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Family and Medical Leave

Policy Number: HR-33
Effective Date: January 2017
Last Revision: May 2020
Responsible Officer: Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer
Administering Division: Human Resources

PURPOSE
This policy identifies the conditions when an eligible Professional Staff Member may take time off under the Federal Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and includes the application, certification and approval processes.

APPLICABILITY
This policy applies to all eligible Professional Staff Members, including Professional Staff Members affiliated with a collective bargaining unit and who meet each of the following conditions:

  1. employed by Drexel for at least twelve months, either consecutive or non-consecutive.
  2. has worked at least 1,250 hours (60% FTE) during the twelve-month period prior to the start of Family Medical Leave.

IMPLEMENTATION
Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Department of Human Resources in conjunction with the Designated Third-Party Administrator.

ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT
The Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer is the Drexel University official responsible for the administration of this policy.

POLICY

Act Provisions/Compliance

  1. Drexel University Online complies fully with the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide its Professional Staff Members up to 12 weeks of leave in a rolling 12-month period, for their own or a family member's serious or chronic medical condition(s).
  2. FMLA allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a rolling 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:
    • a Professional Staff Member's own chronic health condition, including disability due to pregnancy and/or post-partum;
    • the birth and care of a Professional Staff Member's newborn child;
    • the placement of an adopted son or daughter or a foster child with a Professional Staff Member (leave must conclude within 12 months after placement);
    • the care of a Professional Staff Member's immediate family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition;
    • a Professional Staff Member's own serious health condition that makes him or her unable to work.
  3. Drexel University Online also offers up to 26 weeks of leave to Professional Staff Members who provide care to wounded U.S. military personnel and 12 weeks of FMLA leave to the immediate family members of soldiers, reservists and members of the National Guard who have a "qualifying exigency."

DEFINITIONS

Benefit eligible refers to full-time or part-time Drexel University Online Professional Staff Members who are eligible to receive Drexel University Online paid benefits (e.g. medical coverage, leave accrual, etc.). Full-time Professional Staff Members are regularly scheduled to work 40 hours per week and part-time Professional Staff Members are regularly scheduled to work 20 hours per week but less than 40.

Third-Party Administrator is the Drexel University Online-chosen provider for FMLA Leave administration.

Health-care Provider is defined as a doctor, dentist, optometrist, psychologist, nurse practitioner, chiropractor or a licensed social worker.

Intermittent Leave is defined as any portion of a day that a Professional Staff Member must take off for a chronic condition. The FMLA allows Professional Staff Members to take leave for as little as one hour.

Professional Staff Member is defined as an individual employed in any non-faculty category by Drexel University Online, including an individual who is deemed to be either exempt or non-exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.

Qualifying Exigency is defined as one or more of the following:

  • short notice (seven days or less) of deployment, military events and related activities;
  • childcare, school activities, financial and legal arrangements, counseling, rest and recuperation, post-deployment activities; or
  • any other events which arise out of the covered military member's active duty or call to active duty status that the employer and Professional Staff Member have agreed upon.

Serious Health Condition is defined as an illness, injury or impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care or continuing care by a health-care provider. Continuing care can include:

  • a period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three calendar days that involves continuing treatment by a health-care provider;
  • Pregnancy and time needed for prenatal visits;
  • a chronic health condition, such as asthma or diabetes;
  • a long-term condition such as Alzheimer's; or
  • multiple treatments by a health-care provider for a condition that likely would result in incapacity of more than three consecutive days if left untreated (such as physical therapy for a back injury).

Spouse refers to any individual who is lawfully married to an employee.

PROCEDURES

Administration
Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) program is administered by the Office of Human Resources in conjunction with the Designated Third-Party Administrator.

