Henry County Schools
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Please read carefully
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires the Henry County Schools to provide up to sixty (60) days of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month period for certain family and medical reasons. All employees of Henry County Schools that are classified in their position/job title as full time employees are eligible for FMLA leave. FMLA provides that if the employee returns to work prior to or on the first scheduled day following the 60th approved FMLA day, the employee will be reinstated to the same job or an equivalent job with the same pay, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment. FMLA also provides attendance protection for approved FMLA leave. The FMLA attendance, job and benefit protection is also exhausted with the 60 FMLA day maximum.
There are two types of FMLA:
- Block FMLA – Consecutive days of leave.
- Intermittent FMLA – Leave taken on a sporadic basis (partial days, one day at a time, etc.).
The following conditions qualify for Family and Medical Leave:
- For the employee’s own qualifying serious health condition* that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job duties.
- To care for the employee’s qualified family member** with a serious health condition*.
- Note: FMLA approval ends when the family member’s condition no longer requires the employee to provide care. It is the employee’s responsibility to notify the FMLA Office and the employee’s supervisor when such change occurs.
- The birth of a child to the employee.
- The first year care of an employee’s child.
- The adoption or foster parent placement of a child with an employee.
- To bond with a child (leave must be taken within 1 year of the child’s birth or placement).
- Any period of incapacity or treatment for a chronic serious health condition* of an employee which continues over an extended period of time, requires periodic visits (at least twice a year) to a health care provider and may involve occasional episodes of incapacity (Intermittent FMLA).
- Military Family Leave Entitlements – Eligible employees whose spouse, son, daughter or parent is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status may use their 12-week leave 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 service member during a single 12-month period. A covered service member is: (1) a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness*; or (2) a veteran who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable at any time during the five-year period prior to the first date the eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for the covered veteran, and who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness.*
*The FMLA definitions of “serious injury or illness” for current service members and veterans are distinct from the FMLA definition of “serious health condition”.
*SERIOUS HEALTH CONDITION:
A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either:
- Any period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care (an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or
- A period of incapacity lasting more than three consecutive days and requiring ongoing medical treatment (either multiple appointments with a health care provider, or a single appointment and follow-up care such as prescription medication); or
- Any period of incapacity related to a pregnancy or prenatal care; or Any period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective (Alzheimer’s Syndrome, stroke, terminal diseases); or
- Any period of incapacity or treatment for a chronic serious health condition; or
- Any absences to receive multiple treatments for, by, or on referral from a health care provider for a condition that would likely result in incapacity for three or more days if left untreated (chemotherapy, physical therapy, dialysis).
A Chronic Serious Health Condition is defined as one that (1) requires “periodic visits” (at least twice a year) for treatment by a health care provider or nurse under the supervision of a health care provider, (2) continues over an extended period of time, and (3) may cause episodic rather than continuing periods of incapacity.
NOTE: If your leave is due to something other than the previously listed condition/reasons, your request must also be processed through our Human Resource Services-FMLA Office.
** QUALIFYING FAMILY MEMBER: The form “Employee Statement of Family Relationship for FMLA Leave” must be completed by the employee and included in the FMLA application submitted to the FMLA Office.
- Child (biological, adoptive, step or foster children, legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis of the employee).
- Note: Child must be 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.
- If child is over age 18, the form “Adult Child Disability Medical Inquiry for FMLA” must be completed by the child’s health care provider and included in FMLA application submitted to the FMLA Office.
- Parent (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 child). This term does not include parents “in law”.
- For purposes of military caregiver leave under FMLA, next of kin of a covered service member means the nearest blood relative other than the covered service member’s spouse, parent, son or daughter in the following order of priority: Blood relatives who have been granted legal custody of the covered service member by court decree or statutory provisions, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins unless the covered service member has specifically designated in writing another blood relative as his or her nearest blood relative for purposes of military caregiver leave under the FMLA.
