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129.00 FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT

Cowley County Community College will comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as amended.  The company posts the mandatory FMLA Notice and upon hire provides all new employees with notices required by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Employee Rights and Responsibilities under the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Information is posted in the office of Human Resources and in each Academic Center. In addition, the policy will be available to all employees on the Intranet and College website.

The function of this policy is to provide employees with a general description of their FMLA rights.  In the event of any conflict between this policy and the applicable law, employees will be afforded all rights required by law.

If you have any questions, concerns, or disputes with this policy, you must contact the Director of Human Resources, in writing.

A. General Provisions

Under this policy, Cowley County Community College (the college) will grant up to 12 weeks (or up to 26 weeks of military caregiver leave to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness) during a 12-month period to eligible employees.  The leave may be paid, unpaid, or a combination (paid and unpaid leave), depending on the circumstances of the leave and the availability of the employee’s paid-time-off benefits.

B. Eligibility

To qualify to take family or medical leave under this policy, the employee must meet all of the following conditions:

  1. The employee must have worked for the company for 12 months or 52 weeks.  The 12 months or 52 weeks need not have been consecutive.  Separate periods of employment will be counted, provided that the break in service does not exceed seven years (unless the break is due to National Guard or Reserve military service obligations).
  2. The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately before the date when the leave is requested to commence. Time spent on paid or unpaid leave will not be counted while determining the 1,250 hours of eligibility.

C. Type of Leave Covered

To qualify as FMLA leave under this policy, the employee must be taking leave for one of the reasons listed below:

  1. The birth of a child and the ability to care for the newborn.
  2. The placement of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child.
  3. To care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition (as defined by the FMLA regulations).
  4. The serious health condition of the employee (as defined by the FMLA regulations). An employee may take leave because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee’s position. Employees with questions about what illnesses are covered under this FMLA policy are encouraged to consult with the Director of Human Resources.
  5. Qualifying exigency leave for families of members of the National Guard, Reserves or of a regular component of the Armed Forces when the covered military member is on covered active duty (as defined by the FMLA regulations) or called to covered active duty.
  6. Military caregiver leave (also known as covered servicemember leave) to care for an injured or ill servicemember or veteran.

D. Amount of Leave

An eligible employee can take up to 12 weeks for the FMLA circumstances (1) through (5) above under this policy during any 12-month period.  Cowley College will measure the 12-month period as a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any leave under this policy.  Each time an employee takes leave, the college will compute the amount of leave the employee has taken under this policy in the last 12-months and subtract it from the 12 weeks of available leave, and the balance remaining is the amount the employee is entitled to take at that time.
An eligible employee can take up to 26 weeks for the FMLA circumstance (6) above during a single 12-month period.  FMLA leave already taken for other FMLA circumstances will be deducted from the total of 26 weeks available.

If a husband and wife both work for the college and each wishes to take leave for the birth of a child, adoption or placement of a child in foster care, or to care for a parent with a serious health condition, the husband and wife may only take a combined total of 12 weeks of leave.  If a husband and wife both work for the college and each wishes to take leave to care for a covered injured or ill servicemember, the husband and wife may only take a combined total of 26 weeks of leave. Leave for birth and care, or placement for adoption or foster care, must conclude within 12 months of the birth or placement.

E. Employee Status and Benefit During Leave

While an employee is on leave, the college will continue the employee’s health benefits during the leave period at the same level and under the same conditions as if the employee had continued to work.
 
F. Employee Status after Leave

An employee who takes leave under this policy may be asked to provide a fitness for duty (FFD) clearance from the health care provider.  Generally, an employee who takes FMLA leave will be able to return to the same position or a position with equivalent status, pay, benefits and other employment terms.  The position will be the same or one which is virtually identical in terms of pay, benefits and working conditions.  The college may choose to exempt certain key employees from this requirement and not return them to the same or similar position.

G. Use of Paid and Unpaid Leave

An employee who is taking FMLA leave must use all paid sick and vacation leave prior to being eligible for unpaid leave.  Once all sick and vacation leave is exhausted, the remaining FMLA leave will be unpaid.

H. Intermittent Leave or a Reduced Work Schedule

The employee may take FMLA leave in 12 consecutive weeks, may use the leave intermittently (take a day periodically when needed over the year) or, under certain circumstances, may use the leave to reduce the workweek or workday, resulting in a reduced-hour schedule.  In all cases, the leave may not exceed a total of 12 workweeks (or 26 workweeks to care for an injured or ill servicemember over a 12-month period).
The college may temporarily transfer an employee to an available alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits if the alternative position would better accommodate the intermittent or reduced schedule.

I. Certification for the Employee or Family Member’s Serious Health Condition

The college will require certification for the employee or the family member’s serious health condition. The employee must respond to such a request within 15 days of the request or provide a reasonable explanation for the delay.  Failure to provide certification may result in a denial of continuation of leave.  The college has the right to ask for a second opinion.  The college will pay for the employee or employee’s family member to get a certification from a second doctor, which the college will select.  The college may request recertification for the serious health condition, as allowed by the FMLA regulations.

J. Certification of Qualifying Exigency and/or Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Servicemember for Military Family Leave

The college will require certification of the qualifying exigency for military family leave or for the serious injury or illness of the covered servicemember.  The employee must respond to such a request within 15 days of the request or provide a reasonable explanation for the delay.  Failure to provide certification may result in a denial of continuation of leave.  The college may request recertification for the serious health condition, as allowed by the FMLA regulations.

K. Procedure for Requesting FMLA Leave

All employees requesting FMLA leave must provide verbal or written notice of the need for the leave to the Director of Human Resources.  Within five business days after the employee has provided this notice, the Director of Human Resources will complete and provide the employee with the DOL Notice of Eligibility and Rights.

When the need for the leave is foreseeable, the employee must provide the college with at least 30 days’ notice.  When an employee becomes aware of a need for FMLA leave less than 30 days in advance, the employee must provide notice of the need for the leave either the same day or the next business day.  When the need for FMLA leave is not foreseeable, the employee must comply with the company’s usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for requesting leave, absent unusual circumstances.

L. Designation of FMLA Leave

Within five business days after the employee has submitted the appropriate certification form, the Director of Human Resources will complete and provide the employee with a written response to the employee’s request for FMLA leave using the DOL Designation Notice.

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