Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that protects an employee’s job and health coverage who qualifies to take extended, unpaid leave up to 12 weeks. During FMLA leave, Wichita State University must maintain the employee’s health coverage under any group health plan on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work. Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees must be restored to their original or equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms. Use of FMLA cannot result in the loss of employment benefits that accrued prior to the start of the employee’s leave.
FMLA makes it unlawful for WSU to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under FMLA as well as discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by FMLA or for involvement in any proceeding under or relating to FMLA.
Employees with 12 months of University or State service AND have worked for 1,250 hours in the immediate previous 12 months are eligible to apply for FMLA.
FMLA covers the following family and medical reasons:
- incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth
- caring for employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care
- serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s essential job duties
- caring for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition (does not include in-laws)
- to care for a covered service member
- for qualifying exigency military family leave
Eligible employees with a spouse, child, or parent called to active duty in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation may use their 12 week leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies. These may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending pre and post-deployment reintegration briefings. This leave can be intermittent, and not necessarily taken all at once, during a 12-month period.
FMLA includes a special leave entitlement that permits up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a single 12 month period. A covered service member is a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who has a serious injury or illness incurred on active duty that may render the service member unfit to perform his or her duties for which the service member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list. This leave can be intermittent, and not necessarily taken all at once, during a 12-month period beginning on the first day of leave.
A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the essential functions of the employee’s job, or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other living daily activities.
Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regimen of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Also, a permanent or long-term condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g., Alzheimer's, a severe stroke, terminal cancer) or any absences to receive multiple treatments for restorative surgery or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than 3 days if not treated (e.g., chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer) may apply. Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.
Employees must provide 30 days advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when the leave is foreseeable. When it is not possible to give 30 days’ notice, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable. Employees must make a reasonable effort to schedule leave for planned medical treatments so as not to unduly disrupt WSU’s operations when leave is taken on an intermittent or a reduced leave schedule.
Employees need to inform their immediate supervisor of the need for taking FMLA. Employees need to complete, sign, and submit the Medical Leave Request form to Human Resources. A Certification of Health Care Provider form must be completed by the physician to provide information concerning the patient to determine FMLA eligibility. The Return to Work Authorization form is required to return to work after a qualifying event and needs to be submitted to Human Resources.
If the employee is applying for military exigency leave, or to care for a covered service member, the Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military form and/or the Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Service Member must be completed and submitted to Human Resources.
Once the proper forms are submitted, Human Resources must inform the employee requesting leave if he or she is eligible for FMLA. If he or she is eligible, the notice must specify any additional information required as well as the employee’s rights and responsibilities. If he or she is not eligible, the employer must provide a reason for the ineligibility.
If the employee does not wish to return to his or her position with Wichita State University due to personal reasons, he or she must contact his or her supervisor to resign the position. If the employee is unable to return to work due to medical circumstances, he or she may be eligible for shared leave or long-term disability. Contact Human Resources to discuss ongoing leave options if necessary.
Wichita State University must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave
every 12 months to eligible employees under the basic FMLA and exigency leave entitlement.
Under covered service member military leave, eligible employees may take up to 26
weeks of leave to care for a service member of the Armed Forces who has a serious
injury or illness incurred on active duty that renders them medically unfit to perform
his or her duties.
Leave does not have to be taken in one block of time. It can be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary. Employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule leave for planned medical treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operations. Leave due to qualifying exigencies and to care for covered service members may also be on an intermittent basis during a 12-month period.
Wichita State University requires employees to use accrued paid leave while taking FMLA before going into unpaid status. This includes sick, vacation, compensatory, and discretionary time. After this time is depleted, the employee will go into unpaid status.
Unpaid leave is when an eligible employee has used his/her accrued sick leave and vacation leave before leave without pay. If an employee is on unpaid leave, he/she has a minimum 30-day grace period to make their group health insurance premium payments. Employees should contact the Assitant Director of Benefits to discuss payment options.
Who to Contact:
Total Rewards Team
Reviewed: 08/28/2018 CB
Updated: 08/28/2018 CB