Request for FMLA

  1. Eligible Professional Staff Members may apply for FMLA by following the guidelines provided on the Human Resources site: Leave of Absence.
  2. Professional Staff Members seeking FMLA leave are required to provide at least 30 days prior written notice of the proposed leave. When advance notice is not possible, such as in the event of a medical emergency, notice should be provided as soon as practicable. Failure to provide advance notice where foreseeable may delay or postpone the commencement of the leave.
  3. When an eligible Professional Staff Member contacts the Designated Third-Party Administrator to apply for FMLA, the Designated Third-Party Administrator will request the necessary information, instruct the Professional Staff Member on follow-up and grant provisional approval (in writing) of the FMLA leave. The Designated Third-Party Administrator will also send the medical certification form to the Professional Staff Member for completion by their health care provider.
  4. Once a medical certification is requested by the Designated Third-Party Administrator, the Professional Staff Member must provide it within 15 business days. Failure to provide requested medical certification will result in denial of the request. Denied requests cannot be reopened for the same condition.

Employee Notices

  1. If the FMLA request is approved, the Professional Staff Member must notify his or her immediate supervisor of the impending leave and the expected duration. However, the Professional Staff Member is not required to reveal or discuss the details of the medical condition. It is recommended that Professional Staff Members only discuss medical details with the professionals at the Designated Third-Party Administrator or a member of the Human Resources department.

Certifications

  1. If leave is based on a serious health condition, whether it involves the Professional Staff Member or an immediate family member (parent, spouse or child), medical certification from a health care provider will be required. Failure to provide such certification may result in a delay of the Professional Staff Member's leave.
  2. When medical certification is required, that certification must be provided within fifteen (15) calendar days of the Designated Third-Party Administrator's request. Drexel reserves the right to require recertification of a medical condition every 30 days. When a Professional Staff Member learns of a change in the anticipated length of an approved FMLA leave, the Professional Staff Member must notify the Designated Third-Party Administrator within three (3) business days of learning of such a change.
  3. Drexel reserves the right to obtain a second opinion by a certified health care provider at any time and chosen by Drexel. Should the two opinions conflict, Drexel may require that the Professional Staff Member obtain the opinion of a third health care provider paid for by Drexel. The third health care provider will be designated or approved jointly by Drexel and the Professional Staff Member. The decision of the third provider will be final. Failure to submit to a request for a second opinion or to attend the independent medical examination may result in a delay of approval or denial of FMLA leave and/or revocation of currently approved FMLA leave.
  4. In addition, when returning to work from a leave taken because of the Professional Staff Member's own serious health condition, the Professional Staff Member will be required to provide medical clearance that the Professional Staff Member is fit to return to work.

Duration of FMLA Leave

  1. Eligible Faculty and Professional Staff Members may be entitled to up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave during any rolling 12-month period. The period from the previous twelve months will be examined and any Family and Medical Leave taken during the previous twelve-month period will be subtracted from the current twelve-week Family and Medical Leave entitlement. For example, if the Professional Staff Member requests a leave scheduled to start on October 1, 2020 the time period from September 30, 2020 back to October 1, 2019 would be examined. If the Professional Staff Member has not taken any leave during the last twelve months, they are entitled to up to twelve weeks of FMLA leave. If, the Professional Staff Member took six weeks of FMLA leave during May and June of 2020 (months within the twelve- month time frame) they would be entitled to only six more weeks of leave.
  2. In certain circumstances, Professional Staff Members may take intermittent leave. Intermittent leave may be taken whenever medically necessary to care for a seriously ill family member or because of the Professional Staff Member's own serious health condition. For example, a Professional Staff Member who normally works 40 hours a week may work 20 hours a week for 24 weeks (12 x 40 = 24 x 20). For part-time Professional Staff Members and those who work variable hours, the leave entitlement is calculated on a pro-rated basis. For example, a Professional Staff Member who normally works 30 hours a week could work intermittently for 20 hours a week for 18 weeks (30 x 12 = 20 x 18).
  3. FMLA applies equally to all Professional Staff Members regardless of gender. When both spouses are employed by Drexel, they have the same rights and obligations under this policy as any other eligible Professional Staff Members. Each spouse is entitled to 12 weeks of FMLA leave for the birth and care of their newborn child, or for the care and placement with them of a child for adoption or foster care. Leave for the birth and care, or placement and care of a child must conclude within 12 months of the birth or placement of the child.
  4. While employees are on an approved FMLA leave, they are relieved of all work duties and are not required to perform any duties for the duration of their leave. There will be no punitive action taken against a Professional Staff member as a result of time taken under FMLA.

