Family and Medical Leave Act
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), the university provides up to 12 weeks unpaid leave per year for employees with qualifying life events, continuation of health benefits during leave, and reinstatement to the same or an equivalent job upon return.
Qualifying Life Events
In general, when an employee cannot report to work due to either a personal or family illness for greater than three consecutive working days, they may be eligible for unpaid leave under the FMLA.
Qualifying events include:
- Birth or adoption of a child
- Placement of a child in foster care
- Spouse or an immediate family member with a serious health condition requiring care
- Inability to work due to a serious health condition
- Covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness requiring care if the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin
- Qualifying exigency rising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter or parent is a military member on covered active duty
An employee's spouse, children and parents are immediate family members for the purposes of FMLA. Immediate family member includes a parent, but does not include a parent-in-law. The term son or daughter does not include individuals age 18 or over unless they are incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability limiting one or more major life activities as defined by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
For specifics on the university's policy or other questions, contact an HR Expert.
Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave if they:
- Were employed by the university for 12 months (does not have to be continuous or consecutive)
- Worked for the university at least 1,250 hours within the previous 12 months (paid leave and unpaid leave, including FMLA leave, is excluded)
- Experienced an FMLA-qualifying event
The 12-month period during which you may take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave is the 12-month period measured forward from the date your first FMLA leave begins. Your entitlement to FMLA leave for a birth expires at the end of the 12-month period beginning on the date of the birth. The actual amount of FMLA leave you take after your child's birth or adoption should be mutually agreed upon with your supervisor, taking into account your doctor's recommendations and any birth-related complications or serious health conditions. In the case of military caregiver leave, the 12-month period shall be measured from the date your first FMLA leave to care for the covered servicemember begins.
Under the FMLA, employees are required to provide the university with 30 calendar days of advanced notice prior to the expected start of FMLA leave, including requests for leave based on an expected birth, adoption or placement of a child in foster care. When a date of birth, adoption or placement of a child in foster care requires leave to begin in less than 30 days, notice must be provided as soon as is practical.
In any case, when 30-day advance notice is not possible, the employee must provide as much advance notice as possible, ordinarily within less than two business days from the time they become aware of the need for leave.
When an employee has been away from work more than three consecutive working days, their supervisor or departmental leave administrator should contact HR on the employee's behalf to start the FMLA process.
- Request FMLA leave by contacting an HR Expert 30 days before a qualifying life event. HR will provide a packet of required forms.
- Complete the Request for Unpaid/Paid Leave form and the Family & Medical Leave Act of 1993 Procedures form and return them to HR.
- Within 15 days of requesting leave, provide a written Certificate of Health Care Provider form from your physician for personal illness or the physician of your family member for a family illness.
The university requires employees to use accrued vacation and/or sick leave concurrently with using unpaid FMLA leave. Vacation and/or sick leave, as well as catastrophic leave, if applicable, can count against the 12 weeks of allowed FMLA leave. Pregnancy, disability or maternity leave for the birth of a child is considered a qualifying serious health condition and may be counted in the 12 weeks of allowed FMLA leave. Workers' compensation leave can also count against an employee's FMLA leave entitlement.
Employees of public sector employers, such as the University of Arkansas, are eligible for up to two weeks of fully or partially paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons. Employees who have been employed for at least 30 days prior and who are unable to work or telework (work from home) may be eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of partially paid expanded family and medical leave.