UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

FMLA Employee Notice

NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES REQUESTING LEAVE

The following is information regarding policies and procedures for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), as well as employees' rights and responsibilities. It is important that you be aware of your obligations and understand the consequences of failure to meet these obligations. This notice is not a complete statement of your rights and obligations: you may also have rights under the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act and/or under the University's leave policies.

Please carefully review this information and refer any questions to your supervisor or the human resources office.
1. Employee Eligibility: You are eligible for unpaid leave under FMLA if you:

  • have been employed by the state (at any time) for at least 12 months; and
  • have worked for the state at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months; and
  • are employed at a worksite where there are at least 50 state employees employed within 75 miles of the worksite.

2. Reasons for Leave: If you are eligible under 1., above, you are entitled to use unpaid leave under FMLA:

  • for the birth of a child and to care for your newborn son or daughter (leave must be concluded within 12 months following birth);
  • for placement of a child with you for adoption or foster care (leave must be concluded within 12 months following placement);
  • to care for your child, spouse, or parent (but not parent "in-law") who has a serious health condition;
  • for your own serious health condition that renders you unable to perform the functions of your position;
  • to care for a Military Service member with a serious health condition; or
  • for a Qualifying Exigency due to a military active duty status or call to active duty status of a spouse, son, daughter or parent.

3. Length of Leave: you are entitled to use 12 workweeks of leave for FMLA purposes during each year (calendar year for classified employees; fiscal year--July 1-June 30--for unclassified employees). If you take leave, with or without pay, for a reason that qualifies under FMLA, the leave will be counted against your annual FMLA entitlement. Academic year and school year employees generally do not use the FMLA entitlement during the summer when they are not expected to be at work.

4. Notice of Need for Leave : You are required to inform your supervisor or human resources office 30 calendar days in advance of the need to take FMLA leave, or give as much notice as feasible if leave is to begin in less than 30 days. You must request leave by completing the "Family and Medical Leave Act--Employee Request Form" provided by the human resources office. Failure to provide timely notice as required may result in your request for leave being denied until at least 30 days after the date you give notice.

5. Substitution of Paid Leave for Unpaid FMLA Leave: FMLA leave is unpaid. However, you may request to use vacation, accumulated "banked" vacation, or personal/legal holiday ( not compensatory time), or a combination thereof, during portions of an FMLA leave for the birth of a child or for placement of a child for adoption or foster care. You may use sick leave, in addition to leave noted previously, for unpaid FMLA leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition or for your own serious health condition. Use of paid leave to cover unpaid FMLA leave is often called "substitution." Sick leave may only be substituted under those circumstances for which sick leave is otherwise provided under the applicable collective bargaining agreement or administrative rules. Under no circumstances will employees be entitled to FMLA leave in excess of the authorized 12 weeks as a result of the substitution of paid leave.

Any leave, paid or unpaid, that is designated as leave under FMLA will count against the employee's FMLA entitlement. Employees should check with their supervisor or human resources office for the campus' dispute resolution process in case of disagreement as to whether leave should be designated as leave under FMLA.

6. Intermittent Leave: Intermittent leave or leave on a reduced work schedule:

  • Must be given only when there is a medical need for such leave and the medical need can best be accommodated through an intermittent or reduced leave schedule; and
  • The leave is being used for your own serious health condition, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition;
  • May be given, at the discretion of the appointing authority, when taken for the birth of your son or daughter, or placement of a child with the you for adoption or foster care.

If you request intermittent leave or leave on a reduced schedule, your employer may require you to transfer temporarily to an available alternative position for which you are qualified and which better accommodates recurring periods of leave than does your regular position. The alternative position must have equivalent pay and benefits but does not have to have equivalent duties. Check with your supervisor or human resources office for the your institution's intermittent leave policy.

