I. Family & Medical Leave Act Policy
A. Family Care Leave
ALBION COLLEGE provides several kinds of leaves of absence to meet the individual needs of employees and their families, and as required by various state and federal laws. Eligibility, benefits, length of leave and job protection vary, depending on the reason for leave and the length of time the employee has worked for ALBION COLLEGE.
An “FMLA Eligible” employee, as used in this leave policy, means an employee who (1) has been employed by ALBION COLLEGE for at least 12 months; (2) has actually worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12-month period; and (3) works in a location within 75 miles of at least 50 ALBION COLLEGE employees. Certain military service may be counted toward the 12- month and 1,250 hour thresholds. Employees who do not meet these specific requirements may still be eligible for some types of leave depending on the reason and length of leave.
For purposes of measuring the maximum amount of leave available to an employee, ALBION COLLEGE generally uses a rolling 12-month period, measured backward from the date the employee takes leave.
Family care leave is available only to FMLA-eligible employees in order to care for a newborn, newly adopted or newly placed foster child, or to care for a child, parent, or spouse with a serious health condition. The maximum amount of family care leave is 12 weeks in a 12- month period, though this entitlement may be offset by any medical, military exigency, or military caregiver leave the employee has taken during that period. The 12-month period is a rolling period, measured backward from the date any employee takes leave.
Leave to care for a newborn, newly adopted or newly placed foster child must be taken within 12 months of the birth or placement. When leave is taken for this reason, it must generally be taken in periods of at least two weeks. Where both spouses work for ALBION COLLEGE, they have one shared 12-week leave entitlement to care for a new child or ill parent.
Leave to care for an ill family member may be taken intermittently depending on the opinion of the family member’s health care provider.
B. Medical Leave
Medical leave is available to employees who are unable to work due to a serious health condition, as certified by their health care provider. Generally, this type of leave is available only for medical conditions that result in a period of prolonged incapacity (more than three days), but is also available for chronic health conditions for which the employee is being medically supervised. All employees are eligible for this type of leave, but reinstatement rights vary depending on whether an employee is FMLA Eligible and on the reason for leave. The maximum amount of medical leave under this policy is generally 12 weeks in a 12-month period, though this entitlement may be offset by any family care, military exigency, or military caregiver leave the employee has taken during that period. The 12-month period is a rolling period, measured backward from the date any employee takes leave. The leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule, based on the health care provider’s recommendation. Where required by law, additional leave beyond the 12-week period may be available. See Human Resources for further information.
C. Military Exigency Leave
FMLA-eligible employees may take a Military Exigency Leave to deal with a qualifying exigency related to or affected by the active military duty or call to active military duty in the National Guard or Military Reserves of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent. Qualifying exigencies include (1) the deployment on short notice of the family member; (2) military events and related activities; (3) childcare and school activities; (4) financial and legal arrangements; (5) counseling; (6) rest and recuperation; (7) other post-deployment activities; and (8) miscellaneous activities agreed to by ALBION COLLEGE and the employee if the timing and duration of leave are also agreed to. The maximum period of leave is up to 12 weeks in a 12- month period, though this entitlement may be offset by any family care, military caregiver, or medical leave taken in that period.
D. Military Caregiver Leave
FMLA-eligible employees may take a Military Caregiver Leave to care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin who is a member of the Armed Forces and who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy, is in outpatient status, or on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious illness or injury incurred in the line of duty while on active duty. The maximum period of leave is up to 26 weeks of leave in a 12-month period. Military Caregiver Leave is generally a one-time entitlement and has a special 12-month leave period measured forward from the first day the employee takes Military Caregiver Leave. Additional Military Caregiver Leave is available, however, if the military family member sustains a later injury or illness or for the injury or illness of a different military family member. When both spouses work for ALBION COLLEGE, they are limited to a combined total of 26 weeks for Military Caregiver Leave.
E. How to Request Leave
Requests for family care, military exigency, military caregiver, and medical leave must be approved in advance by your Supervisor and the Human Resources Department. Employees must provide ALBION COLLEGE with at least 30 days advance notice before the leave is to begin. If the need for leave is not foreseeable, and 30 days notice is not possible, notice must be given on the same day that the employee learns of the need for leave, or the next business day, unless circumstances make this impracticable. Leave requests should be made in writing and must set forth the reasons for the requested leave, the anticipated start date of the leave, and the anticipated duration of the leave.
Employees who request a leave because of their own or a family member’s health condition (including pregnancy and military caregiver leave) must submit written medical certification from a health care provider to support the leave request. If an employee fails to provide the required medical certification within 15 days of requesting leave, ALBION COLLEGE may deny or delay the leave. Medical certification forms are available from the Human Resources Department. In most cases, a “doctor’s note” will not be accepted as appropriate medical certification. Employees will be required, unless the College waives the requirement, to recertify the need for the leave at least every thirty (30) days and must report on a periodic basis no less often than every two (2) weeks with respect to their progress or the progress of their parent, spouse or child, and their anticipated date for return to work.
Subject to the approval of the health care provider, employees are expected to consult with their Supervisor prior to the scheduling of medical treatment for themselves or a family member in order to work out a schedule which best suits the needs of both the employee and ALBION COLLEGE.
