3.2.1 Family & Medical Leave

Policy Section: Leaves of Absence

Policy Number and Title: 3.2.1 Family & Medical Leave
Applicable to: All Regular Employees
Effective Date: July 1, 2012
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Leave for the Birth, Adoption or Placement for Foster Care of a Child

Leave to care for a newborn or a child who has been adopted or placed for approved foster care must be taken within the first year of birth, adoption or placement, and normally in one continuous period of up to 12 weeks. In those instances where both parents are employed by the University, they are each entitled to 12 weeks of leave.
Request for Leave
The employee must request the leave in writing at least 30 days prior to the start of the leave. Exception to the number of days notice required may be made in emergency situations (see: 3.2.2 Personal Leave).
 
An employee may request an extension of the family leave with a Personal Leave for a total leave period not to exceed one year. However, the guarantee of return to the same or equivalent position applies only to the first 12 weeks of family leave. 
Disability Leave
Under the New Jersey Family Leave Act family leave is separate from, and in addition to, any disability leave provided for pregnancy. 
Reduced Schedules
Although the law does not require it, there may be circumstances where intermittent or reduced leave is better for both the operation of the department and the employee. This type of leave must be scheduled within a 24 consecutive week period unless otherwise agreed upon by the supervisor and the employee.
 
Questions on intermittent or reduced schedules should be reviewed in advance with the Office of Human Resources.

Leave for the Care of a Family Member with a Serious Health Condition

Employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a consecutive 12-month period to care for a covered family member with a serious health condition. Where medically necessary, intermittent and/or reduced leave is permitted. However, if leave is required on this basis, the University may require the employee to transfer temporarily to an equivalent alternative position that better accommodates recurring periods of absence or a part – time schedule. 
Request for Leave
Employees must submit a written request for leave for the care of a covered family member with a serious health condition at least 15 days prior to the start of the leave. If the leave is required because of a medical emergency or unforeseeable event, an employee should provide notice as soon as practicable under the circumstances, usually within one or two business days.
 
If the leave was anticipated and the employee does not provide 30 days' notice or a good reason for the lack of notice, the supervisor may delay the leave until 30 days after the date the employee provides notice of the need for leave. 
Medical Certification
A request for leave to care for a covered family member must be accompanied by a medical certification statement completed by the attending health care provider that states that care for a covered family member is necessary.
 
The certification must include the date the health condition began, the appropriate medical facts regarding the condition and the estimated amount of time the employee will be needed. A medical certification statement is required within 30 days after the request for leave of absence.
 
Employees will be required to report periodically to their supervisor, usually in writing approximately every 30 days, on their status and intention to return to work.
 
On occasion, managers may need to contact an employee on a family and medical leave to request information about work that the employee is responsible for. Managers should keep these requests to a minimum.

Leave for the Serious Health Condition of an Employee

Employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a consecutive 12-month period. Intermittent and/or reduced leave is permitted. However, if leave is required on this basis, the University may require the employee to transfer temporarily to an equivalent alternative position that better accommodates recurring periods of absence or a part-time schedule. 
Request for Leave
When leave is foreseeable, employees are expected to consult with their supervisor prior to the scheduling of medical treatment in order to work out a schedule that best suits the needs of the employee and the department. If the supervisor has a legitimate business related reason, the employee may be required to reschedule treatment subject to the approval of the health care provider.
 
An employee who is unable to work because of a serious health condition must follow current University procedures for notification and certification of the health condition as defined by the appropriate disability program.
 
Employees will be required to report periodically to their supervisor, usually in writing approximately every 30 days, on their status and intention to return to work.
On occasion, managers may need to contact an employee on a family and medical leave to request information about work for which the employee is responsible. Managers should keep requests to a minimum. 
Short Term Disability & Workers’ Compensation Leave
With the exception of disabilities arising from pregnancy (see section A of this policy), the first 12 weeks of leave taken because of the illness or injury of the employee and which qualifies as Short term Disability or Workers' Compensation Leave is charged concurrently to Family and Medical Leave. Exceptions to the concurrent charging of Family and Medical
Leave and Short Term Disability or Workers' Compensation Leave may be made based on special circumstances. Supervisors should confer with the Office of Human Resources before granting an exception. The employee must be informed in advance that the Short Term Disability or Workers' Compensation Leave is also being charged to Family Leave.
 
