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Family Illness Leave

Purpose

Family Illness Leave is provided for an employee to care for the employee’s child, parent or spouse where that child, spouse or parent has a serious health condition. It is not provided for the employee’s illness.

An employee may not waive his/her Family and Medical Leave benefit by instead choosing to go on Family Illness Leave.

(See the Family & Medical Leave Policy for definitions of child, parent, spouse, and serious health condition.)

Employees should refer also to the Family & Medical Leave, Voluntary Shared Leave, and Leave without Pay policies. EPA Faculty employees should refer also to the “Faculty Serious Illness, Major Disability, and Parental Leave Policy.”

Eligibility

An employee is eligible if:

  • The employee’s appointment is half-time or more, and is an SPA permanent, probationary, trainee, or time-limited position or is an EPA permanent employee (faculty or non-faculty), AND
  • The employee has at least 12 months of service with the State (may be a combination of temporary and permanent status service), AND
  • The employee has been in pay status at least 1040 hours (half-time) during the previous 12 months.

Temporary employees are not eligible for Family Illness Leave.

Amount of Leave

An eligible employee (full-time or part-time) is entitled to up to 52 weeks of leave without pay during a five-year period to care for the employee’s seriously ill child, spouse, or parent. Although this leave is without pay, leave-earning employees may elect to cover some or all of the period of leave taken under this policy by using available vacation, bonus, sick, or voluntary shared leave, or other accumulated paid time off.

NOTE: If an SPA non-exempt employee is scheduled for a period of leave (voluntary shared leave, Family & Medical Leave, leave without pay, etc.), and will not be able to use (or chooses not to use) earned compensatory time off or other accrued paid time off due to expire during the absence, then all such paid time off must be paid out as its expiration date occurs. (Note that the employee cannot use other available leave if s/he has any available PTO. See “Determining Time Worked” in the Related Subjects section below for details on prioritized application of leave and PTO.)

Family Illness Leave may be taken all at once or intermittently. If taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule, any portion of time taken as Family Illness Leave during a work week will equal one week of Family Illness Leave taken.

Health Insurance

While on unpaid Family Illness Leave, the University contribution to the employee’s health insurance program is not continued. However, the employee may continue coverage under the State’s health insurance program by paying the full premium cost (both the University and employee contributions).

Procedure

Employees and their supervisors should review the Family Illness Leave, Family & Medical Leave, Voluntary Shared Leave, and Leave without Pay policies to understand the applicability of these programs to the employee’s specific situation. EPA Faculty employees should refer also to the “Faculty Serious Illness, Major Disability, and Parental Leave Policy”.

In order to apply for Family Illness Leave:

  • The employee must complete a “Medical Leave Request Form” and the “Medical Certification Form” (also completed and signed by a health care provider) and submit to his/her supervisor for review.
  • Once approved by the supervisor and second-level supervisor, the employee must forward the signed documents along with a current leave record (if applicable) to:
    • For SPA and EPA Non-Faculty: The Medical Leave Coordinator, Benefits & Employee Services Division, CB# 1045.
    • For EPA Faculty: The Academic Personnel Office, CB# 8000.
  • The Medical Leave Coordinator (and Academic Personnel Office, if applicable) will review the documents for completeness and adherence to policy. If shared leave donations have been requested, the Medical Leave Coordinator will notify the HR Facilitator in the department of any donations as they occur.
  • The HR Facilitator for the department shall monitor the day-to-day leave tracking for the employee and notify the Medical Leave Coordinator once the employee has returned to work.

Additional Medical Certification

In the event department management needs additional information or has reason to doubt the validity of the employee’s first medical certification, the department may require an employee to submit to a second medical examination. The second physician shall be designated and paid by the department.

If the second opinion is different from the first certification, the department shall require an employee to be available for a third medical examination. The third physician shall be designated by both the employee and the department, and will be at the department’s expense. The third physician’s opinion is final and binding on the department and the employee.

