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Family and Medical Leave

The University appreciates the significance of family issues in today's workforce and understands that employees often face conflicting demands of work requirements and family obligations. An employee may be faced with taking a personal leave from his/her position for a temporary period of time to address a serious health condition or certain family responsibilities.

The purpose of the University's Family and Medical Leave Policy is to establish guidelines concerning the leave rights of all eligible employees at the University of Hartford. This policy complies with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (federal FMLA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act of the State of Connecticut (CT FMLA) and describes three different forms of unpaid leave collectively known as Family and Medical Leave:
  • Non-military Family and Medical Leave (Non-Military FMLA Leave),
  • Military-related Family and Medical Leave for qualifying exigencies (Military Exigency Leave), and
  • Military-related Family and Medical Leave for the care of a covered military service member (Military Caregiver Leave).
For purposes of this policy, "eligible employees" are regular full-time and regular part-time faculty and staff of the University who (a) have been employed by the University for at least 12 months, which need not be consecutive months, and (b) have worked at least 1,000 hours in the 12 months immediately before the requested Family and Medical Leave is to begin.

An eligible employee may take Non-Military FMLA Leave for a defined period of time for any of the following qualifying purposes:
  • For the birth and subsequent care for a child of the employee;
  • For the placement of a child with the employee by adoption or foster care arrangement;
    Note: The right to take leave for the birth or placement of a child by adoption or foster care arrangement may arise prior to the birth or placement of the child, when required because of the impending birth or placement, and will expire 12 months from the date of the child's birth or placement.
  • To care for an employee's spouse, same-sex partner, child (who is either [a] under 18 years of age, or [b] age 18 or older and "incapable of self-care because of mental or physical disability"), parent, parent-in-law or parent of a same-sex partner who has a serious health condition;
  • For a serious health condition of the employee that renders the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his/her job; or
  • To serve as an organ or bone marrow donor.
An eligible employee may take Military Exigency Leave for a defined period of time for any qualifying exigency arising because the employee's spouse, same-sex partner, child or parent (a) is in the National Guard, is in the Reserves, or has been retired from the Regular Armed Forces or Reserves and subject to call to active duty and (b) is under a call or order to active duty, or a notification of an impending call or order to active duty, in support of a covered contingency operation (as defined by federal regulation).

An eligible employee may take a Military Caregiver Leave for a defined period of time to care for a spouse, same-sex partner, child, parent or nearest blood relative of a covered service member who is recovering from a serious illness or injury sustained in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces. A covered service member must be a current member of the Armed Forces who is on the temporary disability retired list.

The amount of leave allowed under the federal FMLA and CT FMLA is determined on a rolling month basis from the first day of absence forward. Details regarding leave entitlement are available online at the Department of Labor, posted in the Auerbach Computer and Administration Center, the Handel Performing Arts Center or by contacting HRD.

Applications for Family and Medical Leave of Absence must be made in accordance with the University's standard absence notification procedures unless there are extenuating circumstances. The appropriate forms, available in HRD, must be submitted to initiate a Family and Medical Leave and to return the employee to work upon completion of the leave. An employee requesting Family and Medical Leave must provide the University with appropriate certification which establishes entitlement to this leave.

Within five business days of the request, the University will confirm, in writing, approval or denial of the leave. Failure to provide required certification will result in loss of the leave entitlement. The University may also require the employee to obtain periodic recertification of status and notice of intent to return to work on a reasonable basis. Under certain limited circumstances, the employee may be required to provide additional information or to submit to an independent examination by a designated health care provider at the expense of the University. Final approval for Family and Medical Leave will be granted by HRD.

An employee may request that a leave be retroactively designated as a Family and Medical Leave upon returning to work. The University reserves the right to retroactively designate a leave as a Family and Medical Leave as appropriate under applicable law.

An employee may not engage in other employment during a Family and Medical Leave.