Note: Under the federal (FMLA) and New Jersey (FLA) family leave statutes, an employee who uses 12 weeks leave for his or her own disability is eligible for up to an additional 12 weeks leave for conditions covered by the FLA, if such conditions occur within the same one-year period. If the employee's illness occurs after the employee has exhausted leave under both the FMLA and FLA, then the employee is not eligible for additional family leave for a personal disability within the one-year period.

Use of Unused Personal Days or Accrued Vacation & Sick Days during Family Leave

Employees may, with supervisory approval, elect to apply unused personal days or unused vacation and, as appropriate, unused sick days, to cover some or all of the unpaid leave. In all cases, leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act must be designated before the leave begins (see 3.1.6 Sick Days for definition).
 
Employees may, with supervisory approval, elect to be paid for unused accrued vacation time to offset the unpaid family leave. If an employee does not take accumulated vacation as pay during the family leave, it is available for use after return from leave with the permission of the supervisor. With the exception of medical leave which is concurrent with short-term disability or workers' compensation, no additional vacation time is accrued while the employee is on family leave.
 
Note: If the employee has taken an intermittent or reduced schedule leave, vacation and sick leave earned are prorated on the basis of the employee's regular work schedule.
Notice of Intent to Return
Notice of intent to return from family and medical leave should be given to the supervisor in writing at least two weeks in advance of the expected date of return. If an employee wishes to return prior to the expiration of a family or medical leave of absence, notification should be given to the supervisor at least five calendar days prior to the employee's planned return. Under extenuating circumstances, notice may be waived by the supervisor.

Procedures

Request for Family Leave

Employee
Requests leave in writing from the supervisor at least 30 days prior to the leave for the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, or 15 days prior to the leave for the care of a covered family member with a serious health condition or for leave to cover the employee's illness. Exception to the number of days required for notice can be made for emergency situations.
Supervisor
Reviews written request with employee and clarifies any issues surrounding the request, e.g., approximate duration of the leave, use of vacation pay, availability of benefits, personal leave option, etc. Forwards copy of the form to the Office of Human Resources for approval.
Requests medical certification for care of immediate family member with a serious health condition or employee if appropriate.
 
Responds to employee request verbally within two days outlining the terms of the leave; written confirmation of the terms of the leave must be given to the employee no later than before the next regular payday.
 
In all circumstances, it is the University's responsibility to determine, based on information provided by the employee, if a leave, paid or unpaid, meets the qualifications as defined under the law.

If accrued vacation time, compelling reason or optional holidays are not used for Family Leave:

Supervisor
 
Completes Leave of Absence Form or employee indicating Leave of Absence without pay.
 
Attaches copy of supervisor's memo to employee outlining terms of leave and forwards with Leave of Absence Form to the Office of Human Resources. 
Employee
Advises Benefits Section of leave without pay and arranges for payment of any additional insurance premiums.

If Accrued Vacation Time Is Used for Family Leave:

Supervisor
If necessary to deduct time from nonexempt employees, enter time accordingly in the Time Collection System.
 
Employee
Advises Benefits Team in advance of date when vacation pay expires and arranges for payment of any additional insurance premiums.

At the End of Family Leave:

Employee
Notifies supervisor in writing of intent to return to work at least two weeks in advance of return date.
Supervisor
Completes Leave of Absence Form returning employee from leave and forwards to the Office of Human Resources. 
Personal Leave follows expiration of Family Leave (see Leaves Without Pay/Personal Leave).
 
Circumstances not covered by this policy (see Leaves Without Pay/Personal Leave).

Related Documents

Other Policies
 
 
 

Contacts

Office of Human Resources
(609) 258-3300

Last revised May 3, 2004.

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