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402.20 Family and Medical Leave

Unpaid family and medical leave will be granted up to 12 weeks per year to assist employees in balancing family and work life. For purposes of this policy, year is defined as the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). Requests for family and medical leave will be made to the Human Resources Department.  In addition, up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave will be granted during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.

Employees are required to substitute available paid leave for unpaid family and medical leave by meeting the requirements set out in the family and medical leave administrative rules. Employees eligible for family and medical leave must comply with the family and medical leave administrative rules prior to starting family and medical leave.  It is the responsibility of the Superintendent/designee to develop administrative rules to implement this policy.

The requirements stated in the Master Contract between employees covered in the AEA or PPME collective bargaining unit and the Board regarding family and medical leave of such employees will be followed, except where they conflict with the FMLA or federal regulations, which will be controlling.

Legal Reference:
Whitney v. Rural Ind. School. District, 232 Iowa 61, 4 N.W.2d 394 (1942).
26 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq. (2006)
29 C.F.R. Pt. 825 (2006).
Iowa Code §§ 20; 85.33, .34, .38(3); 216; 279.40 (2009).
1980 Op. Att’y Gen. 605.
1972 Op. Att’y Gen. 177, 353.
Op. Att’y Gen. 91.

Cross Reference:
404.11 Personal Illness Leave

R.R.1 402.20
EMPLOYEE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE REGULATION PROCEDURES

Definitions

  • “Classroom Teacher” or “Instructional Employee” means an employee employed principally in an instructional capacity whose principal function is to teach and instruct students in a class, a small group, or an individual setting, and includes athletic coaches, driving instructors, and special education assistants such as signers for the hearing impaired. The term does not include teacher assistants or aides who do not have as their principal function actual teaching or instructing, nor auxiliary personnel such as counselors, psychologists, curriculum specialists, cafeteria workers, maintenance workers, bus drivers, or other primarily non-instructional employees.
  • “Parent” means a biological, adoptive, step or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a son or daughter as defined below. This term does not include parents ‘‘in law.’’
  • “Spouse” means a person with whom an individual entered into marriage as defined or recognized under State law for purposes of marriage in the State where the marriage occurred, including same-sex, or common law marriage in States where it is recognized.
  • “Son or daughter” means a biological adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is either under age 18, or age 18 or older and ‘‘incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability’’ at the time that FMLA leave is to commence.
  • “Son or daughter of a covered service member” means a covered service member’s biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child for whom the covered service member stood in loco parentis, and who is of any age.
  • “Son or daughter on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status” means the employee’s biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child for whom the employee stood in loco parentis, who is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status, and who is of any age.

District notice

  1. The District will post the General Notice regarding family and medical leave.
  2. Information on the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Board policy on family and medical leave, including leave provisions and employee obligations will be provided annually.  The information will be in the employee handbook.
  3. When an employee requests family and medical leave, the District will provide the employee with information listing the employee’s obligations and requirements.  Such information will include:
    1. statement clarifying whether the leave qualifies as family and medical leave and will, therefore, be credited to the employee’s annual 12-week entitlement or 26 week entitlement depending on the purpose of the leave;
    2. a reminder that employees requesting family and medical leave for their serious health condition or for that of a parent, spouse or child must furnish medical certification of the serious health condition, serious injury or illness or a covered service member, or proof of call to active duty in the case of qualifying exigency, military family and medical leave and the consequences for failing to do so;
    3. an explanation of the employee’s right to substitute paid leave for family and medical leave including a description of when the school district requires substitution of paid leave and the conditions related to the substitution; and
    4. a statement notifying employees that they must pay and must make arrangements for paying any premium or other payments to maintain health insurance or other benefits.

Eligible employees

Employees are eligible for family and medical leave if three criteria are met.

  1. The employee works at a site with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.
  2. The employee has worked for the District for at least twelve months or 52 weeks (the months and weeks need not be consecutive); and,
  3. The employee has worked at least 1,250 hours within the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of leave.  Full-time Instructional Employees (i.e., classroom teachers) meet the 1,250 hours of service requirement unless the school district can demonstrate that the teacher did not meet the 1,250 hours of service requirement in the 12-month period prior to the start of leave.
  4. If the employee requesting leave is unable to meet the above criteria, the employee is not eligible for family and medical leave.

Employee requesting leave — two types of leave

  1. Foreseeable family and medical leave.
    1. Definition – leave is foreseeable for the birth or placement of an adopted or foster child with the employee or for planned medical treatment.
    2. Employee must give at least thirty days-notice for foreseeable leave.  Failure to give the notice may result in the leave beginning thirty days after notice was received.  For those taking leave due to military family and medical leave, notice should be given as soon as practicable.
    3. Employees must consult with the District prior to scheduling planned medical treatment leave to minimize undue disruption to the District.  The scheduling is subject to the approval of the health care provider.
  2. Unforeseeable family and medical leave.
    1. Definition – leave is unforeseeable in such situations as emergency medical treatment, premature birth, or other circumstances beyond the employee’s control that prevented the employee from knowing leave would be needed.
    2. Employee must give notice as soon as practicable, generally the same or next business day after learning that leave will be necessary, absent extenuating circumstances.
    3. A spouse or other family member, or any other representative of the employee may give the notice if the employee is unable to personally give notice.