Leave extension requests should be made two weeks before the end of the scheduled leave, if possible. Where the leave extension is for the employee’s or a family member’s serious health condition, the request must include medical certification of the need for continued leave. Failure to comply with these notice requirements may result in denial or deferral of the requested leave.
All time off work which meets the definitions under FMLA will be charged against the yearly FMLA allowance. For example, whenever a disability leave (whether work-related or not work-related) or any other sick/medical leave is due to a serious medical condition, all time off will be charged against the employee’s FMLA allowance. Likewise, if an employee uses vacation or sick/medical leave for purposes covered by FMLA, whether or not specifically designated as FMLA leave, such time taken will be charged against the employee’s allowance.
It may be necessary for the College to contact an employee regarding her/his leave while on leave. If the employee can not be reached at her/his home phone number that is on file with the College for the duration of the leave, and the leave is in excess of 5 working days, the employee must provide contact information (phone & address).
When on medical leave, employees may not engage in conduct that is inconsistent with the need for such leave. Employees on medical leave will not perform any paid work for another employer or any paid self-employment work during a medical leave without the prior approval of the Chief Division Officer and/or the Director of Human Resources.
F. Compensation and Benefits During Leave
Generally, leaves under this policy are unpaid. Employees may choose to use accrued paid leave during leave, and in some circumstances must use accrued paid leave, as follows:
• Sick leave must be used during medical leave, military caregiver, or family care leave to care for an ill family member.
• Vacation may be used during medical, military caregiver, military exigency, and family care leave.
• Use of vacation and/or sick leave is optional, not required, during periods the employee is eligible for any kind of income replacement benefits, such disability leave benefits.
• When FMLA leave is used for the employee's serious health condition which is covered by the Workers' Disability Compensation Act, the employee shall be compensated during the leave in accordance with the provisions of the Worker's Disability Compensation Act.
Using paid leave will not extend the maximum amount of leave available. When paid leave is exhausted, the remaining leave is unpaid. Sick leave and vacation benefits will continue to accrue only during the portion of leave during which an employee is receiving sick leave or vacation pay.
ALBION COLLEGE will maintain group health insurance coverage for FMLA-eligible employees for up to a combined total of 12 weeks of family, medical or military exigency leave, and up to 26 weeks of military caregiver leave. The employee will continue to be responsible for paying the employee’s portion of applicable group health insurance premiums. Premiums for all benefits other than group health benefits must be paid in full by the employee during the period of leave if the employee wishes such benefits to continue. Employees who are not FMLA eligible or who exhaust their 12-week (or 26-week) benefit entitlement may continue coverage at their own expense under COBRA. An employee who fails to return from leave may be required to repay insurance premiums paid by ALBION COLLEGE during the leave.
G. Return To Work
All employees returning from medical leave must provide medical certification of their fitness to return to work.
Although ALBION COLLEGE is unable to guarantee reinstatement in all cases, in general an employee who returns to work at the end of his or her leave will be returned to his or her former position or to an equivalent position, subject to certain limitations. FMLA-eligible employees who return to work within the 12-week period (or within the 26-week period from military caregiver leave) will be reinstated to the same or equivalent position, unless the employee would have been terminated for reasons unrelated to the leave (for example, position elimination), or if the employee can no longer perform the essential functions of the job. Employees returning from leave after more than 12 weeks due to a work-related injury will be reinstated except where reinstatement is unavailable due to business necessity.
ALBION COLLEGE reserves the right not to reinstate FMLA-eligible employees who are considered “key” employees. ALBION COLLEGE will notify such employees of their “key employee” status and the conditions under which they may be denied reinstatement, if applicable.
If the employee's prior position or an equivalent position is not available at the end of the approved leave, employment will be terminated.
In addition, an employee is considered to have resigned voluntarily if:
• The employee does not return to work on the next regularly scheduled workday after the end of the approved leave period;
• The employee does not return to his or her original position or an equivalent one as soon as he or she is able;
• The employee has accepted other employment during the leave period.
II. Military Leave
Employees who are absent from work for duty in the uniformed services will be granted an unpaid military leave and reinstatement rights in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and state law. ALBION COLLEGE will continued group health benefits during leaves of up to 30 days, and thereafter the employee may continue coverage at the employee’s expense for up to 24 months under the provisions of USERRA. The maximum cumulative period of military leave during an employee’s employment with ALBION COLLEGE is five years, subject to certain exemptions. Employees who have annual military obligations are required to schedule their leave with the Human Resources Department as far in advance as possible.
Eligibility for employment reinstatement following a period of service in the uniformed services is in accordance with USERRA. Upon reinstatement, an employee's compensation, benefits, retirement eligibility, and length of service will be calculated as if he/she had been continuously employed during the service leave period.
Please contact the Human Resources Department for additional details regarding military leave.
III. . Pregnancy Leave
Once a pregnant employee receives an indication from her physician that she is disabled, ALBION COLLEGE shall provide her with at least the same benefits that it provides other disabled employees. This means that a pregnant employee shall have the same right to take a disability leave, will be granted the same length of leave, will be provided the same benefits while on that leave, and will be given the same rights to reinstatement as other disabled employees.