5.5 Family Medical Leave

The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave to “eligible” employees for certain family and medical reasons, or 26 weeks of unpaid leave to “eligible” employees for service member family leave in a twelve-month period. See below. Although FMLA leave is unpaid, employees may be eligible for pay during an FMLA leave pursuant to other College policies, applicable law, and/or applicable insurance plans or programs. For additional information, employees should review the leave of absence policies in this Manual, or they may contact Human Resources.

To be eligible for an FMLA leave you must have worked for the College for at least 12 months, and for at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months.

The leave must be taken for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Birth of a son or daughter and to care for the newborn child;
  • Placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care and care for the child after placement;
  • To care for a covered family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition;
  • The employee’s own serious health condition which makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his/her position; or
  • The following reasons related to military service:
    • While the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation (an action or operation against an opposing military force) for the following reasons:
    1. Short-notice deployment (seven or less calendar days);
    2. Military events and related activities;
    3. Childcare and school activities;
    4. Financial and legal arrangements (i.e. preparing powers of attorney, obtaining military identification cards, preparing or updating a will or trust);
    5. Counseling (provided that the need for counseling arises from the active duty or call to active duty status of a covered military member);
    6. Rest and recuperation(up to five days of leave to spend time with a covered military member who is on temporary leave during the period of deployment);
    7. Post-deployment activities; and
    8. To address other similar events, as may be agreed upon between the employee and the College; or
      Service Member Leave, as described below.

5.5.1 Service Member Family Leave

Service Member Family Leave is available to care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter parent or next of kin (nearest blood relative) who has incurred serious illness or injury in the line of duty in the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, and that illness or injury has rendered the service member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank or rating.

5.5.2 Notes Regarding Limitations on Certain Leaves

Leave because of birth or adoption must be completed within a 12-month period beginning on the date at birth or placement.

Spouses and/or registered domestic partners employed by the College of Mount Saint Vincent who request a leave because of birth or adoption are eligible for a combined total of 12 weeks of leave. In addition, if both spouses are employed by the College, and are eligible for service member leave, the two may take a combined total of 26 weeks to care for a particular service member.

5.5.3 Intermittent and Reduced Schedule Leave 

If medically necessary, leave may be taken intermittently (in separate blocks of time due to a single health condition) or on a reduced leave schedule (by reducing the usual number of hours one works per week or day). If leave is unpaid, the College will reduce the salary to reflect the amount of time actually worked. While an employee is on an intermittent or reduced schedule leave, the College may temporarily transfer the employee to an available alternative position which better accommodates the recurring leave and which has equivalent pay and benefits.

5.5.4 Length of FMLA Leave (Other Than Service Member Family Leave) 

An eligible employee is entitled to up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for FMLA qualifying reason(s), except for service member family leave as described below. The 12-month period in which leave can be used begins the first date FMLA leave is taken, subject to the other limitations described herein. An employee’s eligibility for subsequent leave is determined on a “rolling” basis, measured backward from the date an employee seeks to use subsequent FMLA leave. The maximum length of any leave will be the difference between 12 weeks and the total amount of FMLA leave taken by the employee during the preceding 12 months.

5.5.5 Length of Service Member Family Leave 

An eligible employee is entitled to a combined total of 26 work weeks of unpaid leave within a single 12-month period for service member family leave. Leave to care for an injured or ill service member, whether or not combined with other FMLA-qualifying leave, may not exceed 26 weeks in a single 12-month period. The amount of leave available to an employee will be calculated by looking backward at the amount of leave taken within the 12-month period immediately preceding the first day of leave (and not on a “rolling” basis as described above).

5.5.6 Extended Leave for One’s Own Serious Health Condition

Leave taken because of one’s own serious health condition may be extended on a month-to month basis upon:

  1. written request to the College of Mount Saint Vincent;
  2. presentation of medical documentation that the serious health condition has continued; and
  3. approval by the appropriate Senior Administrator.

If one does not return to work on the originally scheduled return date or request in advance an extension of the leave, the employee will have voluntarily terminated employment with the College. If one requests an extension of leave beyond the initial approved period, one must submit medical certification of the continued serious health condition in advance for each month that the leave is extended. Reinstatement is not guaranteed on an extended leave and will depend on the College’s needs. In cases of extended leave, while employment may not be guaranteed, the employee may be entitled to disability payments in accordance with our Disability Insurance and/or Worker’s Compensation Plans.

5.5.7 Notice of Leave

Unless it is not possible to do so, an employee must provide written notification to his/her supervisor and the Office of Human Resources at least 30 days before leave commences. The notification must contain the reason for the leave, its anticipated length, and, if applicable, medical certification from the treating health care provider. The College may, at its own expense, request a second opinion (or subsequent re-certification) by a health care provider of its own designation. If the opinions of the two health care providers conflict, the College may ask for a third and final examination at its own expense. Furthermore, the College of Mount Saint Vincent may require subsequent medical re-certification on a reasonable basis.

5.5.8 Reporting While on Leave 

During family and/or medical leave, the employee may be required to contact the Office of Human Resources on a regular basis. This is necessary in order to inform the College of the status of the leave and the anticipated return to work.

5.5.9 Compensation and Benefits During the Leave

During the FMLA leave the employee may be eligible for short term disability, worker’s compensation benefits, or paid family leave benefits. All leaves of absence, including but not limited to short term disability, workers’ compensation, paid family leave, and any other applicable College paid leaves of absence will run concurrently with any FMLA leave. For more information regarding College paid leaves of absence, disability, worker’s compensation, or paid family leave, contact the Office of Human Resources.

If an employee requests a leave under this policy, prior to taking any portion of the leave as an unpaid leave of absence, he/she is required to use any accrued paid time off, including, vacation, personal days (for staff), and sick days. Accrued paid time may substitute but may not be used to lengthen the leave beyond the approved leave period. During the leave (except days the employee is using sick, vacation, or personal days) the employee does not accrue vacation, sick, or personal days, although if a College holiday falls during a paid sick leave, the employee will be eligible for the paid holiday. If a holiday falls during an unpaid portion of a leave, the employee will not be paid for the holiday.

During the leave period the College will continue health benefits as if the employee were actively employed. If the employee is presently contributing towards his/her health benefits, he/she must continue to do so. Premium payments will be collected by the Office of Human Resources. Health care coverage will cease if the premium payment is more than 30 days late. Should the employee not return to work at the end of the leave, he/she will be required to reimburse the College for the cost of the premiums paid to maintain the coverage. This requirement will be waived, however, if the employee cannot return to work due to a continuation of the serious health condition.

5.5.10 Returning from Leave

Prior to returning to work from a leave due to one’s own serious health condition, the employee may be required to provide the Office of Human Resources with a medical certification that he/she is able to return to work. This certification should be submitted at least a week before the anticipated return date.

5.5.11 Exemption for Highly Compensated Employees and Changed Circumstances

Eligible employees are entitled on return from leave to be reinstated to their former position or an equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. Exceptions to this provision may apply if business circumstances have changed (e.g., if the employee’s position is no longer available due to a job elimination). Exceptions may also apply for certain highly compensated employees under certain conditions. The College of Mount Saint Vincent will notify an employee if he/she qualifies as a highly compensated employee.

At the back of this Manual is information pertaining to the specific employment practices of the College’s Administrators. For additional information regarding medical and disability leaves of absence, Administrators should refer to that section.

Approved December 14, 2017