Family Medical Leave

It is the policy of Iowa Wesleyan to comply with all forms of leave for eligible employees under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).

Eligibility — In order to qualify to take leave under this policy, the employee must meet all of the following requirements:

  • The employee must have worked for Iowa Wesleyan for at least twelve (12) months.
  • The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the twelve (12) month period immediately before the date the leave would begin.
  • The employee must work where 50 or more employees are employed within 75 miles of that office.

Basic Leave Entitlement — To qualify for basic leave under the FMLA, the employee must be requesting a leave under this policy for one of the reasons listed below:

  • Incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth and to care for the newborn child;
  • The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care;
  • The employee is needed to care for a family member (child, spouse or parent) with a serious health condition; or
  • The employee’s own serious health condition makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job.

It is not necessary for an employee to have a biological or legal relationship with a child to qualify for leave under this policy, and employees are entitled to leave where the employee has an “in locus parentis relationship” with a child, and the key in determining “in loco parentis” is in the intention of the person allegedly in “loco parentis” to assume the status of a parent toward a child. Parent means an employee’s biological parent or an individual who assumed day-to-day and financial responsibility for the employee when the employee was a son or daughter. Son or daughter means the employee’s biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child whom the employee supervises on a day-to-day basis and for whom the employee is financially responsible. Employees may be required to provide documentation of family relationships to qualify for leave under this policy.

Family member as defined in the FMLA means an employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent (but not parent-in-law). Spouse means a husband or wife as defined or recognized under State law for purposes of marriage in the State where the employee resides. The definition of spouse includes an in individual in a same-sex or common law marriage that either was entered into in a State that recognizes such marriages or was valid in the place where it was entered into. Partners (domestic partners) are unmarried same sex partners as attested to in a domestic partner affidavit.

In general, an employee may not take FMLA leave to care for a son or daughter who is 18 years of age or older. However, an employee may take FMLA leave to care for a biological, adopted, foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or child for whom the employee stands in loco parentis, who is 18 years of age or older and “incapable of self-care” because of a physical or mental disability at the time the FMLA leave is to begin. The “disability” must meet the standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act.

Military Family Leave Entitlement — To qualify under the military family leave entitlement, the employee must be requesting leave for one of the reasons listed below:

  • Exigency Leave — Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter or parent on “covered active duty,” as defined in the FMLA and applicable regulations, which requires deployment to a foreign country, may use their 12-week entitlement under this policy 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. Qualifying exigencies also include leave to care for a military member’s parent who is incapable of self-care when the care is necessitated by the member’s covered active duty. Such care may include arranging for alternative care, providing care on an immediate need basis, admitting or transferring the parent to a care facility, or attending meetings at a care facility. An eligible employee may also take up to a maximum of fifteen (15) calendar days for Rest and Recuperation qualifying exigency leave. Under certain circumstances, leave may be taken intermittently, or on a reduced leave schedule.
  • Care for a Covered Servicemember — Eligible employees may 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 (or that existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces) 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.
  • Serious Injury or Illness for a Covered Veteran — A covered servicemember also includes a veteran who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, for a serious injury or illness and who was a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, at any time during the period of 5 years preceding the date on which the veteran undergoes that medical treatment, recuperation or therapy. A serious injury or illness means a qualifying (as defined by the Secretary of Labor) injury or illness that was incurred by the member in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces (or that existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces) and that manifested itself before or after the member became a veteran, and is:
    1. A continuation of a serious injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated when the covered veteran was a member of the Armed Forces and rendered the servicemember unable to perform the duties of the servicemember’s office, grade, rank, or rating; OR
    2. A physical or mental condition for which the covered veteran has received a VA Service Related Disability Rating (VASRD) of 50 percent or greater and such VASRD rating is based, in whole or in part, on the condition precipitating the need for caregiver leave; OR
    3. A physical or mental condition that substantially impairs the veteran’s ability to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of a disability or disabilities related to military service or would do so absent treatment; OR
    4. An injury, including a psychological injury, on the basis of which the covered veteran has been enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.

Leave to Care for a Covered Servicemember with a Serious Injury or Illness — In order to care for a covered servicemember, an eligible employee must be the spouse, son, daughter, parent or “next of kin” of a covered servicemember.

