Employee Handbook: Family Medical Leave Act

Applicable to companies with more than 50 employees, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires that employers provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in specified situations.

Due to the complexity of integrating FMLA with other policies covering absences, we suggest that you consult with your lawyer or a human resources professional when updating your employee policies to incorporate FMLA. State laws, also need to be addressed.

The following example is included in this section to illustrate the potential complexity of explaining how FMLA works with other company policies.

Small Business Notes
Employee Handbook
Family Medical Leave Act

Small Business Notes has a Family and Medical Leave Policy that is in compliance with The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). Eligible employees must be employed by Small Business Notes at least twelve (12) months (but this period need not be consecutive) and have worked at least 1250 hours of service during the twelve month period prior to the request. Small Business Notes locations with less than 50 employees within a seventy-five mile radius are not covered under this leave policy or the FMLA. Forms for leave requests are available from your personnel representative.

Under the Leave Policy a total of up to twelve (12) weeks unpaid leave of absence is available to eligible employees under the following circumstances:

  • The birth of a child, but only within the first twelve months of the birth. This may not be used in conjunction with the Maternity Leave policy or the Sick Leave exception policy regarding maternity.

  • The placement of a child for adoption or other legal placement, within the first twelve months of the adoption or placement.

  • The need to care for a dependent, spouse or parent who has a serious medical condition.

  • The serious health condition of the requesting employee, which renders the employee unable to perform the functions of his/her position.

During the unpaid leave, employees retain the same medical and dental coverage and must still contribute the same amount toward medical benefits as he/she paid before the leave began. (See benefits exception below) Upon return to Small Business Notes at the end of the leave, the employee will be restored to his/her former position with the same rights, benefits, pay and other terms and conditions which existed prior to the leave, or to an equivalent position with equivalent rights, benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment.

The Company reserves the right to deny leave reinstatement to key employees, where such denial is necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury the company's operations. Key employees will be notified of the company's intention to deny reinstatement as soon as a determination is made that such injury would occur. In the event such employee decides not to return to work from unpaid leave, he/she will remain on leave for the balance of the leave period and then be terminated. Key employees are defined as the highest paid ten percent of employees employed by the company within a seventy-five mile radius of the facility where the employee is employed.

Employees will be required to use all accrued vacation and floating holidays prior to being granted unpaid leave as outlined above for the birth or placement of a child, or to care for a seriously ill family member. The birth parent may choose to use the unpaid twelve week leave or to utilize the 6 week paid maternity leave, but cannot use both. If the employee requests the leave due to his/her own serious health condition, the employee may also be eligible for sick leave pay or short term disability payments if the condition of the leave meets the qualifications of those plans.

Employees requesting leave for their own or an eligible family member's serious health condition, will be required to provide medical certification. Medical certification must be provided thirty (30) days in advance of the request for leave when possible.

Small Business Notes may, at its discretion, require a second medical opinion on the health condition and periodic recertification at our expense.

Other exceptions/provisions:

  • When both spouses work for Small Business Notes, their aggregate leave in any twelve-month period may be limited to twelve weeks total, if the leave is taken for the birth or adoption of a child.

  • Intermittent or reduced leave may be taken in case of a serious health condition, either an employee's own or that of a child, spouse or parent, when medically necessary. The birth or placement of a child does not qualify for intermittent or reduced leave.

  • Employees out on unpaid leave will be required to contact their supervisors, at least every four (4) weeks, to report on their status and intention to return to work at the end of their leave.

  • Benefits based on an accrual basis (e.g. vacation, sick leave, and floating holidays) will not accrue during unpaid leave under this policy.

  • While on unpaid leave, an employee will not accrue seniority or service time for eligibility for a performance review, salary review, salary review, adjustment or bonus.

  • Employment benefits which are accrued prior to the unpaid leave will not be lost.

  • As previously stated, group health insurance will continue on the same basis as prior to the leave, as long as the employee continues to pay his/her contribution as required before the unpaid leave.

  • An employee on leave for his/her own serious health condition, will be required to provide certification from his/her health care provider that the employee is able to return to work and perform all of the functions of the job to which the employee is returning.