Family and Medical Leave Policy
Family Medical Leave (FMLA)/State FLA, State FLI, NJ SAFE Act, Paid Sick Leave Act, and Short-Term Disability Policy
(i) Federal Family and Medical Leave Act
Under certain circumstances set forth in detail below, eligible employees may take a leave of absence under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). To be eligible for FMLA leave, the employee must have been employed by the University for at least 12 months and have worked for at least 1,250 hours during the immediately-preceding 12 months. Additionally, the employee must be employed at a Company work site that employs a minimum of fifty (50) employees who work twenty (20) or more calendar workweeks or be employed within a seventy-five (75) mile radius of another Company worksite that, combined with his or her worksite, employs fifty (50) or more employees who work twenty (20) or more calendar workweeks. If an employee meets the above eligibility requirements while on a non-FMLA leave of absence, any portion of leave taken for a FMLA-qualifying reason after the employee meets the eligibility requirements may be designated by the University as FMLA leave.
Reasons for and Length of Leave
Under the FMLA, eligible employees are entitled to take up to twelve (12) weeks unpaid FMLA leave during a defined 12-month period. The 12-month period is the year beginning on the date that FMLA leave is first taken by an employee; the next and subsequent 12-month periods would begin the first time that FMLA leave is taken after the conclusion of any previous 12-month period for the following reasons:
- For incapacity due to the employee’s pregnancy, prenatal medical care, or child birth;
- To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care;
- To care for the employee’s spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition;
- The employee’s own serious health condition that renders the employee incapable of performing the functions of his or her job; or
- Because of any “qualifying exigency” (as defined by the regulations promulgated under the FMLA) arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, child, or parent, who is a retired member of the Regular Armed Forces or Reserves or is a current member of the National Guard or Reserves, has been called to active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in support of a contingency operation.
In addition, an eligible employee who is the spouse, child, parent or next of kin (as defined by the regulations promulgated under the FMLA) of a “Covered Service-Member” shall be entitled to a combined total of up to twenty-six (26) weeks of unpaid FMLA leave (commencing on the first day that an eligible employee takes FMLA leave and ending twelve (12) months after that date) to care for the “Covered Service-Member” and for other FMLA-qualifying reasons, provided that the total leave for other FMLA-qualifying reasons does not exceed twelve (12) weeks during the single twelve (12) month period. Qualifying periods of leave taken pursuant to the FMLA’s provisions for the care of Covered Service Members may overlap in accordance with the regulations promulgated under the FMLA.
A “Covered Service-Member” means a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, or is otherwise in “outpatient status” (as that term is defined in the FMLA), or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious illness or injury. For purposes of the definition of “Covered Service-Member,” a “serious injury or illness” means an injury or illness incurred by the service-member in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces that may render the service-member medically unfit to perform the duties of the service-member’s office, grade or rating.
The entitlement to leave for the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care will expire twelve (12) months from the date of the birth or placement.
The University requires employees to use all accrued and unused sick/personal days at the commencement of the leave period (unless the employee is receiving disability, workers’ compensation benefits, or NJ Paid Family Leave Benefits). Employees strictly on Federal FMLA or State FLA will have the balance of the leave unpaid after available sick/personal days are exhausted. If sick/personal days are exhausted, an employee may authorize the use of vacation days.
Intermittent/Reduced Schedule Leave
If an employee requests intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule as a result of his or her own serious health condition, to care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition, or to care for a spouse, child, parent or next of kin who is a Covered Service-Member, the University will require certification that this type of leave is medically necessary and verification as to the dates and duration of treatment and of the expected duration of the leave. If an employee requests intermittent or reduced work schedule leave because of a “qualifying exigency,” approval of such request will be subject to the employee’s compliance with the notice and certification requirements of the FMLA. The University may temporarily transfer an employee who needs intermittent leave or a reduced schedule to an alternate position (with equivalent pay and benefits) that would better accommodate intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule. With respect to taking intermittent leave when its use is foreseeable, employees must attempt to schedule their leave so as not to disrupt the University’s schedule. Employees are expected to consult with their supervisors before scheduling planned treatment where intermittent FMLA leave will be used. The intention of this requirement is to limit the disruption of the University’s operations and provide an opportunity to arrange for proper coverage. With regard to intermittent Federal FMLA and State FLA leaves, FDU will automatically withdraw from sick bank. However, if an employee depletes their sick bank and depletes their vacation bank (if authorized), an employee’s pay will be docked. Please note, vacation time may only be withdrawn for approved full FMLA/FLA days taken (not partial days). As sick days are accrued at the beginning of a FY, employees newly accrued sick hours will be withdrawn, upon accruing more days while continuing on an FMLA/FLA leave.
