PURPOSE OF THIS POLICY
Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo or the University) recognizes that its faculty and staff strive to balance the responsibility of their work and personal lives. This Family Medical Leave Policy is designed to support those efforts and to comply with the provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), as later amended and applicable implementing regulations. This policy also contains provisions for compliance with the State of Colorado's Family Care Act
This policy provides rules and guidance for the use of Family and Medical Leave. Additional procedures, guidelines and forms for applying for Family and Medical Leave, recording the use of such leave and working with employees, are as prescribed by the Human Resources Department
APPLICATION OF THIS POLICY
This policy applies to faculty, administrative professional, and any contracted employees. This policy does not apply to State classified employees, however Family Medical Leave policies for State classified employees are contained in the procedures adopted by the Executive Director of the State Department of Personnel and Administration and those procedures will be followed by the University for State classified employees who are eligible for FMLA under those procedures
DEFINITIONS USED IN THIS POLICY
- Eligible Employee – a person employed for at least twelve (12) months at CSU-Pueblo (need not have been consecutive) with at least 1250 hours of service during the immediately preceding 12 months. Faculty members teaching 9 month appointments who work half time or more are deemed to meet the 1250 hour threshold.
- Spouse- a person who is legally married to an eligible employee, including a common-law spouse or same-gender spouse, domestic partner or civil union partner.
- Child - includes biological children, adopted children, foster children, stepchildren, and legal wards of either the eligible employee or the eligible employee's Spouse, as well as any person for whom either the eligible employee or the eligible employee's Spouse is standing in loco parentis, provided that the child is under eighteen (18) years of age and/or is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.
- Civil union partner – an individual who has entered into a civil union with another person pursuant to C.R.S.14-15-100 et seq.
- Domestic partner - an adult at least 18 years of age who is the same gender as an employee, with whom the employee has shared an exclusive, committed relationship for at least one year with the intent for the relationship to last indefinitely; and who is not related to the employee by blood to a degree that would prohibit marriage.
Family and Medical Leave is a job protection benefit for eligible employees provided by the University in accordance with the federal and state law. An eligible employee is entitled to take up to thirteen (13) work weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for a specified family and medical reason with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Family and Medical Leave during a rolling twelve (12) month year begins on the first date the eligible employee uses Family and Medical Leave. The thirteen (13) work weeks of Family and Medical Leave do not need to be used consecutively. Leave may be taken in less than whole day increments. The eligible employee is not expected to "make up" the time taken as Family and Medical Leave. Family and Medical Leave may be taken for any one (1) or a combination of the following reasons:
- the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
- the placement with the eligible employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
- to care for the eligible employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
- a serious health condition that makes the eligible employee unable to perform the essential functions of their job;
- any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the eligible employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
- Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).
Entitlement to Military Family Leave
An eligible employee may take Military Family Leave for a spouse, child, or parent on covered active duty or called to active duty status with the Armed Forces due to a "Qualifying Exigency," which is defined as one (1) of the following situations:
- Advance notice of deployment that is one week or less.
- Military events or related activities.
- Urgent (as opposed to recurring or routine) child-care/school activities necessitated due to military service.
- Exigent financial or legal tasks to deal with the family member's call to active duty.
- Counseling for the eligible employee or a child which is provided by someone other than a healthcare provider if the need for the counseling arises from the covered active duty of a military family member.
- Spending time with the service member on rest and recuperation breaks during deployment.
- Post-deployment activities.
- Other situations arising from the call to duty, as agreed upon by the eligible employee and his or her supervisor.
Entitlement to Military Caregiver Leave
An eligible employee who is the spouse, child, parent, or next of kin of a service member in the Armed Forces is entitled to up to twenty-six (26) work weeks of Military Caregiver Leave during a rolling twelve (12) month year to care for the service member if he or she becomes seriously injured or ill in the line of duty. The service member must be undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; be in outpatient care; or be on the temporary disability retired list. In addition to service members, this provision applies to a veteran undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for an injury or illness that existed prior to the beginning of the veteran's active duty, but was aggravated by service in the Armed Forces. The veteran's discharge must have been other than dishonorable and must have been effective during the five (5) year period immediately preceding the date on which leave is to begin. The rolling year for Military Caregiver Leave begins on the first date that the eligible employee uses the Military Caregiver Leave, and this rolling year is distinct from the rolling year for any other Family Medical Leave. However, the use of Military Caregiver Leave cannot cause the total use of all types of Family Medical Leave to exceed twenty-six (26) work weeks during any twelve (12) month period.
Application for Family and Medical Leave
An eligible employee may request Family and Medical Leave, Military Family Leave or Military Caregiver Leave by contacting their supervisor and the Human Resources Department. Supervisors should immediately notify the Human Resources Department in all situations in which an employee’s absence from work or requested leave will qualify or might qualify for any of these forms of leave. Timely notification of the Human Resources Department is essential in order to meet legally required time limits. The Human Resources Department will provide the necessary forms. Information, such as medical documentation, may be requested in order to make a determination of eligibility. Ultimate determination of eligibility rests with Department of Human Resources. An application for leave under this policy should be made as soon as the eligible employee becomes aware of the need for such leave or as soon as practical thereafter. Planning for absences under this policy should, when practical, be scheduled so as to avoid the disruption to University activities.
Eligible employees do not have to share a medical diagnosis, but must provide enough information to the University so it can determine if the leave qualifies for FMLA protection. Sufficient information could include informing the University that the eligible employee is or will be unable to perform their job functions, that a family member cannot perform daily activities, or that hospitalization or continuing medical treatment is necessary. Eligible employees must inform the University if the need for leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave was previously taken or certified. The University can require a certification or periodic recertification supporting the need for leave. If the University determines that the certification is incomplete, it must provide a written notice indicating what additional information is required.