  • Definition of “serious injury or illness” — An injury or illness incurred by a covered servicemember in the line of duty on covered active duty (or existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces) that may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform the duties of his or her office, grade, rank or rating.
  • Definition of “next of kin” — A servicemember’s nearest blood relative, other than the covered servicemember’s spouse, parent, son or daughter in the following order of priority: blood relatives who have been granted legal custody of the servicemember by court decree or statutory provisions, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins, unless the covered servicemember has specifically designated in writing another blood relative as his or her nearest blood relative for purposes of military caregiver leave under the FMLA.
  • Amount of Leave Available and Calculating Leave — An eligible employee is entitled to up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness during a single 12-month period. The single 12-month period beings on the first day the eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for a covered servicemember and ends 12 months after that date regardless of the method used by Iowa Wesleyan to calculate FMLA leave for other reasons.
  • Leave Applies on a Per Covered Servicemember Per Injury Basis — The leave under this section of the policy applies on a per-covered servicemember, per injury basis. Regardless of the number of servicemembers or injuries that arise under this policy, an employee is limited to taking no more than 26 workweeks of leave in a single 12 month period, and leave under this policy does not extend an employee’s leave rights for any other reason under this policy.

Calculating Leave — With the exception of calculating leave to care for a covered servicemember with a serious health condition as defined above, leave under this policy is calculated on a “rolling basis” for determining the 12 weeks of leave that an employee can take under this policy. This means that an employee’s particular twelve month period is measured backward in time from the time the employee uses any FMLA leave time. The first day of an absence qualifying for FMLA leave shall be used to start the twelve (12) month rolling period. Any leave under this policy runs concurrent with any other leave entitlements provided under federal, state and local laws or any other leave provided by Iowa Wesleyan. If both spouses are employed by Iowa Wesleyan, their total leave in any applicable 12-month period for the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, or to care for the employee’s parent with a serious health condition is limited to a total of 12 weeks.

Leave for the Birth or Placement of a Child — An employee’s entitlement to FMLA leave for the birth or placement of a child expires at the end of the 12-month period beginning on the date of birth.

Definition of Serious Health Condition — A “serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider, which includes any one or more of the following:

  • Incapacity and treatment. A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive, full calendar days, and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition, that also involves:
    • Treatment two or more times, within 30 days of the first day of incapacity, unless extenuating circumstances exist, by a health care provider, by a nurse under direct supervision of a health care provider, or by a provider of health care services (e.g., physical therapist) under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider; or
    • Treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion, which result in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the health care provider.
    • The requirement in this section for treatment by a health care provider means an in-person visit to a health care provider. The first (or only) in-person treatment visit must take place within seven days of the first day of incapacity.
    • Whether additional treatment visits or a regimen of continuing treatment is necessary within the 30-day period shall be determined by the health care provider.
    • The term “extenuating circumstances” in this section means circumstances beyond the employee’s control that prevent the follow-up visit from occurring as planned by the health care provider.
  • Pregnancy or prenatal care. Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care.
  • Chronic conditions. Any period of incapacity or treatment for such incapacity due to a chronic serious health condition. A chronic serious health condition is one which:
    • Requires periodic visits (defined as at least twice a year) for treatment by a health care provider, or by a nurse under direct supervision of a health care provider;
    • Continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of a single underlying condition); and
    • May cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.).
  • Permanent or long-term conditions. A period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. The employee or family member must be under the continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a health care provider.
  • Conditions requiring multiple treatments. Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery therefrom) by a health care provider or by a provider of health care services under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider, for:
    • Restorative surgery after an accident or other injury; or
    • A condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive, full calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment, such as cancer (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.), severe arthritis (physical therapy), or kidney disease (dialysis).

Intermittent or Reduced Leave ScheduleFMLA leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule under certain circumstances. Intermittent leave is FMLA leave taken in separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason. A reduced leave schedule is a change in the employee’s schedule for a period of time that reduced the usual number of hours that an employee works per workday or per week. Eligible employees may take FMLA leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis when medically necessary due to the serious health condition of a covered family member or the employee or the serious injury or illness of a covered servicemember. Eligible employees may take FMLA leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis because of a qualifying exigency. If an employee needs leave intermittently or on a reduced schedule basis for planned medical treatment, the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule the treatment so as not to disrupt Iowa Wesleyan’s operations. Employees cannot take leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis for the birth or adoption of a child, or to receive a child for foster care, unless Iowa Wesleyan agrees (within its sole discretion) to permit such leave.

