinions differ, Pitzer College may require the employee to obtain a third medical certification from a mutually agreed upon health care provider. The third opinion will be binding on the employee and on Pitzer College. The second and third medical opinions, if required by the College, will be at Pitzer’s expense.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers and other entities covered by GINA Title II from requesting or requiring genetic information of employees or their family members. In order to comply with this law, we are asking that you not provide any genetic information when responding to this request for medical information. `Genetic information,’ as defined by GINA, includes an individual’s family medical history, the results of an individual’s or family member’s genetic tests, the fact that an individual or an individual’s family member sought or received genetic services, and genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or an individual’s family member or an embryo lawfully held by an individual or family member receiving assistive reproductive services.”
“Qualifying Exigency” Leave Certification
An employee who takes a qualifying exigency leave must submit to the Human Resources office written certification of an impending call or order to covered active duty within fifteen (15) calendar days of the request to provide the certification. An employee seeking such leave will be asked to submit a certification form detailing the reason(s) for the leave. An employee may also be required to submit appropriate supporting documentation in the form of a copy of the covered military member’s active duty orders or other military documentation indicating the appropriate military status and the dates of active duty status. Failure to supply the requested certification or other papers may result in a delay or denial of the requested leave, and time off taken by the employee will be subject to the Attendance and Absenteeism policy, with violation of the same resulting in possible disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Reinstatement upon return from a FMLA Leave
An employee who is on approved FMLA leave is expected to return to work upon release by the appropriate health care provider, whether or not the periods of time permitted under FMLA have expired.
If the leave was for the employee’s own health condition, then prior to returning to work, the employee must provide the Pitzer Human Resources Office with a signed note from her/his medical provider indicating that the employee is cleared to return to work.
An employee who does not return when released by the medical provider, will be considered to have voluntarily resigned and will be terminated from employment.
With some exceptions, an employee who returns from an approved FMLA leave on or before the expiration of the period of time required by law, will be restored to the same or an equivalent position. If, however, due to business reasons, the same or equivalent position ceased to exist during the employee’s leave, and, had the employee not taken the leave, the employee would not otherwise have been employed at the time reinstatement is requested, the College may not be required to reinstate the employee. In certain circumstances, the College may deny reinstatement to an employee, who is among the highest paid 10 percent of the employees working for Pitzer within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite, if necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury to the employer’s operation.
Pitzer College will continue the employee’s medical/dental coverage while the employee is on family/medical leave under the same terms and conditions as was provided while the employee was working. The employee is responsible for the same premiums for her/his medical/dental coverage as if he/she were at work. If the employee is on an unpaid leave of absence, or is receiving insufficient pay while on leave, she/he will need to make arrangements with the CUC Benefits Specialist to pay for his/her portion of the premium within the first five days of each month. Failure to make timely payments may result in termination of medical/dental coverage.
If the employee fails to return from the leave, or returns to work for less than 30 days, the College may recover from the employee, the premiums it paid for maintaining medical coverage during the leave period.
Certain “key employees” as defined under the FMLA may not be eligible to be restored to the same or an equivalent position after leave if doing so would cause substantial and grievous economic injury to the operations of the assigned company. The College will notify such employees of their “key employee” status and the conditions under which job restoration will be denied, if applicable.
FMLA Leave and Short-Term Disability (VDI)
FMLA leave is considered to run concurrently with short-term disability periods (other than those that qualify for California Pregnancy Disability Leave). Available sick leave must be coordinated with Short-Term Disability (VDI benefits) to approximate regular wages. Available vacation and/or personal holiday benefits may be coordinated with VDI benefits at the employee’s option.
Positions may be held open for up to four months during a disability leave. If a disability lasts for more than four months Pitzer is not obligated to hold the position open. The four-month period will run concurrent with the FMLA period. The four-month period is available on one occasion per year and commences on the same continuing period from the beginning of the medical leave. Should the supervisor need to fill a position after the four-month period expires, the employee will be notified. Elected benefits may be continued by contacting the Benefits Office to make the appropriate arrangements.
FMLA Leave and Workers Compensation Disability
FMLA/CFRA leave is considered to run concurrently with Workers Compensation disability periods. Available sick leave must be coordinated with Workers Compensation benefits to approximate regular wages. Accrued vacation and/or personal holidays may be coordinated at the employee’s option.
After one year of being continuously off work, the College will evaluate whether the employee is likely to return to work and whether the College can continue to hold the position open, based on its bona fide business needs and whether to do so would result in an undue hardship. If the College believes that the position can no longer be held open, the College will contact the employee and attempt to determine whether there is some other reasonable accommodation which would enable the employee to return to work in their former position or another vacant position. If the position cannot be held open and there is no other reasonable accommodation that will enable the employee to return to work, employment with the College will be terminated. This determination will be made on a case by case basis.
Temporary Modified Duty and/or Regular Alternative Work
Pitzer College is committed to providing work, when possible, for employees who have been restricted by a physician due to a work-related injury or illness. Such work will be provided when possible. Work will be assigned in accordance with the limitations set forth by the treating physician. Every effort will be made to place the employee in a position within their own department, but, if necessary, an employee will be placed wherever an appropriate position is available.
FMLA Leave – Non-Disability
When an FMLA leave is taken for the birth (when not eligible for Pregnancy Disability Leave) or adoption of a child, placement of a foster child, or care of a child, spouse or parent with a serious health condition, the employee may, at her/his option, use accumulated vacation and personal holidays. In addition, the employee may use up to six days of accumulated sick leave each year for the care of an ill spouse, child or parent. Other than these six days, the employee may not use accumulated sick leave during a non-disability FMLA leave.
Last updated: 6/1/12