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Williams College Employee Handbook

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Family and Medical Leave Act

All full and part-time employees who have been employed by the College for at least twelve months, not necessarily consecutively, and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the immediately preceding twelve months are eligible for a leave of absence under this policy.  For policy details please read below, visit this link for the Employee's Guide to FMLA from the US Department of Labor:

FMLA Employee Guide 2012.pdf

POLICY STATEMENT

In accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) the College will grant eligible employees up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave during any twelve-month period for any of the following reasons:

  • to care for the employee's child within one year of birth, adoption, or the initiation of foster care;
  • to care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition;
  • because the employee's own serious health conditions makes the employee unable to perform his/her job; or
  • for exigent services leave when the employee's spouse, child or parent is called up to or on active military service.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) also provides 26 weeks of unpaid leave in a single 12 month period for an employee caring for a covered servicemember recovering from an illness or injury suffered in the line of duty while on active military duty, and who is the spouse, parent, child or next of kin of the covered servicemember.

Upon completion of FMLA leave, an employee generally will be reinstated to the position that the employee held when the leave commenced, or to a position with equivalent pay, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.  The employee's restoration rights are the same as they would have been if the employee had not been on leave.  In the event that an employee's position would have been eliminated or the employee's employment terminated but for the leave, the employee does not have the right to be reinstated.

DEFINITIONS

  • "12-Month Period" means a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date leave is taken.
  • "Spouse" means a husband or wife as defined or recognized under state law for purposes of marriage, including common law marriage and does not include unmarried domestic partners. If both spouses work for the College, their total leave in any 12-month period may be limited to an aggregate of 12 weeks if the leave is taken for either the birth or placement for adoption or foster care of a child or to care for a sick parent, or an aggregate of 26 weeks to care for a covered servicemember.
  • "Child" means a child either under 18 years of age, or 18 years of age or older who is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability. An employee's "child" is one for whom the employee has actual day-to-day responsibility for care and includes a biological, adopted, foster or step-child.
  • "Parent" means a biological parent of an employee or an individual who stood in loco parentis to an employee when the employee was a son or daughter.
  • "Covered Military Member" for purposes of Exigent Circumstances Leave means those members called or ordered to active duty as part of a contingency operation, who are retired members of the Regular Armed Forces, or members of the retired Reserve, the Ready Reserve, the Select Reserve, the Individual Ready Reserve, or the National Guard. It does not include members of the Regular Armed Forces.
  • "Next of Kin" means the nearest blood relative other than a spouse, parent or child, with priority given to blood relative who have been given legal custody, followed by brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins. The servicemember also may designate the next of kin in advance.
  • "Qualifying Exigencies" means (1) short-notice deployment; (2) attendance at military events and related activities; (3) childcare and school activities: where as a result of the military member's active duty or call to active duty status, the covered employee is required to arrange for alternative childcare arrangements, provide childcare on an urgent, immediate basis, enroll or transfer a child to a new school or daycare center, or attend meetings with staff at a school or daycare facility; (4) financial and legal arrangements: a covered employee may take leave to make financial or legal arrangements that address the covered military member's absence while on active duty or call to active duty status; (5) counseling; (6) rest and recuperation (for which an employee may use up to five (5) days of leave to spend with a covered service member for each instance of rest and recuperation during the period of deployment up to a maximum total of twelve (12) weeks); (7) post-deployment activities, including attendance at arrival ceremonies and reintegration briefings; and (8) additional activities, where the employer and employee agree to the leave.
  • "Serious Health Condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or a physical or mental condition that involves:
    • Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility; or
    • Any period of incapacity requiring absence from work for more than three calendar days AND that involves continuing treatment by a health care provider; or
    • Continuing treatment by a health care provider for a chronic or long-term health condition that is incurable or which, if left untreated, would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three calendar days; or
    • Prenatal care by a health care provider.
  • "Continuing Treatment" means:
    • Two or more visits to a health care provider within 30 days of the beginning of the period of incapacity; or
    • Two or more treatments by a health care practitioner on referral from, or under the direction of, a health care provider; or
    • A single visit to a health care provider that results in a regimen of continuing treatment; or
    • In the case of a serious, long-term or chronic condition or disability that cannot be cured, being under the continuing supervision of a health care provider by visint the health care provider for the condition or disability at least two times per year.
  • "Key employee" means:
    • Those employees who are among the highest paid ten percent of the employees of the worksite. The worksite is defined by all the employees employed by the company within a 75 mile radius.