Notice that Employee Must Give for Family Medical Leave

  • An employee must provide Iowa Wesleyan at least 30 days’ advance notice before FMLA leave is to begin if the need for the leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement for adoption or foster care, planned medical treatment for a serious health condition of the employee or of a family member, or the planned medical treatment for a serious injury or illness of a covered servicemember. If 30 days’ notice is not practicable, because of a lack of knowledge of approximately when leave will be required to begin, a change in circumstances, or a medical emergency, notice must be given as soon as practicable.
  • When an employee becomes aware of a need for FMLA leave less than 30 days in advance, it should be practicable for the employee to provide notice of the need for the leave either the same day or the next business day.
  • An employee seeking FMLA leave must give written notice to the Director of Human Resources. If extenuating circumstances prevent an employee from giving the required written notice of the need for leave, an employee shall provide at least verbal notice to the Director of Human Resources sufficient to make Iowa Wesleyan aware that the employee needs FMLA qualifying leave, and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave, and the employee must submit written notice of the need for leave within a reasonable period of time. An employee giving notice of the need for FMLA leave must explain the reasons for the needed leave so as to allow Iowa Wesleyan to determine whether the leave qualifies as FMLA leave. Calling in “sick” without providing more information will not be considered sufficient notice of a need for FMLA leave.
  • When an employee seeks leave due to a FMLA qualifying reason for which Iowa Wesleyan has previously provided FMLA protected leave, the employee must specifically reference the qualifying reason for leave or the need for FMLA leave.
  • Absent unusual circumstances, an employee must follow Iowa Wesleyan’s usual and customary call-in procedures for reporting an FMLA absence.
  • If an employee fails to comply with the required notice procedures, FMLA leave may be delayed or denied.

Certification

  • Serious Health Condition — When an employee seeks leave under this policy to care for the employee’s covered family member with a serious health condition, or due to the employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform one or more of the essential functions of the employee’s position, the employee’s request must be supported by a certification issued by the health care provider of the employee or the employee’s family member. Iowa Wesleyan will provide the employee with the certification form, which is available from the Human Resources Office.
    • If Iowa Wesleyan has reason to doubt the validity of a medical certification, it can require a second opinion at Iowa Wesleyan’s expense. If the opinions of the first health care provider differ from the opinions from the second health care provider, Iowa Wesleyan may require the employee to obtain a certification from a third health care provider, again at Iowa Wesleyan’s expense. This third opinion shall be final and binding, and the third health care provider must be designated or jointly approved by Iowa Wesleyan and the employee.
    • Recertification — An employee may be required to provide periodic recertification supporting the need for leave.
  • Exigency Leave — When an employee seeks leave because of a qualifying exigency, the employee must provide Iowa Wesleyan with a copy of the covered military member’s active duty orders or other documentation issued by the military that indicates that the covered military member is on active duty or call to active duty status, and the status of the covered military member’s active duty service. This information only needs to be provided once, unless the employee seeks qualifying exigency leave for a different active duty or for a different covered military member. Employees seeking exigency leave must also complete a certification form that is provided by Iowa Wesleyan, and available from the Human Resources Office.
  • Care for a Covered Servicemember — When leave is sought to care for a covered servicemember with a serious illness or injury, the employee must provide Iowa Wesleyan with a certification form (which is provided by Iowa Wesleyan and available from the Human Resources Office), and the certification must be completed by an authorized health care provider of the covered servicemember. Any one of the following health care providers may complete such a certification: (1) a United States Department of Defense provider; (2) a United States Department of Veterans Affairs health care provider; (3) a Department of Defense TRICARE Network authorized health care provider; (4) a Department of Defense non-network TRICARE authorized private health care provider; or (5) a healthcare provider as defined in 29 Code of Federal Regulations § 825.125. When military caregiver leave is sought for a veteran, the employee must indicate and provide documentation as to whether the military member is a veteran, the date of separation, and whether the separation was other than dishonorable.
    • Iowa Wesleyan may require second and third opinions for military caregiver leave providers as defined in 29 Code of Federal Regulations § 825.125, who are not affiliated with the United States Department of Defense Provider, a United States Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare provider, or a TRICARE provider.

Iowa Wesleyan’s Response to an Employee’s Request for Family Medical Leave

  • Eligibility Notice — When an employee requests FMLA leave, or when Iowa Wesleyan acquires knowledge that an employee’s leave may be for an FMLA qualifying reason, Iowa Wesleyan will notify the employee of the employee’s eligibility to take FMLA leave within five business days, absent extenuating circumstances. If an employee is not eligible for FMLA leave, Iowa Wesleyan will notify the employee and state at least one reason why the employee is not eligible.
  • Designation Notice — When Iowa Wesleyan has enough information to determine whether an employee’s leave is being taken for an FMLA qualifying reason (e.g. after receiving a certification from the employee), Iowa Wesleyan will notify the employee whether the leave will be designated and will be counted as FMLA leave within five business days, absent extenuating circumstances.
  • Contact With Healthcare Providers — Iowa Wesleyan may contact the employee’s healthcare provider to seek clarification and to determine the authentication of a medical certification, but before any such contact would occur the employee would be provided an opportunity to resolve any deficiencies in the medical certification. Any contact with the employee’s healthcare provider would be through the Human Resources Office, and under no circumstances would the contact be made through the employee’s supervisor.

