FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)

Please click here to access the PRS FMLA Policy.

5.11.1  Eligible Employees – The FMLA is applicable to all persons who have been employed for at least twelve (12) months and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the twelve (12) month period immediately preceding the start of leave.

5.11.2  Medical Leave Provided by the Act – Under the FMLA, eligible employees are entitled to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave during the applicable twelve (12) month period for one or more of the following reasons:
a.  The birth and first year care of a newborn child;
b.  The placement of a child for foster care or adoption;
c.  The care of a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition;

d.  Because of the employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job position.

The applicable 12-month entitlement period for family or medical leave is measured forward from the date an employee begins leave that qualifies under the FMLA. For the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child, the entitlement to FMLA leave expires at the end of the twelve (12) month period beginning on the date of birth, adoption, or placement. Leave associated with the serious health condition of a child will only be provided if the child is under eighteen (18) years of age or is incapable of self-care due to physical or mental disability.

5.11.3 Serious Health Conditions – The term “serious health condition” means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves one or more of the following:
a.  Any period of incapacity in connection with or following inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility.
b.  A period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive, full calendar days, including any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition that also involves:

     1.  Treatment two or more times within 30 days of the first day of incapacity (unless extenuating circumstance exist), by a health care provider
     2.  Treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion within seven days of the condition, which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the health care provider.
c.  Pregnancy or prenatal care;
d.  A chronic, serious health condition which continues over an extended period of time, requires periodic visits to a health care provider, and may involve episodes of incapacity (e.g., asthma and diabetes);
e.  A permanent or long-term condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g. Alzheimer’s, severe stroke) and for which supervision of a health-care provider is required;
f.  Multiple treatments for restorative surgery or for a condition which would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three (3) days if not treated.

5.11.4 Military Family Leave Provided by the Act –
a. Qualifying Exigency Leave – Under the FMLA, an eligible employee may take up to twelve (12) weeks of leave during the applicable twelve (12) month period because of a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent is on (or has been notified of an impending call to) covered active duty in the Armed Forces (including a member of the National Guard or Reserves)
b. Military Caregiver Leave – An eligible employee is entitled to take up to twenty-six (26) weeks during a single twelve (12) month period (beginning the first day of the leave) to care for the employee’s spouse, parent, son or daughter, or next of kin who is a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the service member medically unfit to perform the duties of his or her office, grade, rank or rating. A covered servicemember includes (1) a member of the Armed Forces (including a member of the National Guard or Reserves) (a) who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; (b) is in outpatient status; or (c) is on the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness, and (2) a veteran who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness who was a member of the Armed Forces at any time during the five years preceding the date on which the veteran undergoes medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy.

5.11.5  Spouse Employed by the Board – Spouses who are both employed by the Board are limited to a combined total of twelve (12) weeks of family leave for the birth and care of a healthy newborn child, for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, for the care of a parent who has a serious health condition, and for qualifying exigency leave. Spouses who are both employed by the Board are limited to a combined total of twenty-six (26) weeks for military caregiver leave during a single 12-month period.

5.11.6  Intermittent and Reduced Schedule Leave –Intermittent or reduced schedule leave may be taken when (a) medically necessary for an employee’s or covered family member’s serious health condition, due to a qualifying exigency, or because of a covered servicemember’s serious illness or injury, and (b) the need for leave can best be accommodated through an intermittent or reduced schedule leave. When planning medical treatment for foreseeable FMLA leave, an employee must consult with his or her supervisor and make a reasonable effort to schedule the treatment so as not to disrupt unduly the School District’s operations, subject to the approval of the health care provider. The School District may, for justifiable cause, require an employee to attempt to reschedule treatment, subject to the approval of the health care provider as to any modification of the treatment schedule.

5.11.7  Temporary Transfer  - If foreseeable intermittent or reduced schedule leave is medically required based upon planned medical treatment of the employee or a family member, including during a period of recovery from a serious health condition, the School District may temporarily transfer the employee to another job with equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates the type of leave requested.