Once the University becomes aware that an employee’s need for leave is for a reason that may qualify under the FMLA, the University must notify the employee if they are eligible for FMLA leave and, if eligible, must also provide a notice of rights and responsibilities under the FMLA. If the employee is not eligible, the University must provide a reason for ineligibility. The University must notify its employees if leave will be designated as FMLA leave, and if so, how much leave will be designated as FMLA leave.
Intermittent or Reduced Family and Medical Leave
Leave taken under this policy may be taken on an intermittent basis if this is approved by the Human Resources Department in consultation with the department or unit head. A request for intermittent or reduced Family and Medical Leave that is due to the eligible employee's own serious illness or to allow the eligible employee to care for a spouse, child, or parent who is ill must be approved when this is determined to be medically necessary.
Leave under this policy is unpaid leave. The eligible employee must use their accrued sick leave, accrued annual leave, compensatory time off, Worker's Compensation wages or other forms of earned paid leave until such leave balances have been exhausted. This leave is concurrent with Family and Medical Leave. The eligible employee may choose which form of available paid leave to use.
Faculty who are taking Family and Medical Leave, Military Family Leave or Military Caregiver Leave will not have their leave accounts for those leaves charged on days when the University is closed for University scheduled holidays or scheduled academic breaks.
Administrative professional employees and contracted employees on Family and Medical Leave, Military Family Leave or Military Caregiver Leave will not have their leave accounts charged for University scheduled holidays.
Use of Additional Leave after Family and Medical Leave is Exhausted
After Family and Medical Leave, Military Family Leave or Military Caregiver Leave has been exhausted, the eligible employee may request additional time off using other types of leave. The granting of such additional leave is at the discretion of the appropriate appointing authority. Appointing authorities must consult with the Human Resources Department prior to deciding whether to grant or to deny the eligible employee’s request.
Recording of Family and Medical Leave, Military and Family Leave or Military Caregiver Leave and Concurrent Paid Leave
Whenever an employee takes Family and Medical Leave, Military Family Leave or Military Caregiver Leave, the Human Resources Department is responsible for entering that leave into the university’s automated leave system. The Human Resources Department will also enter any leave being used concurrently with unpaid leave.
Family and Medical Leave runs concurrently with the State of Colorado Parental Leave which may be taken anytime within the first twelve months from the Child’s date of birth or placement for adoption.
Continuation of Benefits and Premiums
Eligible employees who are receiving a University contribution to their benefits at the time that a period of Family and Medical Leave, Military Family Leave or Military Caregiver Leave begins shall continue to receive those contributions and benefits during those periods of leave, regardless of whether or not other types of leave are being used concurrently to provide pay. An eligible employee who is on Family and Medical Leave, Military Family Leave or Military Caregiver Leave and is using paid leave concurrently will continue to pay their portion of the insured benefits premiums out of payroll deductions. An eligible employee who is not being paid through the payroll system must pay for their portion of the insurance premium directly to the University payroll office.
Return from Family and Medical Leave, Military Family Leave or Military Caregiver Leave
An eligible employee granted leave under this policy shall be returned to his or her same position, or a position of comparable pay and status, upon completion of the leave with the following exceptions:
- An eligible employee whose employment is conditional upon having student status (e.g., a graduate assistant, or a student hourly employee) shall be returned to his or her former position or to a position of comparable pay and status, upon completion of the Family and Medical Leave only if his or her student status at the time of return qualifies him or her for his or her former employment status.
- An eligible employee whose appointment has a specified ending date which is earlier than the completion of the leave or whose appointment would otherwise have terminated during the period of leave may not be entitled to reinstatement, in accordance with the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Departments and units must refer questions regarding the status of returning employees to the Human Resources Department.
- Medical documentation of the fitness to return to work may be required by the supervisor in consultation with the Human Resources Department.
- Any reason which would have resulted in the proper and lawful termination of the employment during the period of leave, other than the reason(s) for which Family and Medical Leave, Military Family Leave or Military Caregiver Leave was approved. Examples include (but are not limited to): termination as a final result of a disciplinary action; termination for lack of a necessary credential or license; or inability to perform one or more essential functions of the job.
Colorado Family Care Act
The Colorado Family Care Act, provides for persons in civil union relationships and domestic partner relationships the same leave entitlements as prescribed under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Leave provided for under the Act does not increase the total amount of leave available to the employee because this leave must run concurrently with Family and Medical Leave. Eligible employees may use authorized paid leave concurrently with Colorado Family Care Act leave in order remain in a paid status.
Employees using leave under the Colorado Family Care Act are subject to the same advance notice of the need to use leave requirements as employees under the Family and Medical Leave policies.
The University may not interfere with an eligible employee's FMLA rights or retaliate against someone for using or trying to use FMLA leave, opposing any practice made unlawful by the FMLA, or being involved in any proceeding under or related to the FMLA.
Any person may file a complaint against the University based on the administration of the Family and Medical Leave Act by contacting the United States Department of Labor, Hour and Wage Division or by referring to their website https://www.dol.gov/whd/howtofilecomplaint.htm, or may bring a private lawsuit against the University. The FMLA does not affect any federal or state law prohibiting discrimination or supersede any state or local law or collective bargaining agreement that provides greater family or medical leave rights.
The Department of Human Resources administers this policy.
RELATED LAWS, POLICIES & PROCEDURES:
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and later amendments
Colorado Family Care Act CRS 8-13.3-200 et seq.
Colorado Civil Union Act; CRS 14-15-100 et seq.
FORMS AND TOOLS
Please see the Human Resources Department for applicable forms.
Approved by Dr. Timothy P. Mottet, President
Approved by the Board of Governors, October 6, 2017