Eligible family and medical leave determination. The District may require the employee giving notice of the need for leave to provide reasonable documentation or a statement of family relationship.

  1. Six purposes of FMLA Leave.
    1. The birth of a son or daughter of the employee and in order to care for that son or daughter prior to the first anniversary of the child’s birth;
    2. The placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care and in order to care for that son or daughter prior to the first anniversary of the child’s placement;
    3. To care for the spouse, son, daughter or parent of the employee if the spouse, son, daughter or parent has a serious health condition;
    4. Employee’s serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of the employee’s position.
    5. A “qualifying exigency” arising out of the fact that an employee’s spouse; son or daughter; or parent is on active duty or call to active duty status in support of a contingency operation as a member of the National Guard or Reserves.
    6. Employee is the spouse; son or daughter; parent; next of kin of a covered service-member with a serious injury or illness (military caregiver leave).
  2. Medical certification.
    1. When required:
      1. Employees shall be required to present medical certification of the employee’s serious health condition and incapacity from performing the essential functions of the employee’s job.
      2. Employees shall be required to present medical certification of the family member’s serious health condition and that it is medically necessary for the employee to take leave to care for the family member.
      3. Employees may be required to present certification of the call to active duty when taking qualifying exigency leave, or for military caregiver leave.
    2. Employee’s medical certification responsibilities:
      1. The employee must obtain the certification from the health care provider who is treating the individual with the serious health condition.
      2. The District may require the employee to obtain a second certification by a health care provider chosen by and paid for by the District if the District has reason to doubt the validity of the certification an employee submits.  The second health care provider cannot, however, be employed by the District on a regular basis.  The cost associated with a second opinion will be paid for by the District.
      3. If the second health care provider disagrees with the first health care provider, then the District may require a third health care provider to certify the serious health condition.  This health care provider must be mutually agreed upon by the employee and the District and paid for by the District.  This certification or lack of certification is binding upon both the employee and the District.
    3. Complete and sufficient medical certification will be required within fifteen days after the employee receives notice of this requirement unless it is impracticable to do so despite the employee’s diligent, good faith efforts.  The District may request recertification every thirty days.  Recertification must be submitted within fifteen days of the District’s request.
    4. Employees taking military caregiver family and medical leave to care for a family servicemember cannot be required to obtain a second opinion or to provide recertification.

 

Family and medical leave requested for the serious health condition of the employee or to care for a family member with a serious health condition which is not supported by medical certification will be delayed or denied until such certification is provided.  Failure to submit a required certification will result in a denial of FMLA-protected leave and may subject an employee to adverse consequences.

Entitlement

  1. Employees are entitled to twelve weeks of unpaid family and medical leave per year, except that employees taking military caregiver family and medical leave to care for a family service member are entitled to 26 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave but only in a single 12-month period.
  2. Year is defined as: Fiscal year
  3. If insufficient leave is available, the District may:
    1. Deny the leave if entitlement is exhausted
    2. Award leave available

Type of Leave Requested

  1. Continuous block of leave – employee will not report to work for set number of days or weeks.
  2. Intermittent – employee requests family and medical leave for separate periods of time, which may include leave of periods from an hour to a full day or more.
  3. Reduced work schedule – employee requests a reduction in the employee’s regular work schedule (hours per day or week) for a particular period of time.
  4. Intermittent or Reduced Schedule leave is available for:
    1. Serious health condition of employee, parent, or child when medically necessary;
    2. A qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that spouse; son or daughter; parent is on active duty or call to active duty status in support of a contingency operation as a member of the National Guard or Reserves;
    3. Spouse; son or daughter; parent; next of kin of a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.
  5. In the case of foreseeable intermittent or reduced schedule leave for planned medical treatment, the employee must schedule the leave to minimize undue disruption to the District operation.

During the period of foreseeable intermittent or reduced schedule leave, the District may temporarily transfer the employee to an alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits. (For instructional employees, see G below.)

Special Rules for Instructional Employees

  1. Instructional employees who request foreseeable medically necessary intermittent or reduced work schedule family and medical leave greater than twenty percent of the workdays in the leave period may be required to:
    1. Take leave for the entire period or periods of the planned medical treatment; or,
    2. Temporarily transfer to an available alternative position, with equivalent pay and benefits for which the employee is qualified.
  2. Instructional employees who request continuous family and medical leave near the end of a semester may be required to extend the family and medical leave through the end of the semester.  The number of weeks remaining before the end of a semester does not include scheduled school breaks, such as summer, winter or spring break.
    1. If an instructional employee begins family and medical leave for any purpose more than five weeks before the end of a semester, the District may require that the leave be continued until the end of the semester if the leave will last at least three weeks and the employee would return to work during the last three weeks of the semester if the leave was not continued.
    2. If the employee begins family and medical leave for a purpose other than the employee’s own serious health condition during the last five weeks of a semester, the District may require that the leave be continued until the end of the semester if the leave will last more than two weeks and the employee would return to work during the last two weeks of the semester.
    3. If the employee begins family and medical leave for a purpose other than the employee’s own serious health condition during the last three weeks of the semester and the leave will last more than five working days, the District may require the employee to continue taking leave until the end of the semester.
  3. The period of time that an instructional employee is required to stay out of work under the special rules will not be counted toward the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement.  The District will continue to fulfill the District’s family and medical leave responsibilities and obligations, including the obligation to continue the employee’s health insurance and other benefits, if an instructional employee’s family and medical leave entitlement ends before the involuntary leave period expires.

