UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH PROCEDURE 07-07-02

CATEGORY:             PERSONNEL
SECTION:                  Employee Leave Benefits
SUBJECT:                 Leave Under the Family and Medical Leave Act for Staff
EFFECTIVE DATE:  March 20, 2013 Revised
PAGE(S):                  5

I.    PURPOSE

      To provide the steps for applying for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act,

      determining eligibility, and establishing FMLA recordkeeping guidelines for individual schools

      and departments.

II.   SCOPE

      This procedure applies to all staff employees on all campuses of the University.  It includes

      both intermittent leaves and block leaves for conditions defined by the Family and Medical

      Leave Act of 1993, as amended (the “Act”).  It does not apply to sick time or sick/family

      obligation time that does not meet the definition of serious health condition as defined by

      the Act.

III.  DEFINITIONS

      The following terms are defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

      Eligible employee includes all regular full- and part-time employees who have worked for

      the University for at least 12 months and have been employed for at least 1,250 hours of

      service during the preceding 12-month period.

      Rolling Year is a 12-month period measured backward from the date the staff member

      uses FMLA leave.  Each eligible staff member is entitled to a total of 12 weeks of FMLA

      leave per rolling year for family leave, medical leave, or up to 26 weeks per year during a

      single 12-month period for servicemember family leave.

      Family Leave is an unpaid leave granted for the birth, adoption, or care of a newborn child

      of the staff member or placement of a foster child with the staff member.

      Medical Leave is an unpaid leave granted to care for an immediate family member with a

      serious health condition or because the staff member's own serious health condition

      renders the staff member incapacitated from performing the functions of his or her job. 

      Medical leave may be used on an intermittent basis.

      Covered servicemember means a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of

      the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or

      therapy, is otherwise in out-patient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability

      retired list, for a serious injury or illness.  Covered servicemember can also include certain

      covered veterans.  The FMLA definitions of "serious injury or illness" for current

      servicemembers and veterans are distinct from the FMLA definition of "serious health

      condition."  For further details see: 

      http://hr.pitt.edu/sites/default/files/uploads/FMLA%20poster%202013.pdf.

 

      Serious health condition or illness refers to an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or

      mental condition that involves:

      -     a period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care (i.e., an overnight

            stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility);

      -     a period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three consecutive calendar days

            from work, school, or other regular daily activities that also involves two or more

            treatments by a health care provider or treatment by a health care provider on one

            occasion which results in a regimen of continuing treatment by or under the

            supervision of a health care provider;

      -     a period of incapacity due to pregnancy or prenatal care; or

      -     a period of incapacity or continuing treatment by or under the supervision of a health

            care provider for a chronic serious health condition, restorative surgery after an

            accident or other injury or for a long-term health condition that is incurable or so serious

            that, if untreated, would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three

            consecutive calendar days.

      Servicemember family leave is an unpaid leave granted during a single 12-month period

      to care for a covered servicemember if the staff member is the spouse, son, daughter,

      parent or next of kin to the covered servicemember.

      Immediate family members include parents, biological or adopted children, or spouse. 

      The term parent refers to a biological, foster or adoptive parent, a stepparent, or legal

      guardian.  For medical leave, the term child means a biological, adopted, or foster child, a

      stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is under age

      18 or age 18 or older and “incapable of self-care” as defined pursuant to FMLA regulations.

      Health Care Provider includes doctors of medicine or osteopathy, podiatrists, dentists,

      clinical psychologists, optometrists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives

      authorized to practice under state law; and Christian Science practitioners listed with the

      First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts.

      Equivalent position is a position having the same pay, benefits, working conditions, and

      substantially similar duties and responsibilities and entails substantially equivalent skill,

      effort, responsibility, and authority.

      Key employees are salaried employees who are among the highest paid ten percent of all

      University employees within 75 miles of the individual employee's worksite.  Position

      reinstatement rights may not be available to key employees in certain circumstances as

      defined by the Act.

IV.  ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITIES

      The Office of Human Resources is responsible for administering benefits under the Family

      and Medical Leave Act including, providing information, upon request, concerning staff

      member rights and responsibilities; determining eligibility; and processing the necessary

      paperwork to ensure continuation of benefits.  The Office of Human Resources has

      designated a third party provider to fulfill the administrative functions for leave under the

      Family and Medical Leave Act.

      School or Department Administrators are responsible for:

      -     Processing the necessary payroll action forms to initiate the paid or unpaid leave

      -     Maintaining all time records concerning family and medical leaves, paid and unpaid

      -     Ensuring that staff members comply with the requirement to initiate leave by contacting

            the University’s third party provider.

