Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is an unpaid leave which provides job protection and insurance premium sharing for eligible employees for serious medical conditions. For more information, please see the university's Handbook of Operating Procedures.
Family Medical Leave provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, or 26 weeks for military caregiver leave, while restoring you to the same or equivalent position and continuing your premium sharing. In order to receive FMLA, you must be employed for at least 12 months by the State of Texas. You must also have worked at least 1,250 hours during the year before the beginning of your leave.
To use Family Medical Leave you must meet one of the following conditions:
- A serious health condition
- The birth and care of your child or a child for whom you stand in loco parentis (provide day to day responsibilities to care for or financially support a child)
- Adopting a child or having a certified foster child placed in your care or a child for whom you stand in loco parentis (provide day to day responsibilities to care for or financially support a child)
- Care of your spouse*, child, (including biological, adopted, foster, and step-children and legal wards or children for whom you stand in loco parentis) or parent who has a serious health condition.
- "Qualifying exigency" due to the fact that your spouse*, son, daughter (including biological, adopted, foster, and step-children and legal wards or children for whom you stand in loco parentis), or parent is on military active duty or has been notified of an impending call to military active duty.
- "Military caregiver leave"-care of your spouse*, son, daughter, (including biological, adopted, foster, and step-children and legal wards or children for whom you stand in loco parentis), parent or next of kin who is a covered military service member who's recovering from serious illness or injury sustained during active duty.
*For coverage under FMLA for a spouse, a copy of the marriage certificate or declaration of informal marriage will be required.
You may use up to a total of 12 weeks (or 480 hours) of FMLA during a 12-month period, intermittently or consecutively, excluding weekends. The 12-week period begins on the date that the employee's Family and Medical Leave begins. For Military Caregiver Leave, the maximum award of time is up to 26 weeks within a single 12-month period.
You may use up to 12 weeks, or 26 weeks for military related FMLA a year depending on the situation and the documentation you provide. To begin using the leave, you or your department must contact the HRS- Leave Management office immediately whenever the possible need for this leave exists. You will receive a packet in the mail at your home address. You will need to turn in the Employee Request for Family and Medical Leave (Online) and one of the forms from the list below indicating the reason you are needing the leave:
- FMLA Certification of Healthcare Provider - Employee (PDF)
- FMLA Certification of Healthcare Provider - Care for Family Member (PDF)
- FMLA Certification for Qualifying Exigency Leave (PDF)
- FMLA Certification for Military Family Leave (PDF)
You then have 15 calendar days to return it to the HRS- Leave Management office. If you do not submit completed documents by the deadline, your FMLA request is subject to denial. If denied, you will be notified denied in writing and your department will also be notified. If you submit incomplete documents within the 15 days, HRS- Leave Management will notify you in writing why the documentation is insufficient and you will have seven days to correct it. If you do not correct it within seven days, your request will be denied in writing and your department will be notified.
If you are approved for intermittent FMLA, you and your department will be notified of the schedule of absences your doctor licensed healthcare provider has certified, for example, four hours a day once a week. If you are absent more than your certification allows, your department will notify HRS- Leave Management and we will contact you to obtain an updated certification from your licensed healthcare provider.
Employees on intermittent FMLA are required to work with their supervisors to schedule absences at times when it is least disruptive to the office whenever possible. This includes providing up to 30 days notice of the need for leave when foreseeable. If the need for leave is not foreseeable, then you are required to follow your department’s call in procedure to notify them of your need to be absent. If unable to provide notice following the call in procedure due to medical necessity, you are required to notify them as soon as practicable but no later than two days after the absence begins. Please note, calling HRS-Leave Management does not constitute notice to your department.
In order to return from continuous FMLA for your own serious health condition, you must provide a written return to work release to your supervisor. If you do not provide this, your department will send you home and you will remain on leave until you obtain it. If your return to work release includes work limitations or restrictions, you must provide it to your supervisor in advance of your return. Medically related work limitations or restrictions will be reviewed, in advance of your return to work, with Human Resources. If appropriate, HR will also involve the ADA Coordinator in the review. If your department, in consultation with HR and the ADA Coordinator, determines that they cannot adjust your work duties or provide a reasonable accommodation, you will be notified by your supervisor, or, when appropriate, the ADA Coordinator, and you must remain on leave for the duration of your limitations or until your FMLA exhausts, whichever is earliest. When you return from FMLA, you or your department must tell HRS-Leave Management you have returned so any unused hours can be returned.
While you are on leave for FMLA, all accrued and available paid time off must run concurrently. This includes sick, vacation, floating holidays, federal compensatory time (overtime) and state compensatory time off. If you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you may elect, but are not required to use, your paid time off accruals. However, once you make this election, you must exhaust all accrued and available paid time off before being eligible for lost wages from workers’ compensation insurance.
An employee's incapacity due to pregnancy, for purposes of using sick time off, means inability to perform duties caused or contributed to pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, childbirth or recovery. The employee seeking to use sick time off to cover the impairment incapacity must provide a licensed practitioner's certification that the incapacity causes the employee to be unable to work. Sick time off may not be used in conjunction with Parental Leave or Family and Medical Leave once an employee has recovered from the temporary incapacity related to pregnancy. Usually, what this means is that you may use sick time off after the birth of a baby for up to six weeks for vaginal delivery or up to eight weeks for cesarean delivery. If you have serious complications, then sick time off may be used for the time period to recover from the incapacity.
Once accrued and available paid time off is exhausted, you will be placed on Leave Without Pay for the remainder of the 12 or 26 weeks of FMLA. The university will pay your individual premium sharing while you are on FMLA. Premium sharing is the amount of money that the university and the state contribute to your individual insurance coverage. However, you will be responsible for paying the additional insurance costs that you normally have deducted from your paychecks (i.e., dependent coverage, long-term disability insurance, etc.).
UT Austin has responsibilities in complying with FMLA. A manager or HR Contact should inform HR-Leave Management when any of the following occurs:
- The manager is informed by an employee that he/she needs FMLA;
- An employee has been out three or more consecutive days;
- An employee shares that they have a chronic condition requiring repeated absences;
- An employee is pregnant or has a spouse who is pregnant, or will have in loco parentis responsibility due to pregnancy;
- An employee is adopting a child or will have in loco parentis responsibility due to an adoption;
- An employee's spouse, parent, or child (including biological, adopted, foster, and step-children and legal wards or children for whom you stand in loco parentis) has a serious health condition requiring repeated employee absences;
- An employee’s spouse, son, daughter (including biological, adopted, foster, and step-children and legal wards or children for whom you stand in loco parentis), or parent is on military active duty or has been notified of an impending call to military active duty and needs time off to make arrangements (“Qualifying exigency”);
- An employee is the spouse, son, daughter, (including biological, adopted, foster, and step-children and legal wards or children for whom you stand in loco parentis), parent or next of kin of a covered military service member who is recovering from serious illness or injury sustained during active duty.
When you notify HR-Leave Management (Request to Send FMLA Information to an Employee (For Department Use Only - online form), they will send a packet of forms and FMLA Rights and Responsibilities Notice to the employee’s home address. HR-Leave Management will receive the confidential information directly and determine whether it is FMLA qualifying. If you receive FMLA forms in your office, please do not read them and just forward the originals directly to HR-Leave Management for processing; these forms should not be put in the personnel file. Once FMLA is awarded, both you and the employee will receive a notice informing you of the dates of FMLA coverage.