Family and Medical Leave
Policy Number: HR-33
Effective Date: January 2017
Responsible Officer: President of Drexel University Online
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.
This policy applies to all eligible Professional Staff Members, who meet each of the following conditions:
- employed by Drexel for at least twelve months, either consecutive or non-consecutive.
- worked at least 1,250 hours of service during the twelve-month period prior to the start of Family Medical Leave.
Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Department of Human Resources.
The President of Drexel University Online is the Drexel University Online official responsible for the administration of this policy.
- 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).
- FMLA allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a rolling 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:
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."
- 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.
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.
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 individuals who are lawfully married under any state law, including individuals married to a person of the same sex who were legally married in a state that recognizes such marriages.
The Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) program is administered by Guardian.
Request for FMLA
- Eligible Professional Staff Members may apply for FMLA by calling Guardian at 1-888-889-2953.
- 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.
- When an eligible Professional Staff Members contacts Guardian to apply for FMLA, Guardian will request the necessary information, instruct the Professional Staff Member on follow-up and grant provisional approval (in writing) of the FMLA leave. Guardian will also send the medical certification form to the Professional Staff Member for completion by their health care provider.
- Once a medical certification is requested by Guardian, 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.
- If the FMLA request is approved, the Professional Staff Member must notify their immediate supervisor of their impending leave and the expected duration. However, the Professional Staff Members do not have 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 Guardian or a member of the Human Resources department.
- If FMLA 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.
- When medical certification is required, that certification must be provided within fifteen (15) calendar days of Guardian'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 Guardian within three (3) business days of learning of such a change.
- 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 may be required to provide medical certification that the Professional Staff Member is fit to return to work.
- Drexel University Online reserves the right to obtain a second opinion by a certified health care provider at any time and chosen by Drexel University Online. Should the two opinions conflict, Drexel University Online may require that the Professional Staff Member obtain the opinion of a third health care provider paid for by Drexel University Online. The third health care provider will be designated or approved jointly by Drexel University Online 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 delay of approval or denial of FMLA leave and/or revocation of currently approved FMLA leave.
Duration of FMLA Leave
- Eligible 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, 2009, the time period from September 30, 2009 back to October 1, 2008 would be examined. If the Professional Staff Members 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 2008 (months within the twelve-month time frame) they would be entitled to only six more weeks of leave.
- In certain circumstances, Professional Staff Members may take intermittent leave. Intermittent leave for the birth and care or placement and care of a child for adoption or foster care will be allowed only with Drexel's prior written approval. 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-rata 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).
- FMLA applies equally to male and female Professional Staff Members. Where both spouses are employed by Drexel University Online, 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.
- While an employee is on an approved FMLA, they are relieved of all work duties and are not required to perform any duties for the duration of their leave.
FMLA Expanded for Military Leave
- 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.
- 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
- When a Professional Staff Member takes FMLA leave because of their own serious medical condition, the Professional Staff Member is required to use all of their available paid time during the FMLA leave. The Professional Staff Member will be required to exhaust all available sick time (if applicable) and vacation time at the beginning of the leave. The Professional Staff Member may substitute short-term disability (if applicable) for vacation time. Should the Professional Staff Member exhaust his/her accrued sick and/or vacation time, the remainder of the leave, if any, will be unpaid.
- For Professional Staff Members who are eligible for short-term disability through Principal Life Insurance Company, they must notify Principal Life Insurance Company of their intention to activate their short-term disability benefit. Principal Life Insurance Company will determine if additional medical certification is necessary. If short-term disability is approved, the Professional Staff Member should notify the HR Consultant of the approval.
- Paid leave shall run concurrently with FMLA leave, meaning that paid leave used during FMLA leave will be counted toward the 12 weeks of FMLA leave. Professional Staff Members on paid leave are considered to be in an "active pay status". Accruals for sick and vacation time continue during an active pay status.
- Professional Staff Members who are not being paid by Drexel University Online (e.g., receiving short-term disability payments or have exhausted their paid leave) are considered to be in an "inactive pay status". Accruals for sick and vacation time cease during an inactive pay status.
Benefits During Leave
- During any FMLA leave, Drexel will maintain the Professional Staff Member's health insurance on the same conditions that coverage would have been provided if the Professional Staff Member had been continuously employed during the entire leave period. Drexel University Online and the Professional Staff Member will each continue to pay their portion of the benefit costs. Drexel University Online may recover premiums it paid to maintain health coverage for a Professional Staff Member who fails to return to work from FMLA leave.
- 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.
- A Professional Staff Member who was participating in a dependent-care or health-care reimbursement 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.
- Retirement plan contributions will continue in accordance with the provisions specified in the respective retirement plan documents.
- FMLA benefits run concurrently with benefits provided by Worker's Compensation.
Return from Leave
- 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. Failure to return to work will be considered voluntary termination of employment.
- When appropriate, Professional Staff Members returning from a leave for a serious health condition may be required to provide Human Resources with a certification from a health care provider documenting their fitness to return to work and are required to notify their immediate supervisor of their anticipated return 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.
- 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 University Online'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.