Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Policy Type: 

I. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

II. Who Does This Policy Affect

This Policy applies to all HFC employees and should be read by all employees.

III. Purpose

The primary purpose of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families. The College will not interfere with an employee’s rights under FMLA. Lawful exercise of rights under FMLA cannot be used as a basis for employee discipline or other actions that negatively impact the employee’s status at the College.

FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers (employers with 50 or more employees) to take up to twelve (12) work weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12- month period for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance under the same terms and conditions as coverage would have been provided if the employee had been continuously employed during the FMLA leave period. The employer may designate leave as FMLA qualifying.

Eligible employees are entitled to FMLA leave for:

A. The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one (1) year of birth;
B. The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one (1) year of placement;
C. To care for the employee’s spouse*, son, daughter or parent, who has a serious health condition;
D. A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of the employee’s job;
E. Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on “covered active duty”, and,
F. Eligible employees who are the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered service member with a serious injury or illness are entitled to twenty-six (26) workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for the covered service member (known in this Act as “military caregiver leave”.)

Note: As of March 27, 2015, workers in legal, same-sex marriages, regardless of where they live, have the same rights as those in opposite-sex marriages to federal job-protected leave under the FMLA to care for a spouse with a serious health condition.

IV. Policy Statement

Henry Ford College (College) recognizes the importance of providing assistance to employees so that they may take care of legitimate family needs. The College has employee policies in place for sick leave, vacation time, and personal days. The College’s FMLA Policy provides for additional rights, responsibilities and obligations for its employees. The College requires that the employee substitute accrued but not yet used paid leaves for unpaid FMLA leave. The employee paid leave is to run concurrently with their FMLA leave period. The employee must use during their FMLA leave period, their unused but accrued paid sick leave, paid vacation leave and paid personal leave before using the remainder of the FMLA leave as unpaid leave.

The College will abide by all applicable regulations set forth under the FMLA and will grant up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave in a 12-month period for qualified medical reasons. In addition, the College will implement the procedures established by the FMLA to grant an employee military caregiver leave to care for a family member who was seriously injured or seriously ill while in the line of duty. The employee may take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12- month period to care for that covered military service member.

The College will abide by the regulations set forth in the FMLA, which are incorporated by reference into this Policy Statement.

Further detail regarding the process and procedures for requesting FMLA leave is set forth in the accompanying Procedure to this Policy. The Procedure for FMLA will reflect any relevant amendments to the FMLA when enacted.

V. Definitions

A. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): is a Federal law that allows eligible employees of a covered employer to take job-protected, unpaid leave, or to substitute appropriate earned or accrued paid leave, for up to a total of 12 workweeks in a 12 -month period for qualifying FMLA reasons, or up to 26 workweeks in a single 12-month period for military caregiver leave.

B. Eligible employees: those employees who meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Works for an FMLA-covered employer;
  2. Has been employed by the employer for at least 12 months;
  3. Has at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the previous 12-month period; and
  4. Is employed at a worksite with 50 or more employees at that site or within 75 miles of the worksite.

If spouses are both employed by the College, they may take a combined 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave for a qualifying medical condition for either spouse or for a qualifying family member. The military caregiver leave time for College employed spouses is discussed below.

C. Son or Daughter: FMLA defines a “son or daughter” as a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis. Under FMLA, an employee who actually has day-to-day responsibility for caring for a child may be entitled to leave even if the employee does not have a biological or legal relationship to the child, known as in loco parentis.

D. Serious Health Condition(s):

  1. For the purposes of FMLA:

a. A “serious health condition” means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves in-patient or continuing treatment.

b. “Incapacity” means the inability to work, attend school, or perform other regular daily activities due to a serious health condition or its treatment or recovery.

c. “Treatment” includes examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists, evaluations of the condition, and actual treatment by or under the supervision of a health care provider to resolve or alleviate the condition.

An examination or treatment requires a visit to the health care provider to qualify under FMLA; telephone calls are not sufficient. Treatment does not include routine physical, eye, or dental exams.

d. "Inpatient care" (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care.

e. A serious health condition involving treatment by a health care provider includes any one of the following:

i. Incapacity and treatment;

ii. Any absences to receive multiple treatments for restorative surgery or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three days if not treated.

iii. Permanent or long term conditions under FMLA means a period of incapacity which is permanent or long term and for which treatment may not be effective. The eligible employee or family member must be under the continuing supervision of, but not necessarily be receiving active treatment by a health care provider [*examples may include Alzheimer, a severe stroke, terminal stages of a disease].

iv. Any period of incapacity related to pregnancy or for prenatal care. A visit to the health care provider is not necessary for each absence. Absences occasioned by prenatal visits to a health care provider, severe morning sickness, or other complications of pregnancy constitute serious health conditions under FMLA.

f. Treatment for substance abuse may be a serious health condition for purposes of FMLA if the definition is met. FMLA leave does not insulate an employee from termination based on existing employer imposed policies regarding substance abuse by employees.