- Note: In-laws, grandparents, siblings and other extended family members are NOT covered by FMLA.
WHEN DO I NEED TO REQUEST FMLA? If you meet one of the aforementioned qualifications, you may apply for FMLA. If you expect to be out of work for 10 days or longer, you must apply for FMLA. If you incur 10 days of leave (cumulative and/or consecutive) you must apply for FMLA. A 30-day notice of pending leave is required when the leave is foreseeable. In any event, written notice in the form of this application should be submitted by you as soon as possible. Failure to submit a completed FMLA application (including supporting documentation such as medical certification) within 15 days of absence could result in automatic denial of FMLA and possible employment action.
Excessive absences (consecutive and/or cumulative) not covered by FMLA can result in an attendance/performance issue and possible employment action.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO BE TAKEN?
- Consult with your health care provider about the number of days you must be absent. A signed statement from the health care provider is required for illness or birth of a child.
- Discuss the leave with your principal or local supervisor. The department/school protocol concerning and including reporting out must always be followed.
- Complete the FMLA application – Must include anticipated beginning and ending date (or anticipated duration) of FMLA Leave.
- Include medical certification and/or other required documents supporting your reason for FMLA.
- All completed forms will need to be submitted to the Human Resource Services-FMLA Office.
- Provide (upon request from the FMLA Office) certification updates and intent to return to work.
- Prior to returning to active employment, you must provide written certification from your physician regarding your release to return to work. Your return to work is dependent upon receipt of this documentation. You should provide notification of at least two workdays prior to the date you intend to report for work.
It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure the FMLA application guidelines are followed.
HOW MUCH LEAVE CAN BE TAKEN? Under FMLA, the maximum is 60 days in a 12-month period. The 60 days in a 12-month period will be measured from the first date FMLA leave is used. If the FMLA leave is for a serious health condition, the dates provided by the health care provider will be used to approve leave. You cannot request additional time unless ordered by your health care provider. However, for the birth of a child, you may request additional time for the care of your child during his/her first year (or bonding time). Also, time off due to a Workers’ Compensation injury will be counted as FMLA time (not to exceed 60 FMLA days per FMLA Year). An employee can apply and be approved for FMLA due to multiple reasons; however, the combination for all reasons cannot exceed 60 FMLA days per FMLA year. Please remember that 60 days in a twelve month period is the maximum allowed. (The special FMLA Leave entitlement to care for a covered military service member is an exception.)
If the employee and the employee’s spouse work for the school system, each is entitled to 60 days for their own illness or the illness of a child. However, the 60 days must be split between them if it is for the illness of a parent, or for the first year care of a child related to adoption or birth.
INTERMITTENT FMLA IS APPROVED…WHAT MUST I DO NEXT? Upon approval of Intermittent FMLA, in order for your intermittent leave to be covered by FMLA, you must notify the Human Resource Services-FMLA office of leave dates that are related to the FMLA approved reason. Notification can be done via email to Judy.Dodd@henry.k12.ga.us or Cecilia.Johnson@henry.k12.ga.us or via note faxed to the FMLA office (770.954.9202) or via note sent through interoffice school mail addressed to Human Resource Services-FMLA Office, Central Office. Please provide your name and employee number and the date leave is taken due to the FMLA approved reason. Notification should be made within 15 days of the leave/absence. Failure to provide notification within the designated time will result in automatic denial of FMLA coverage for that specific leave/absence.
DO I TAKE PAID LEAVE OR UNPAID LEAVE? The employee is required (during FMLA) to use all paid leave, (sick/personal and/or vacation) available to him/her. At the time paid leave is exhausted, Leave-Without-Pay (LWOP) will be entered. Please keep in mind the cut off dates for payroll. As an example, it is possible that an employee will begin LWOP on February 10th but will not see the effects of it until the March paycheck. For each day that you do not have paid leave, your pay will be reduced by your daily rate of pay. To find the daily rate for a 10 month employee use the following formula: monthly salary x 12 ¸ 190 = daily rate.