An employee requesting intermittent bonding leave must provide fifteen (15) days advance notice, unless an emergency or other unforeseen circumstance precludes such notice. The covered employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule leave so as not to unduly disrupt the operations of the employer. If possible, the employee should provide the employer (prior to the commencement of intermittent leave) with a regular schedule of days or days of the week on which the intermittent leave will be taken.
Eligible employees are entitled on return from leave to be reinstated to their former position or an equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. Exceptions to this provision may apply if business circumstances have changed (e.g., if the employee’s position is no longer available due to a job elimination). A determination as to whether a position is an “equivalent position” will be made by the University. Exceptions also may apply for certain highly compensated employees under certain conditions.
Request for Leave; Notice of Leave
An employee requesting FMLA leave must complete initiate a leave with FMLASource by calling 877-462-3652.. The employee must make a formal request to take an FMLA/State FLA leave at least 30 days (or 15 days as noted above) prior to the date on which he/she expects the leave to commence (unless emergency circumstances warrant a shorter period of time), and the employee must attempt to schedule his or her leave in a way as to minimize the disruption to the department. To the extent that an employee is taking a FMLA leave related to a “qualifying exigency” arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, child or parent is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the military in support of a contingency operation, the employee must give such notice as is reasonable and practicable. If the employee is unable to provide 30 days advance notice because the need for leave is unforeseeable, the employee must give notice as soon as practicable. In that case, the employee will be required to comply with the University’s policy regarding requesting sick leave, absent unusual circumstances. Notice of leave must be provided in writing to both the employee’s supervisor and the Human Resources Department. An employee must supply FMLASource with a doctor’s note confirming his/her need for a medical leave of absence and the expected dates of leave. An employee must also keep their department up to date on their expected return date from leave. The return to work note provided by the doctor must state whether or not restrictions are in place as of the date of return to work. Any noted restrictions will be evaluated to confirm whether or not such an accommodation may be made. If there is a change in the return date authorized by the doctor, the supervisor and Human Resources department must be notified immediately. If the employee is too ill to contact his/her supervisor, the employee must authorize a member of his/her family or a close friend to do it on his/her behalf. The supervisor is responsible for departmental staffing and must receive the most recent updates on the return date as soon as it becomes available to the employee
Certification of Leave
A medical certification may be required when an employee requests leave based on the serious health condition of the employee, eligible family member, or Covered Service Member. In the certification, the physician will be asked to attest to the nature of the serious health condition (qualifying under the FMLA) or, in the case of a leave to care for a Covered Service Member, a “serious illness or injury” (qualifying under the FMLA) and the anticipated duration of the leave (including the expected starting and ending dates of the leave). Employees also may be required to provide additional physician’s statements at the University’s request at reasonable intervals. Further, the employee or his/her family member may be required to submit to a medical examination by a physician designated by the University at the University’s expense. If the employee is needed to care for a spouse, child, or parent (or spouse, child, parent, or next of kin, in the case of a Covered Service-Member), the certification should so state along with an estimate of the amount of time the employee will be needed for that care. If the employee has a serious medical condition, the certification should state that the employee cannot perform the essential functions of his or her job. If an employee requests intermittent leave, the University also will require certification that this type of leave is medically necessary and verification as to the dates and duration of treatment and expected duration of the leave. Unless otherwise requested by the University, employees should be in contact with FMLASource to initiate, extend, or amend a claim. FMLASource is responsible for administering Federal FMLA and State FLA. For employees applying for short term disability, FMLASource will forward the claim to the Guardian (short term disability carrier) for processing.
An employee requesting leave for a “qualifying exigency” may be required to submit a certification attesting to the need for leave on this basis and the anticipated duration of the leave (including the expected starting and ending dates of the leave) or the frequency of the anticipated intermittent leave. The employee may also be required to provide information that will allow the University to verify the information provided in the certification.
Benefits Coverage During Leave
During a period of FMLA leave, an employee will be retained on the University’s health plan under the same conditions that applied before leave commenced. To continue health coverage, the employee must continue to make any contributions that he or she made to the plan before taking leave. Failure of the employee to pay his or her share of the health insurance premium may result in loss of coverage. If the employee fails to return to work after the expiration of the leave, the employee may be required to reimburse the University for payment of health insurance premiums during the FMLA leave.
Return from Leave
If an employee wishes to return to work prior to the expiration of a family or medical leave of absence, the employee should make every attempt to notify the employee’s supervisor at least two (2) working days prior to the employee’s planned return. As a condition of restoration, each employee who has taken leave on account of his or her own serious illness must provide a written certification from his or her health care provider that the employee is able to resume working (as discussed above).