Also, special arrangements may be required of any instructional employee who needs to take intermittent or reduced-schedule leave which will involve absence for more than twenty (20) percent of the workdays in the period over which the leave will extend. In such case, the instructional employee may be given the choice of being temporarily transferred to another job or remaining on leave for the duration of the planned medical treatment.

5.11.8  Use of Vacation and Sick Leave – If an employee has available sick leave, vacation leave or other applicable paid leave, the employee must utilize those forms of leave before taking unpaid leave under the FMLA. In that instance, the paid leave and the FMLA leave will run concurrently and the employee’s twelve (12) weeks of unpaid FMLA leave will be reduced by the paid leave utilized, as long as the need for such leave results from one or more of the qualifying reasons under the FMLA. Available Personal Days also will be used and run concurrently with FMLA leave.

5.11.9  Notice – Employees seeking leave under the FMLA must provide thirty (30) days advance notice of the need to take leave when the need is foreseeable. When the need for leave is unforeseeable, employees should notify their supervisors as soon as practicable, usually the same or the next business day. Employees must also provide notice of the need for qualifying exigency and military caregiver leave as soon as practicable.

5.11.10  Certification for Medical or Military Caregiver Leave – Every request for FMLA leave based upon the serious health condition of the employee or employee’s spouse, child, or parent, or leave as a military caregiver must be supported by medical certification issued by the appropriate health care provider on forms provided by the Board.
For leave based on a serious health condition of the employee or employee’s spouse, child, or parent, the Board reserves the right to obtain a second opinion from an independent health-care provider designated by the School District. If the opinion received by the employee and the second opinion conflict, the School District and the employee must agree on a third provider to issue a binding third opinion. Both the second and third opinions (if necessary) will be at the expense of the Board

5.11.11  Certification for Qualifying Exigency Leave – Certification will be required by the Board for requests for qualifying exigency leave. Certification must be timely submitted on forms provided by the School District. For the first such request, certification may include a copy of the military service member’s duty orders or other military documentation.

5.11.12  Return to Work – The Board may require an employee who has taken leave due to the employee’s own serious medical condition to provide the School District with a healthcare provider’s certification in order to return to work. Any employee who takes leave under these provisions will be entitled to be restored to the original position held when the leave commenced or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

5.11.13  Maintenance of Benefits – Benefits accrued by the employee before leave is taken are not lost when approved FMLA leave is taken. Employees who are on approved FMLA leave will remain eligible to participate in benefit programs in which the employee was enrolled at the time of the leave, provided that the employee will continue to be responsible for payment of employee’s portion of any cost, premium, or like payment that is required to maintain eligibility for the coverage or benefit. An employee that does not return to work after FMLA leave, will be required to reimburse the Board for the cost of health insurance benefits coverage extended to the employee during the leave, unless the reason for the employee’s failure to return to work is (i) a continuing serious health condition suffered by either the employee or a family member, or (ii) other circumstances beyond the employee’s control.

5.11.14  Instructional Employees – FMLA leave taken by eligible instructional employees is subject to further limitations and provisions established by the FMLA. “Instructional Employee” means an employee employed principally in an instructional capacity whose principal function is to teach and instruct students in a class, a small group, or an individual setting, and includes athletic coaches, driving instructors, and special education assistants such as signers for the hearing impaired. The term does not include teacher assistants or aides who do not have as their principal function actual teaching or instructing, nor auxiliary personnel such as counselors, psychologists, curriculum specialists, cafeteria workers, maintenance workers, bus drivers, or other primarily non- instructional employees.

5.11.15  Outside Employment and Vacation During FMLA Leave
An employee who is on FMLA leave for his or her own serious health condition may not engage in employment for any other employer or engage in self-employment while on leave. In addition, an employee on FMLA leave for his or her own serious health condition may not engage in personal travel (e.g., vacation) that involves any activities that incapacitates the employee from working his or her job. If the employee is using paid sick leave that is running concurrently with FMLA leave, the employee must remain in the general vicinity of his or her place of residence during the period of such leave. Dishonesty related to such activities (i.e., work or personal travel) are violations of this policy.