DO MY BENEFITS CONTINUE UNDER FMLA LEAVE? When you are receiving a paycheck with sufficient funds, benefit deductions continue. When paid leave is exhausted and the funds are not sufficient, you are required to pay for your benefits to avoid loss of coverage. An invoice will be sent to you providing instructions, the amount owed and the payment due date. If you fail to receive an invoice, please contact the Benefit Office (770.957.6601) for guidance. Note: Failure to remit timely premiums will result in immediate loss of coverage
WHAT IF I HAVE A SECONDARY JOB WITH HENRY COUNTY SCHOOLS? Employees that have a full time job with Henry County Schools and work a secondary job with Henry County Schools (such as “After School Enrichment Program”) and must take FMLA from their full time job are required to:
- Notify their secondary job supervisor of their FMLA status and
- Notify the FMLA Office of their secondary job with Henry County Schools
WHAT IF I NEED TO EXTEND MY FMLA? If the period of leave needs to be extended beyond the original approved period (within the 60 FMLA day maximum), the employee should notify their principal/supervisor as soon as possible and request said extension in writing prior to the last day of approved leave. Employees should direct the request to the Human Resource Services-FMLA Office for approval. A medical update from the attending physician/provider must be attached if leave is for a serious health condition. Medical documentation must be kept current during leave of absence.
WHAT IF MY DISABILITY LASTS BEYOND THE 60 FMLA DAY MAXIMUM? The FMLA provided attendance, job and benefit protection is also exhausted with the 60 FMLA day maximum. If you are not able to return to work prior to or on the first scheduled day immediately following the 60th approved FMLA day and the reason is due to your (the employee’s) serious health condition, you may qualify for Approved Extended Leave (AEL). With the appropriate medical documentation, AEL will enable you to continue your benefits. Medical documentation must be kept current during leave of absence. Contact the Benefit Office (770-957-6601) for more details. Note: Failure to remit timely premiums will result in immediate loss of coverage and possible termination of leave.
If your leave extends beyond the end of your FMLA entitlement, you do not have return rights under FMLA.
Certified employees who are unable to return to work prior to or on the first scheduled work day following the 60th FMLA day may or may not be recommended for a contract for the next school year.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO RETURN FROM FMLA? If the leave was due to a serious health condition of the employee, written certification from the treating health care provider addressing release to return to work must be submitted to the Human Resource Services-FMLA Office and/or the principal/supervisor. The employee’s return to work is dependent upon receipt of this documentation. This must be done at least two work days prior to or on the first day of return to work. The employee must always coordinate/confirm return to work (in advance) with their principal/supervisor.
Application for FMLA (and certification updates) should be provided to the following address or faxed to 770.954.9202 or scanned copy sent via email to Judy.Dodd@henry.k12.ga.us) or Cecilia.Johnson@henry.k12.ga.us:
Henry County Schools
Human Resource Services-FMLA Office
33 N. Zack Hinton Parkway
McDonough, Georgia 30253
Upon receipt of the FMLA request, a notification letter will be forwarded to the employee.
NOTE: To avoid pay discrepancies, please ensure the appropriate leave forms are completed and submitted to your leave entry person at your work location as soon as possible. Upon return to work, the employee should notify the FMLA Office of their return to work date. This can be done by telephone (770.957.5107) or email (Judy.Dodd@henry.k12.ga.us) or Cecilia.Johnson@henry.k12.ga.us or a note sent via school mail to the FMLA Office.
Additional FMLA Application packages can be obtained from the Henry County Schools Web site (www.henry.k12.ga.us select Departments>Human Resource Services>Family and Medical Leave Act) or upon request from your school or the Human Resource Services-FMLA Office.
If you have any questions regarding FMLA, please contact the Human Resource Services-FMLA Office at 770.957.5107.