Basic Leave Entitlement
FMLA is a federal law that provides eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job protected leave within a 12 month period. Conservation International (CI) provides up to 16 weeks of FMLA leave within a 12 month period. CI uses a "rolling" method to measure available FMLA leave. Available leave will be measured backward for a 12 month period from the date requested as FMLA leave. Eligible employees may take FMLA leave for the following reasons:
- For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth;
- To care for the employee's child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care;
- To care for the employee's spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or
- For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee's job.
Benefits and Protections
During FMLA leave, CI will maintain the employee's group coverage for the duration of the employee's absence. The employee will continue to be responsible each pay period for any authorized payroll deductions. If an employee does not return to work after the full FMLA leave is used, the employee is responsible for the total payment for all insurance costs CI has paid during the unpaid absence. No paid leave will accumulate during any pay period in which an employee is on Leave Without Pay. Upon returning from FMLA leave, most employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms.
The use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an employee's leave.
Eligible U.S. employees have worked for at least one year and have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months.
Definition of a Serious Health Condition
A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employer's job, or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities.
Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regimen of continuing treatment or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.
Use of Leave
An employee does not need to use this leave entitlement in one block. Leave can be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary. Employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule leave for planned medical treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer's operations. Leave due to qualifying exigencies may also be taken on an intermittent basis.
Substitution of Paid Leave for Unpaid Leave
To comply with CI's normal paid leave policies, paid leave will be substituted for unpaid leave if the employee has earned or accrued the leave.
Employees must provide 30 days advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when the need is foreseeable. When 30 days notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable and generally must comply with CI's normal call-in procedures.
Employees must provide sufficient information for the employer to determine if they leave may qualify for FMLA protection and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave. Sufficient information may include that the employee is unable to perform job functions, the family member is unable to perform daily activities, the need for hospitalization or continuing treatment by a heal care provider, or circumstances supporting the need for military family leave. Employees also must inform the employer if the requested leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave was previously taken or certified. Employees also may be required to provide a certification and periodic recertification supporting the need for leave.
CI will inform the employees requesting leave whether they are eligible under FMLA. If they are, the notice will specify any additional information required as well as the employees' rights and responsibilities. If they are not eligible, CI will provide a reason for the ineligibility. CI will inform employees if leave will be designated as FMLA-protected and the amount of leave counted against the employee's leave entitlement. If the employer determines that the leave is not FMLA-protected, CI will notify the employee.
Military Family Leave Entitlements
Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent on active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation may use their 12-week entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies. Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings.
FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered servicemember during a single 12-month period. A covered servicemember is a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform his or her duties for which the servicemember is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.
Unlawful Acts by Employers
FMLA makes it unlawful for any employer to:
- Interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under FMLA;
- Discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by FMLA or for involvement in any proceeding under or relating to FMLA.
An employee may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or may bring a private lawsuit against an employer.
FMLA does not affect any Federal or State law prohibiting discrimination, or supersede any State or local law or collective bargaining agreement which provides greater family or medical leave rights.
The Employee Rights and Responsibilities under the Family and Medical Leave Act document can be viewed here: www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/finalrule/fmlaposter.pdf.