V.   PROCEDURE

      Applying for Unpaid Leave Under the Family and Medical Leave Act

      Staff Member                               1.    Notify the school or department of the need for FMLA

                                                                  leave at least 30 days in advance of the first day of

                                                                  the leave.

                                                                  a.   In cases in which the nature of the condition or

                                                                        illness makes the need for leave unforeseeable,

                                                                        notify the departmental administrator of need for

                                                                        leave as soon as practicable.

      School/Department                      2.   Consult with the Office of Human Resources if

                                                                  necessary to ascertain whether the requested leave

                                                                  meets the criteria for FMLA leave and to verify

                                                                  whether the staff member meets the definition of

                                                                  "eligible employee."  See Section III, Definitions.

                                                           3.   Direct the staff member to contact the University’s

                                                                 third party provider when a staff member has had a

                                                                 period of incapacity for more than three consecutive

                                                                 calendar days, or when the staff member has identified

                                                                 a need for leave.

      Staff Member                                4.   Contact the third party provider and complete the

                                                                  required certification or verification forms.

      Office of Human

      Resources through the

      third party provider                        5.   Determine whether the leave should be counted as

                                                                  approved FMLA leave.

                                                            6.   If the staff member is eligible and the requested leave

                                                                  meets the criteria for FMLA leave, provide the staff

                                                                  member with a FMLA rights package, which will

                                                                  include notification that the University may require

                                                                  the employee to provide a written fitness-for-duty

                                                                  certification signed by his or her health care

                                                                  provider prior to returning to work.

                                                             7.   Upon receipt of certification or verification, advise

                                                                   the staff member and the department whether the

                                                                   eligibility requirement and the criteria for a family or

                                                                   medical leave are met.

                                                             8.   If the reason for the requested time off meets the

                                                                   criteria for FMLA leave, notify the staff member that

                                                                   the time off will count toward the FMLA leave

                                                                   allowance based on the rolling year criterion defined

                                                                   in Section III.

                                                             9.   Advise the staff member that the University will

                                                                   continue medical insurance benefits, and provide

                                                                   information regarding maintenance of other benefits.

                                                                   (See Policy 07-07-02.)

                                                                   NOTE:  Medical benefits are continued on the same

                                                                   basis as the staff member enjoyed on active status

                                                                   and, where appropriate, the staff member will be

                                                                   invoiced by the University for his share of the health

                                                                   insurance premium.

                                                            10.  If the conditions for FMLA leave are not met, inform

                                                                   the staff member and the department of the reasons.

      Recordkeeping for Leave Under the Family and Medical Leave Act

      School/Department

      Administrator                                  1.   If the reason for the requested time off meets the

                                                                   criteria for family or medical leave, record the time

                                                                   off as FMLA leave on FORM 0099, Staff Time

                                                                   Record.

                                                              2.   For paid or unpaid leave, process the Employee

                                                                    Record (ER) to document the dates of the leave

                                                                    and deduct the time off from the staff member's

                                                                    FMLA allowance.

                                                                    a.   For continuous leaves, complete and process

                                                                          the staff member's Employee Record (ER) and

                                                                          submit to Compensation with a copy of the

                                                                          staff member’s time record.

                                                                    b.   For intermittent leaves an Employee Record

                                                                          (ER) should only be submitted if the employee

                                                                          does not have sufficient paid time off to cover

                                                                          the leave.  Note the days that need to be docked

                                                                          in the remarks section.  Review the monthly

                                                                          tracking form, which the staff member received

                                                                          from the third party provider, with the

                                                                          staff member to ensure accuracy, sign and

                                                                          return to the third party provider.

      Return to Work

      School/Department

      Administrator                                  1.     Prior to returning to work from an approved FMLA

                                                                     leave, an employee whose FMLA leave was

                                                                     occasioned by the employee’s own serious health

                                                                     condition may be required to provide a written

                                                                     fitness-for-duty certification signed by his or her

                                                                     health care provider, so long as this requirement is

                                                                     consistently applied to similarly situated employees.

                                                              2.    Upon return from a family or medical leave,

                                                                     reinstate the staff member to the former or

                                                                     equivalent position as defined by the Family and

                                                                     Medical Leave Act.  See Section III, Definitions. 

                                                                     If necessary to restore the staff member to active

                                                                     status, complete an Employee Record to change

                                                                     the assignment status to active and note the last

                                                                     day of paid/unpaid leave.  Notify the third party

                                                                     provider of the staff member’s return to work.

VI.  REFERENCES

      Policy 07-07-02, Leave Under the Family and Medical Leave Act for Staff

      www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/07/07-07-02.html

      Policy 07-04-01, Time Records/Attendance/Overtime and Compensatory Time

      www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/07/07-04-01.html