Pay
If the employee is on a Family and Medical Leave for his/her own serious health condition, and is approved for short-term disability (STD) benefits, the portion of leave covered under STD will pay according to the schedule of benefits. The Family and Medical Leave will run concurrent with an employee's STD absence. An employee on an approved Family and Medical Leave will be required to use his/her allotted personal days and vacation time if and when the unpaid portion of the leave begins. Vacation and personal days will not be allotted during any type of leave of absence.

Benefits
FMLA requires the University to continue group medical and/or dental insurance coverage under the same conditions that would have governed had no leave been taken. Therefore, during a leave, the University will continue to pay its portion of group medical insurance premiums, while the employee is required to pay his/her share of the premium. During paid leave, the premiums will be deducted from the employee's wages. During an unpaid leave, the employee will be responsible for payment under the same schedule that payment is made by other employees through payroll deduction. Monthly billing will be coordinated by the Bursar's Office. Failure of the employee to pay his/her portion of the medical and/or dental insurance premium within 30 days of the due date may result in loss of coverage. An employee may choose not to maintain group medical and/or dental insurance coverage during the period of a Family and Medical Leave, and to resume coverage upon return to work. Employees wishing to learn more about this option should contact HRD. If an employee fails to return to work after expiration of a Family and Medical Leave, the University reserves the right to seek reimbursement of the employer's share of any group medical insurance premiums, unless the employee does not return to work due to the continuation, recurrence or onset of a serious health condition of the employee or a family member, or a serious injury or illness of a covered service member, or due to other circumstances beyond the employee's control.

No benefits or employment conditions available to the employee up to the day which the Family and Medical Leave begins will be lost unless the benefit or condition of employment was discontinued or changed for other employees during the leave period. Other non-health benefits will be treated in the same manner during a Family and Medical Leave as during other approved leaves of absence without pay. Group life insurance(s) may be continued according to the provisions of the plan, but the employee will be responsible for the continued payment of the all coverage-related premiums. During any portion of a Family and Medical Leave that is unpaid, all payroll deductions will cease as well as the University's contribution to the Defined Contribution Retirement Annuity Plan (TIAA-CREF).

When any period of a Family and Medical Leave due to the employee's own serious health condition overlaps into a new fiscal year, restored eligibility for vacation benefits in the new fiscal year does not occur until the employee has been medically certified able to return to regular duties on a full-time basis, and the employee has worked a minimum of 20 consecutive full working days.

Return to Work
An employee on an approved Family and Medical Leave will be required to provide the University with appropriate advance notice of his/her potential return to work date. Where circumstances have changed and an employee's original return to work date changes, the employee shall provide the University with notice within two business days of the change in circumstances wherever foreseeable. A return from an approved Family and Medical Leave is accomplished through an appropriate Personnel Action Form (PAF) generated by the department. If a Family and Medical Leave was due to an employee's own serious health condition, medical certification of return to work is required including, where applicable, determination of the employee's ability to perform the essential functions of her/his position. Failure to provide a required return to work certification may result in the employee's reinstatement at work to be delayed or in termination of employment.

An employee who provides the necessary return to work certification and returns to work from Family and Medical Leave within or on the business day following the expiration of FMLA entitlement is eligible to return to his/her same job or an equivalent position without loss of pay, benefits or other conditions of employment, except where the employee is medically certified as unable to perform the essential functions of his/her original job. In that case, the University must transfer the employee to suitable work if available, unless the employee would have been terminated in the absence of any leave (i.e., layoff or downsizing).

Failure to report to work without approval on the first working day following any leave of absence is considered a voluntary resignation.

Discrimination or retaliation against an employee for exercising or attempting to exercise her or his Family and Medical Leave rights is prohibited by law as well as University policy. Further, federal law and University policy prohibit discharging or otherwise discriminating against any person who opposes or complains about any unlawful practice under the Federal or Connecticut FMLA.

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to your designated HR representative.


The University reserves the right to change the Family and Medical Leave Policy, consistent with law, as it deems necessary.

This page is designed to summarize the University's policies on compliance with the Family Medical Leave Act. It is not intended to be all-inclusive. Where there are differences between the provisions of this website and more specific statements contained in University files (such as plan documents), those statements shall control.

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