Substitution of Paid Leave — Employees are required to substitute applicable paid leave for unpaid leave under this policy as follows:

  • Adoption or Placement of Foster Child — In the case of adoption or placement of a foster child, an employee will use any accrued vacation time as part of the leave under this policy. When this paid leave has been exhausted, the balance of the leave under this policy will be without pay.
  • Disability Following Childbirth — The disability period before and/or following childbirth and recovery relates only to that period of time when the employee is incapacitated from performing her job duties as substantiated by medical verification. For this period of disability, the employee must substitute any accrued sick leave and/or vacation time for unpaid leave under this policy. When the employee’s paid sick leave and/or vacation time is exhausted, the balance of leave under this policy will be without pay.
  • Leave Following Childbirth — Parental leave is available to male and female employees as leave without pay for the purpose of bonding with and nurturing a newborn, newly adopted child or a foster child. An employee’s accrued vacation time will be substituted for unpaid leave.
  • In the case of a parent’s, child’s or spouse’s serious illness or the employee’s own serious health condition, an employee will use any accrued days from their sick leave first and then time from their accrued vacation time in substitution of unpaid leave under this policy. When paid leave time has been exhausted, the balance of leave under this policy will be without pay.

Increments of Leave — Periods of leave under this policy shall be counted in one hour increments.

Maintenance of Benefits During Leave — During an approved leave under this policy, Iowa Wesleyan will maintain the health insurance benefits for which the employee is eligible as if he/she continued to be actively employed. If Iowa Wesleyan provides a new health plan or changes its health plan, the employee is entitled to the new or changed benefits to the same extent as if the employee were not on leave. If paid leave is substituted for unpaid FMLA leave, the employee’s portion of the health insurance premium will continue to be taken out as a regular payroll deduction. If leave is unpaid, the employee must pay his/her portion of the health insurance premium by the 15th day of each month. If the employee fails to timely make premium payments Iowa Wesleyan will notify the employee in writing at least 15 days before the coverage would lapse. If the employee’s premium payment is more than 30 days late, Iowa Wesleyan’s obligation to maintain health insurance ceases. If the employee fails to return to work at the end of the leave period, he/she will be required to reimburse Iowa Wesleyan for the cost of the premiums paid by Iowa Wesleyan for maintaining health insurance coverage during the period of unpaid leave, unless certain criteria are met for the employee’s failure to return to work.

Other Benefits — An employee on FMLA leave will not accrue additional benefits.

Employee Reinstatement — When an employee returns to work from FMLA leave, Iowa Wesleyan will generally return the employee to the same position the employee held when leave commenced, or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. However, an employee has no greater right to reinstatement or to other benefits and conditions of employment than if the employee had been continuously employed during the FMLA leave period. The exception to this provision is if an employee is deemed to be a “key employee,” and Iowa Wesleyan may deny re-employment to “key” employees.

Other Employment during Leave — An employee taking leave under this policy may not engage in other income-generating work or employment during the leave without prior written approval from Iowa Wesleyan. If an employee breaches this condition, the employee will be considered to have violated the terms of the leave, and to have voluntarily terminated his/her employment with Iowa Wesleyan.

Returning from Leave — Employees are expected to return to work when the reason for the leave has terminated. Upon returning from an approved Family and Medical Leave of Absence granted as a result of an employee’s own serious health condition, an employee must present written medical certification from his/her medical care provider stating that he/she is able to resume work and able to perform the essential functions of his/her job. “Return to Work Medical Certification” forms may be obtained from the Human Resources Office. An employee’s failure to provide such certification at the time the employee attempts to return to work may result in a delay or denial of job restoration. After an employee complies with this requirement, Iowa Wesleyan will return the employee to the same position the employee held when leave commenced, or if the former position is not available, to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment.

If an employee does not return to work on the agreed upon date after expiration of leave under this policy, the employee will be considered to have voluntarily terminated his/her employment, and he/she will be treated in accordance with voluntary termination procedures. If an employee is unable to return to work after the expiration of leave under this policy the employee should contact the Human Resources Office.

Non-Interference/No Retaliation — Iowa Wesleyan will not intentionally interfere with or deny the exercise of any right under this policy, and Iowa Wesleyan will not discharge or discriminate against any person because of the exercise of that employee’s rights under this policy. Any employee who believes that this policy has been violated must promptly report the issue to the Human Resources Office or to the President. All complaints will be promptly investigated, and confidentiality will be maintained to the extent it is consistent with an effective investigation.

Notice of Rights — A notice of employee rights and responsibilities under the FMLA is attached at the end of this Handbook and is posted at Iowa Wesleyan.


Download Employee Rights and Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act