The department may require, on a reasonable basis, subsequent re-certifications, at its expense, during the period of leave. Recertification of a continuing condition may be required at the employee’s expense for periods of leave in a new eligibility period.

Failure to provide certification or recertification required by the University may result in denial of Family Illness Leave coverage and/or dismissal for unacceptable personal conduct or separation due to continued unavailability for work.

Return to Work

During the period of leave, the department may require reports from the employee at reasonable intervals (generally 30 calendar days or more) on his/her status and intentions to return to work. An employee should notify the supervisor in writing if they will not be returning from leave as planned. Failure to report back to work at the end of the scheduled leave may be considered a voluntary resignation.

Reinstatement to the same position or one of like status and pay must be made upon the employee’s return to work unless other arrangements are agreed to in writing in advance of the employee’s return to work.

A “Medical Leave – Return to Work Form” must be completed when the employee returns to work or when it is determined that the employee will not return to work. Send the form to:

  • For SPA and EPA Non-Faculty: The Medical Leave Coordinator, Benefits & Employee Services Division, CB# 1045.
  • For EPA Faculty: The Academic Personnel Office, CB# 8000.

If an employee’s position has been abolished during the leave period due to a reduction in force, the employee is not entitled to reinstatement. However, the employee may be eligible for severance pay and layoff priority as provided by the Layoff Policy. Supervisors must contact an employee as soon as it is known that an employee’s position is being eliminated.

If an employee has more than 240 hours of vacation leave (pro-rated for part-time employees) when beginning Family & Medical Leave and returns to work in a new calendar year with a vacation leave balance in excess of 240 hours (pro-rated for part-time employees), the excess will be converted to sick leave upon the employee’s return to work.

Recordkeeping

Family Illness Leave shall be accounted for separate from Family & Medical Leave or any other type of leave or leave without pay. The employee’s department is responsible for monitoring the length, use, and continuing eligibility of Family Illness Leave for the employee.

When an employee transfers to another State agency or to another University department, the releasing department shall record and forward the dates and amount of Family Illness Leave taken to the hiring agency or department.

All medical documentation, along with a copy of the employee’s application for medical leave under this policy, is kept in Benefits & Employee Services Division, Office of Human Resources. Medical documentation under this policy is kept separate from employee personnel files and is confidential. The employee’s department may retain a copy of the Medical Leave Request Form but must not retain a copy of the employee’s Medical Certification Form.

For Departments Using the Time Information Management (TIM) System:

Implementation of the Time Information System (TIM) to track work hours, special pay, and leave for University employees began its phased implementation in August 2007. See “TIM Website” in the Related Subjects section below for information on recording and tracking Family Illness Leave.

Employee groups not yet moved into the TIM system follow the recordkeeping structure defined below.

For Departments Using Employee Time Records:

For permanent SPA non-exempt employees who complete an Employee Time Record: All Family Illness Leave hours are recorded under the coded leave column with a code “FI”. Additional information regarding the absences may be provided in the “Explanations” section of the Time Record.

For permanent SPA exempt employees, accrual and use of Family Illness Leave shall be recorded and tracked by the department’s HR Facilitator or TIM Administrator.

Questions

If you have questions about your current leave balance, contact your HR Facilitator.

If you have questions about Medical Leave Policies, contact your HR Facilitator or contact the Benefits Consultant assigned to work with your department.

If you have questions about your benefits coverage related to medical leave, contact the Benefits Consultant assigned to work with your department.

If you have questions about Faculty Leave, contact the Academic Personnel Office.

Related subjects

Family & Medical Leave

Voluntary Shared Leave

Leave Without Pay for SPA Employees

Faculty Serious Illness, Major Disability, and Parental Leave Policy

Sick Leave for SPA Employees

Determining Time Worked

Related forms

Medical Leave – Request Form

Medical Leave – Medical Certification Form

Medical Leave – Shared Leave Donation Form

Medical Leave – Return to Work Form