SCHEDULING OF FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE

  • Eligible employees may take a maximum of twelve weeks of leave during any twelve-month period. In all cases, the twelve-month period shall be measured from a "rolling" twelve-month period measured backward from the date an employee begins to use FMLA leave.
  • Family leave, i.e., leave for childbirth, adoption, or foster care must be taken and completed within one year of the birth, adoption, or the initiation of foster care. Such leave ordinarily must be taken all at once unless the employee's supervisor agrees to an alternative leave arrangement that satisfies the operational needs of the College.
  • Medical leave, i.e., leave for the serious health condition of an employee or the employee's relative, may be taken whenever medically necessary. Depending on the circumstances, medical leave may be taken all at once or intermittently. However, if the employee's need for intermittent leave is foreseeable based on planned medical treatment, the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule the treatment in a way that will minimize disruptions to the department's operations. The College may, with justifiable cause, ask an employee to modify his or her treatment schedule in order to better accommodate the department's needs and/or may require the employee to transfer termporarily to a position with equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates recurring periods of leave.

EMPLOYEE NOTICE REQUIREMENTS

When the need for the requested leave is foreseeable or in the case where intermittent leave schedule is necessary for planned medical treatment, employees must provide as much prior notice as reasonably possible and make every effort to schedule the leave so as not to disrupt business operations.

MEDICAL CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

  • Any employee requesting a medical leave must provide a doctor's statement supporting the employee's need for leave within fifteen days after requesting leave. Employees should contact Human Resources as soon as their need for a medical leave is determined to obtain the College's Medical Certification form.
  • The College may require a second or third opinion (at its own expense).
  • A doctor's statement may be required periodically while an employee is on medical leave in order to certify the employee's continuing need for leave. A doctor's statement also may be required if an employee requests an extension of leave, or if there is a significant change in circumstances related to the employee's need for leave.
  • As a condition of returning to work, an employee who has been on medical leave must present a doctor's statement certifying that the employee is well enough to resume work. A medical certification also will be required in any case where an employee on FMLA leave represents that he or she is unable to return to work for medical reasons. (Note: If an employee fails to return from FMLA leave, the employer may seek reimbursement for any health insurance premiums that it paid during leave unless the employee cannot return for medical reasons or other circumstances beyond the employee's control.)

STATUS OF COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS WHILE ON FMLA LEAVE

  • FMLA leave will be without pay except when an eligible employee uses accrued sick, vacation, personal, or short-term disability leaves to qualify for compensation during time away. Where employees have earned leave available, they are required to use it first to substitute for the unpaid leave.
  • The College will maintain an employee's health and dental insurance coverage for the duration of the employee's FMLA leave. The College will continue to pay its portion of the employee's health insurance premiums provided that the employee pays his or her contributory portion on a timely basis. Employees requesting leave should contact the Benefits Office to arrange an acceptable payment schedule.
  • The College will maintain and pay its portion of the premiums for other benefits during FMLA leave, including supplemental life and disability insurance, provided that the employee pays his or her contributory portion on a timely basis. (Note: Employers are not required to continue any benefits other than medical insurance during FMLA leave unless a lapse in coverage would jeopardize the resumption of such benefits at the conclusion of FMLA leave.)
  • Employees will not accrue paid leave, i.e., vacation leave, during FMLA leave. However, such leave periods will be treated as continued service for the purpose of calculating retirement plan vesting and eligibility.

RETURN TO WORK

  • An employee on FMLA leave is expected to report periodically to the employee's supervisor on his or her status and intent to return to work.
  • The College will make every effort to restore all employees on leave to their original or positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms.
  • If an employee fails to return to work on or before the previously agreed upon return to work date, he/she will be considered to have abandoned his/her job.
  • Certain highly compensated or "key employees" may be denied restoration to their prior or equivalent position.  Denial is based on the following conditions:
    • The denial is necessary to prevent substantial economic injury to the employer;
    • The employer has notified the employee of his/her "key" status as well as its decision to deny restoration should the leave take place or continue; and
    • The employee elects not to return to work after being notified of the employer' s decision.

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