Employee responsibilities while on family and medical leave

  1. Employee must continue to pay health care benefit contributions or other benefit contributions regularly paid by the employee unless employee elects not to continue the benefits.
  2. The employee contribution payments will be deducted from any money owed to the employee or the employee will reimburse the District at a time set by the Superintendent/designee.
  3. An employee who fails to make the health care contribution payments within thirty days after they are due will be notified that their coverage may be canceled if payment is not received within an additional 15 days.
  4. An employee may be asked to re-certify the medical necessity of family and medical leave for the serious medical condition of an employee or family member once every thirty days and return the certification within fifteen days of the request.
  5. The employee must notify the District of the employee’s intent to return to work at least once each month during their leave and at least two weeks prior to the conclusion of the family and medical leave.
  6. If an employee intends not to return to work, the employee must immediately notify the District, in writing, of the employee’s intent not to return.  The District will cease benefits upon receipt of this notification.

Use of paid leave for family and medical leave

  1. An employee is required to substitute unpaid family and medical leave for the serious health condition of the employee with applicable available paid sick, vacation and personal leave.  Upon the expiration of paid leave, the family and medical leave for the serious health condition of the employee is unpaid.
  2. An employee will be required to substitute unpaid family and medical leave for the serious health condition of an employee’s family member or to care for a family service member with applicable available paid sick, vacation and personal leave.  Upon the expiration of paid leave, the family and medical leave for the serious health condition of an employee’s family member is unpaid.
  3. An employee will be required to substitute unpaid family and medical leave for the birth of a child of the employee and in order to care for that child prior to the first anniversary of the child’s birth with applicable available sick, vacation and personal leave.  Upon the expiration of paid leave, the family and medical leave for the birth of a child of the employee and in order to care for that child prior to the first anniversary of the child’s birth is unpaid.
  4. An employee will be required to substitute unpaid family and medical leave for the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care and in order to care for that child prior to the first anniversary of the child’s placement or adoption with applicable available family illness, vacation and personal leave.  Upon the expiration of paid leave, the family and medical leave for the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care and in order to care for the child prior to the first anniversary of the child’s placement or adoption is unpaid.
  5. An employee will be required to substitute unpaid family and medical leave when a family service member is called to active duty or on call to active duty with applicable available sick, vacation and personal leave.  Upon expiration of the paid leave, the leave is unpaid.
  6. When the District determines that paid leave is being taken for an FMLA reason, the District will notify the employee within two business days that the paid leave will be counted as FMLA leave.

Both Spouses Working for The School District

If both spouses are eligible employees of the District and request leave for the birth of a child, the placement of a healthy child by adoption or for foster care, or to care for a parent with a serious health condition, they only will be entitled to a maximum combined total leave equal to twelve (12) weeks in any 12-month entitlement period.  If either spouse (or both) uses a portion of the total 12-week entitlement for one such purpose, each is still entitled to the difference between the amount he or she has taken individually and the 12-week entitlement for FMLA leave for other FMLA purposes during any 12-month entitlement period.  However, a husband and wife may each take up to twelve (12) weeks of FMLA leave for other FMLA-qualifying reasons, such as for their own serious health condition, or if needed to care for a child with a serious health condition.

Both spouses who are eligible for FMLA leave are limited to a combined total of 26 workweeks of leave during the single 12-month period if one of the reasons is to care for a covered service member with a serious illness or injury and also for the birth of a child, the placement of a healthy child by adoption or for foster care, or to care for a parent with a serious health condition.

Outside Employment and Vacation While on FMLA Leave

An employee who is on FMLA leave for his or her own serious health condition may not engage in employment for any other employer or engage in self-employment while on leave. In addition, an employee on FMLA leave for his or her own serious health condition may not engage in personal travel (e.g., vacation) that involves any activities that incapacitates the employee from working his or her job due to a serious health condition.  If the employee is using paid sick leave that is running concurrently with FMLA leave, the employee must remain in the general vicinity of his or her place of residence during the period of such leave.  Dishonesty related to such activities (i.e., work or personal travel) are violations of this policy.

Adopted:
June 19, 1995

Reviewed:
March 31, 2003
November 15, 2010
March 23, 2015
November 20, 2019

Revised:
November 15, 2010
March 23, 2015
November 20, 2010