CHAPTER SIX: BENEFITS 6.6

A. Family Medical Leave

Family and medical leave will be granted in accordance with the requirements of applicable state and federal law in effect at the time the leave is granted. In certain situations, the federal law requires that provisions of state law apply. In any case, employees will be eligible for the most generous benefits available under either law.

Employees should contact their supervisor and the Human Resources office as soon as they become aware of the need for a family or medical leave. Westmont’s practice is that employees who are out for three or more calendar days will be provided leave paperwork and considered on leave. The following is a summary of the relevant provisions with additional information available from Human Resources. At the time of the request, a copy of the leave policy will be provided.

Employee Eligibility

To be eligible for family or medical leave benefits, an employee must have worked for the college for a total of at least 12 months and worked at least 1250 hours over the previous 12 months. For FMLA (not CFRA) leave eligibility purposes, prior employment within seven years will be counted towards length of service.

Benefits Available

Eligible employees may receive up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period. A 12-month period begins on the date of an employee's first use of the FMLA leave. Successive 12-month periods commence on the date of an employee's first use of FMLA leave after the preceding 12-month period has ended. Leave may be used for one or more of the following reasons:

  • for the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition
  • to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious personal health condition.
  • employee’s son, daughter, spouse, or parent is a covered military member who is on active duty (or who has been notified of an impending call to active duty) and has a “qualifying exigency.”
    • A “covered military member” is a current member of the Armed Forces, Reserve, or National Guard who supports a contingency operation
    • A “qualifying exigency” is a need to prepare for an active duty call. Examples include, but are not limited to: short-notice deployment, rest and recuperation, financial/legal arrangements, childcare arrangements, military events, counseling and post-deployment activities.

Additional Military FMLA Leave

Additional FMLA leave time may be available for eligible employees who need to care for a covered servicemember (defined below). The employee may qualify for a total of 26 workweeks of an unpaid leave in a single 12-month period, for the following reason:

  • to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the servicemember.
  • A servicemember is defined as “a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, or a veteran within five years of service preceding treatment, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in an outpatient status, or is otherwise on temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty.

In some circumstances, employees may take family or medical leave intermittently or by reducing their normal weekly or daily work schedule.

Pregnant employees may have the right to take a pregnancy disability leave in addition to a family-care leave; such employees should contact the Human Resources office about their individual situations.

Certain restrictions on these benefits may apply.

(1) Notice and Certification

Employees seeking to use family or medical leave may be required to provide:

a. 30-day advance notice when the need for the leave is foreseeable, and

b. medical certification (both prior to the leave and prior to reinstatement); and/or

c. second or third medical opinions and periodic re-certification and

d. periodic reports during the leave regarding the employee's status and intent to return to work.

When the leave is needed to care for an immediate family member or the employee's own illness and is for planned medical treatment, the employee must try to schedule treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the operation of their department.

(2) Compensation during Leave

Family and medical leave is unpaid. In certain circumstances required by law, the employee must use accrued paid leave (e.g. vacation or sick leave) to cover some or all of the family or medical leave. Other state benefits may be available. See Sick Leave 6.5 for additional information on the use of paid time off.

(3) Benefits during Leave

Group health insurance coverage will be maintained for an employee on family or medical leave up to a maximum of 12 work weeks if such insurance was provided before the leave was taken and on the same terms as if the employee continued to work. In certain circumstances required by law, employees who do not return to work following family or medical leave may be required to reimburse the college for premiums it paid to maintain health coverage for the employee and their family. If this is the case, the employee must make arrangements with Human Resources to confirm how this payment should be handled.

(4) Job Reinstatement

Under most circumstances, upon return from family or medical leave, an employee will be reinstated to his or her original position or to a position with equivalent benefits, pay and terms and conditions of employment. However, an employee has no greater right to reinstatement than if the employee had been continuously employed rather than on leave. If an employee returning from a medical leave is unable to perform the essential functions of the job because of a physical or mental condition, the Americans with Disabilities Act may govern the college's obligations. In addition, an employee's use of family or medical leave will not result in the loss of any employment benefit that the employee earned or was entitled to before using family or medical leave.

(5) Unlawful Acts

It is unlawful for Westmont to interfere with, restrain or deny the exercise of any right provided by state or federal law. It is also unlawful for Westmont to refuse to hire or to discharge or discriminate against any individual for opposing any practice or because of involvement in any proceedings, related to family or medical leave.

Employee Rights and Responsibilities under the Family and Medical Leave Act

 

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