Failure to Return from Leave
The University does not promise reinstatement of employment to those employees who exceed the permitted period of leave provided under applicable federal and state law and policies within the Employee Handbook. An employee who fails to return to work upon the expiration of a family or medical leave of absence may be considered to have resigned from employment. An employee who requests an extension of family leave or medical leave due to the continuation, recurrence or onset of her or his own serious health condition, or of the serious health condition of the employee’s spouse, child or parent (or, in the case of a Covered Service-Member, the serious illness or injury of the employee’s eligible family member should submit a request for an extension, in writing, to the employee’s immediate supervisor and the Benefits Department. This written request should be made as soon as the employee realizes that she or he will not be able to return at the expiration of the leave period. The University reserves the right to determine in its sole and absolute discretion whether or not to grant the employee’s request for additional leave time.
A growing number of states provide leave for family members of service-members. The entitlement for such leave differs from state to state. The University’s policy is that any such leave shall run concurrently with leave under the FMLA (to the extent permitted by applicable federal and state law) and to comply with all such laws in applicable circumstances. In some cases, state law provides greater or additional benefits than those provided under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Under FMLA, the University is required to give the employee the maximum benefit allowed under both federal and state law. These benefits are more fully explained below. If you have any questions regarding the FMLA or any other applicable family and/or medical leave laws, please contact the Human Resources Department.
(ii) Family Leave for New Jersey Employees
New Jersey Family Leave Act
In addition to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, New Jersey has a Family Leave Act as well. Employees who work out of the New Jersey office and have been employed for at least one (1) year and for at least 1,000 hours (excluding overtime) during the immediately-preceding twelve (12) months are eligible for coverage under New Jersey’s Family Leave Act (“NJFLA”). The University may deny NJFLA leave to designated employees (the highest paid five (5) percent of employees) if the leave will cause “substantial and grievous economic injury” to the University’s operations.
All New Jersey employees who meet the applicable time-of-service requirements and other eligibility requirements may take NJFLA leave for up to twelve (12) weeks within any twenty-four (24) month period. The 24-month period is the year beginning on the date that NJFLA leave is first taken by an employee; the next and subsequent 24-month periods would begin the first time that NJFLA leave is taken after the conclusion of any previous 24-month period. Family leave under the NJFLA may be taken for:
- The birth or adoption of a child, placement of a child into foster care with the employee, birth of a child conceived using a gestational carrier agreement;
- The serious health condition of a child, parent, parent-in-law, spouse, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, civil union partner, or any other individual related by blood to the employee;
- The serious health condition of any other individual that the employee shows to have a close association with the employee which is the equivalent of a family relationship.
Leave for the birth or placement of a child must begin within one year or the birth or placement.
Leave taken by an employee for the birth or adoption of a child or the serious health condition of a family member shall count concurrently against the employee’s leave allotment under both the FMLA and the NJFLA. Since New Jersey State law provides greater or additional benefits in some situations, an employee could potentially use both the New Jersey Family Leave Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act to obtain greater leave benefits than either law would provide by itself.
The University requires employees to use all accrued and unused sick/personal days at the commencement of the leave period (unless the employee is receiving disability, workers’ compensation benefits, or NJ Paid Family Leave benefits). Employees strictly on Federal FMLA or State FLA will have the balance of the leave unpaid after available sick/personal days are exhausted.
Employees requesting NJFLA leave must provide their supervisor and the Benefits Department with 30 days advance notice before NJFLA leave is to begin, unless emergent circumstances warrant shorter notice. In the event that an emergency prevents the employee from providing 30 days advance notice, such notice should be provided as soon as practicable. The University may require the employee to provide certification from a health care provider.
In the case of a family member who has a serious health condition, the NJFLA leave may be taken on a reduced leave basis (i.e. non-consecutive leave of up to the equivalent of 12 workweeks, which is taken in increments of not less than one workday, unless otherwise agreed between the University and the employee, but less than one workweek at a time). The reduced schedule leave may not be scheduled over a period that is greater than 24-consecutive weeks and the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt the operations of the University. When medically necessary, NJFLA leave to care for a family member who has a serious health condition may be taken intermittently (i.e., non-consecutive leave taken in increments of at least one, but less than 12, workweeks). The total time within which the intermittent leave is taken must not exceed a consecutive 12-month period for each serious health condition episode. Employees also must make a reasonable effort to schedule reduced or intermittent leave so as not to disrupt unduly the operations of the University. In the case of the birth or adoption of a healthy child, the NJFLA leave must be taken on a consecutive basis.