FMLA Expanded for Military Leave

  1. Eligible Professional Staff Members who are caregivers of wounded military personnel may take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave during a rolling 12-month period to provide care for an injured U.S. military service member. The Professional Staff Member must be a spouse, child, parent, or nearest blood relative of the service member.
  2. Professional Staff Members whose family members are about to go on active military duty may be eligible to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for any qualifying exigency while the Professional Staff Member's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on active duty in the armed services or is called to active duty in support of a war or national emergency.

Compensation for Professional Staff Members when using Paid Leave

  1. When a Professional Staff Member takes FMLA leave, they are required to use all of their available paid time during the FMLA leave before going into an unpaid status. The Professional Staff Member will be required to exhaust all available paid time in the following order: sick time, then vacation time, then personal time, at the beginning of the leave.
  2. Professional Staff Members who have elected short-term disability will use their available sick, vacation and/or personal time to satisfy their elimination period in accordance with their short-term disability election. Should the Professional Staff Member exhaust their accrued sick and/or vacation time, and there is no short-term disability election, the remainder of the leave, if any, will be unpaid.
  3. Paid leave will run concurrently with FMLA time.
  4. Professional Staff Members who remain on Drexel University Online's payroll while using their available sick, vacation and/or personal time will be considered active pay status and will continue to accrue sick and vacation time.
  5. Professional Staff Members who are not being paid by Drexel University Online (e.g., receiving short-term disability payments from the Designated Third-Party Administrator, or have exhausted their paid leave) are considered to be in an “inactive pay status,” and accruals for sick and vacation time will cease.

Benefits During Leave

  1. During any FMLA leave, Drexel will maintain the Faculty or Professional Staff Member's health insurance with the same conditions that coverage would have been provided if the Faculty or Professional Staff Member had been continuously employed during the entire leave period. Drexel and the Faculty or Professional Staff Member will each continue to pay their portion of the benefit costs. Drexel may recover premiums from the Faculty or Professional Staff Member it paid to maintain health coverage for a Professional Staff Member who fails to return to work from FMLA leave.
  2. Drexel University Online-paid life insurance, and personal accident insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, and long-term disability insurance will continue in effect for the duration of FMLA leave.
  3. A Professional Staff Member who was participating in a dependent-care or health-care flexible spending account may continue to participate in accordance with policy provisions. No contributions can be made while the Professional Staff Member is on any unpaid part of an FMLA Leave.
  4. Retirement plan contributions will continue in accordance with the provisions specified in the respective retirement plan documents.
  5. FMLA benefits run concurrently with benefits provided by Worker's Compensation.

Return from Leave

  1. Professional Staff Members are required to notify their immediate supervisor and Designated Third- Party Administrator of their anticipated return to work date. Professional Staff Members who are unable to return to work at the end of the leave should notify Human Resources and their immediate supervisor as soon as possible.
  2. Professional Staff Members returning from leave will be reinstated to the same or equivalent position, with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. Following the exhaustion of the 12 weeks of FMLA Leave, failure to return to work without communication from the Professional Staff Member to their immediate supervisor and Designated Third-Party Administrator may be considered voluntary termination of employment.
  3. Professional Staff Members returning from a leave for a serious health condition will be required to provide a medical clearance from a health care provider documenting their fitness to return to work.
  4. In addition, except as provided in this policy, a Professional Staff Member’s use of FMLA leave will not result in the loss of any employment benefit that the Professional Staff Member earned before using FMLA leave. Use of FMLA leave will not be counted against the Professional Staff Member as an “occurrence” under Drexel’s Attendance Policy.

AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT NOT AFFECTED

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary stated in this policy, nothing herein is intended to alter the at-will status of any Professional Staff Member. Drexel University Online at all times retains the right to terminate any Professional Staff Member at any time for any lawful reason, or for no reason at all.