7. Medical Certification

a. Your employer may require employees who request FMLA leave to provide medical certification. If medical certification is requested, the medical certification form (provided by the employer) must be completed by your health care provider or, in the case of a seriously ill family member, the family member's health care provider. The medical certification form must be returned within fifteen (15) days of request for leave, or in cases of a medical emergency or unforeseen circumstances, as soon as practicable after commencement of leave. Failure to provide timely medical certification as requested may result in the denial of leave until the required certification is provided.

b. If medical certification is requested, the following requirements will apply:

  • The appointing authority, at the institution's expense, may request a second opinion by a health care provider who is designated by the appointing authority. In the event that the two medical opinions differ, a third opinion by a health care provider mutually agreed upon by the employee and the appointing authority, also at the agency's expense, may be requested. The third opinion will be final and binding. If an employee is being treated by a Christian Science practitioner, the agency may require a second or third certification from a health care provider who is not a Christian Science practitioner.
  • Employers may request recertification at reasonable intervals but not more often than every 30 days unless you have requested a leave extension, circumstances described by the original certification have changed significantly, the employer receives information which casts doubt upon the continuing validity of the certification, or you are unable to return to work after FMLA leave and the employer needs the certification to determine your rights with regard to health insurance premiums.
  • During your FMLA leave, the employer may require you to report periodically on your status and intent to return to work.

8. Benefit Continuation

a. Group Health Insurance :

For employees substituting paid leave (e.g., vacation or sick leave) under FMLA, group health insurance will continue as with any paid leave. For authorized leave without pay under FMLA, the UW must maintain the employee's group health insurance coverage on the same conditions and continuing employer contributions as would have been provided if the employee had been continuously employed.

The staff benefits office will advise you of your individual eligibility for continuation of group health insurance under the provisions of FMLA. You are required to pay the employee portion of health insurance premiums, if applicable, during unpaid leave under FMLA. The staff benefits office will advise you of the cost of coverage and when and where to send the premium payments, if any. Coverage will be terminated for employees who do not pay their portion of the cost of coverage.

In the event that your coverage is terminated due to non-payment while on leave, you may re-enroll in whatever coverage was in effect prior to taking leave under FMLA upon return to work. Coverage will be effective the first day you return from leave under FMLA.

The UW may recover its share of group health insurance premiums during a period of unpaid FMLA leave if the employee fails to return to work after the employee's FMLA leave entitlement has been exhausted or expires, unless the reason the employee does not return is due to:

  1. The continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition of the employee or the employee's family member which would otherwise entitle the employee to leave under FMLA; or
  2. Other circumstances beyond the employee's control.

b. Other Insurances. For employees substituting paid leave (e.g., vacation or sick leave) under FMLA, other University insurance plans will continue as with any paid leave. For authorized leave without pay under FMLA, you may pre-pay your premiums to maintain coverage, or you may let coverage lapse. You would be eligible to re-enroll upon your return to work

c. Benefits Accrued Prior to Leave : While you will not accrue additional benefits during leave without pay under FMLA, benefits accrued prior to leave will be retained at the same levels upon return to work. For example, paid annual leave, sick leave, or personal holidays which are not substituted for FMLA leave will be available to you upon return from leave.

d. Continuous Service:

1) State Seniority : Employees, other than LTEs, will continue to accrue continuous service for seniority purposes while on leave under FMLA.

2) Retirement System : The time an employee is on FMLA leave (either paid or unpaid) will be treated as continuous service for purposes of eligibility to participate in the retirement plan. However, the time an employee is on unpaid FMLA leave will not be counted as creditable service.

9. Return from FMLA Leave: When returning from leave taken under FMLA, you generally will be returned to the same or equivalent position, including the same pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. However, an employee has no right under FMLA to return to the same position. If your position would have ended had you not been on FMLA leave, you do not have a right to the position. If state law or a collective bargaining agreement governs an employee's return to work, those provisions shall be applied.

You may be required to provide a fitness-for-duty certification signed by your health care provider before returning to work from FMLA leave taken for your own serious health condition. Check with your supervisor or human resources office for your institution's policy regarding fitness-for-duty certification. Failure to provide a fitness-for-duty certification upon request may result in denial of reinstatement until the required certification is provided.

10. FMLA and Other Leave Benefit Provisions: FMLA entitlement is to be coordinated with the provisions of the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act (WFMLA), as well as leave benefits provided under administrative rules and policies of the Board of Regents. Employees may not use benefits provided under FMLA in addition to benefits provided under the WFMLA, administrative rule, or applicable policies. Leave qualifying under both laws will be counted against the employee's entitlement under both the federal and state laws, as well as towards the employee's entitlement under administrative rule or the applicable policies.

Questions regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act should be referred to the Human Resources Office at 715-425-3926.