If an employee needs intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule that is foreseeable based on the care of or planned medical treatment for a family member, the University may require the employee during the period of leave to temporarily transfer to an available alternative position (with equivalent pay and benefits) for which the employee is qualified and which better accommodates recurring periods of leave than does the employee’s regular position.
During NJFLA leave, you are retained on the University’s group health plans under the same conditions as before leave. To continue health coverage, you must continue to make any contributions that you made before leave. Failure to pay premiums may result in loss of coverage.
Short-Term Disability Benefits
An employee who suffers from a non-work related injury or illness may qualify for Short-Term Disability Benefits. There is an eight (8) day elimination period for short-term disability. Should an employee foresee or meet the elimination period, they must apply for short term disability. The maximum duration for benefits for approved claims is twenty-six (26) weeks. Please consult with the Benefits Department for more detail regarding short-term disability and the application process.
New Jersey Paid Family Leave Insurance
Effective July 1, 2009 and subject to eligibility requirements, New Jersey paid family leave insurance (“NJPFL”), , will provide partial wage replacement for a period of up to six weeks within any 12-month period to employees who leave work for the following reasons: (a) to care for a child, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner or parent suffering from a serious health condition; or (b) to bond with his or her child during the first 12 months following the child’s birth or post-adoption placement. The wage replacement benefits to employees are paid from a State fund into which all employees will be required to pay into effective January 1, 2009. Although NJPFL coverage does not provide for job-protected leaves of absences, any leave taken pursuant to this program shall run concurrently with any leave for which the employee may be eligible under the federal FMLA and/or the NJFLA. FLI can be paid on a consecutive or intermittent basis for up to six weeks within a twelve (12) month period (the 365 consecutive days that begin with the first day an employee establishes a valid first claim for FLI). Employees shall be required to exhaust any remaining sick days concurrently with their NJFLA and FMLA leave, after the applicable NJPFL period ends.
NJ Security and Financial Empowerment Act (NJ SAFE Act)
Provides for 20 unpaid days protected leave to an employee who is a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault or whose family member was a victim, within one year of the incident. Leave may be taken for the following purposes:
- To seek medical attention for, or recover from, physical or psychological injuries caused by domestic or sexual violence;
- To obtain services from a victim services organization;
- To obtain psychological or other counseling;
- To participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other actions to increase the safety from future domestic violence or sexual violence or to ensure economic security;
- To seek legal assistance or remedies to ensure the health and safety of the victim or participate in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or derived from domestic violence or sexual violence; or
- To attend, participate in, or prepare for a criminal or civil court proceeding relating to an incident of domestic or sexual violence.
Eligible employees must be employed for at least 12 months, and worked at least 1,000 base hours during the immediately preceding 12-month period. Family members include child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or any other individual related by blood, and any other individual that the employee shows to have a close association with the employee equivalent of a family relationship. Employees may elect to use sick and/or vacation time during this leave. Employee may use short-term disability or Family Leave Insurance during a period of otherwise unpaid SAFE leave. Employees must provide advance notice unless an emergency or other unforeseen circumstances precludes prior notice.
Medical Leave of Absences
An employee who is on a medical leave of absence, and who has met the Federal FMLA eligibility, will have job protection for the six (6) month period of short term disability or workers’ compensation leave (beyond the exhaustion of Federal FMLA). If an employee is medically unable to return to work after a six (6) month medical leave, and if an additional reasonable accommodation cannot be afforded in accordance with Federal and State laws, the employee’s job will terminate.
Paid Sick Leave Act
Note: Please review the Employee Handbook regarding accrual of sick leave, as Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Policy in some instances is more generous than the Paid Sick Leave Act
Under New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave Law, most employees have a right to accrue up to 40 hours of earned sick leave per year. Employees accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year. Up to 40 hours of unused earned sick leave can be carried over into the next benefit year.
Employees may use sick time for the following purposes:
- Their own or their family members’ diagnosis, care, or treatment of or recovery from mental or physical illnesses, injuries, or other adverse health conditions;
- Their own or their family members’ preventive medical care;
- When absence is necessary due to circumstances resulting from the employee or a family member being a victim of domestic or sexual violence, if the leave is to obtain: medical attention needed to recover from physical or psychological injury or disability caused by domestic or sexual violence; services from a designated domestic violence agency; psychological or other counseling; relocation; or legal services.
- When a public health official orders the closure of their workplace or their child’s school or care facility due to an epidemic or other public health emergency;
- When a public health authority determines that employees’ or their family members’ presence in the community would jeopardize other people’s health;
- To attend their child’s school-related conferences, meetings, functions, or other events, as requested or required by school administrators, teachers, or other professional staff members; or
- To attend meetings regarding care provided to their child in connection with the child’s health conditions or disabilities.