FMLA is not intended to cover short-term conditions for which treatment and recovery are generally very brief. For example, barring any complications, the following conditions usually will not be considered a “serious health condition” within the FMLA meaning: common cold, flu, ear aches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, headaches other than migraine, routine dental or orthodontia problems, periodontal disease. Conditions for which cosmetic treatments are administered [i.e. acne, plastic surgery] do not qualify as serious medical conditions unless inpatient hospital care is required or complications develop rising to the definition of a serious medical condition.

E. Qualifying Exigency Leave: This leave applies to eligible employees whose spouse, son, daughter, or parent (the “military member”) have been notified of an impending call or order to active military duty or who is already on active duty in the National Guard or Reserves or of a regular component of the Armed Forces. The eligible employee may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for reasons related to or affected by the family member’s call-up or service. The qualifying exigency must be one of the following:

  1. Short-notice deployment
  2. Military events and activities
  3. Child care and school activities
  4. Financial and legal arrangements
  5. Counseling
  6. Rest and recuperation
  7. Post-deployment activities and
  8. Additional activities that arise out of active duty, provided that the employer and employee agree, including agreement on timing and duration of the leave. This leave may commence as soon as the individual receives the call-up notice. This type of leave would be counted towards the employee’s 12-week maximum of FMLA leave in a 12-month period. Employee accrued but unused paid sick leave is not available for this type of leave.

F. Covered Active Duty: means a military member of the Armed Forces (including a military member of the National Guard or Reserves) who is undergoing recuperation for a serious injury or illness; or, a veteran who is undergoing recuperation for a serious injury or illness and who was a military member of the Armed Forces (including a member of the National Guard or Reserves) at any time during the preceding period of five years.

G. Military Caregiver Leave (MCL): means eligible employee leave to care for a seriously injured or seriously ill service member or veteran, who is a spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of the covered service member. Next of kin for this purpose is defined as the closest blood relative of the injured or recovering service member. The injury or illness to the service member must have been incurred in the line of duty on active duty. These leaves may extend up to 26 weeks in a 12-month period. Parent of a covered service member means a covered service member’s biological, adoptive, step or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stood in loco parentis to the covered service member. This term does not include parents’ “in law.”

When the College employs both the husband and wife, they are entitled to a combined total of 26 weeks of leave during a single 12-month period for a military service caregiver leave or for a combination of service member family leave and all other kinds of family medical leave during a single 12-month period.

H. 12-Month Period Method: The College will measure the 12-month period for taking FMLA as commencing on the first day an eligible employee takes leave for any leave under FMLA, including military caregiver leave (which may be extended to 26 weeks in a 12-month period.) This is commonly referred to as a rolling year method because the 12-month calculation begins on the first day the employee takes the qualified FMLA leave.

I. Intermittent or Reduced Schedule Leave: means that an employee may take FMLA leave in a time period when needed, or may use the leave to reduce their hourly work schedule. This applies to situations where a leave can best be accommodated through an intermittent schedule for an employee’s own serious health condition; to care for a spouse, parent, son or daughter with a serious health condition or to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.

Intermittent Leave must be necessary for planned, or unanticipated medical treatment, of a serious health condition, or during recovery from treatment. Examples of this type of leave are: for a condition that requires treatment by a health professional periodically instead of one continuous period of time and may include leave for periods from one hour to several weeks; for leave taken by a pregnant employee for prenatal examinations or for periods of severe morning sickness.

The employee has an obligation to make a reasonable effort to schedule all foreseeable intermittent or reduced schedule leaves for planned medical treatment at times least likely to disrupt the College’s workplace operations.

During this intermittent or reduced schedule leave, the College has the right to temporarily transfer the employee to an alternative position if the employee is qualified and that position can better accommodate the scheduled work interruption. When this occurs, the transfer position will be the same or equivalent in terms of pay, benefits and working conditions.

When the employee no longer requires the intermittent or reduced leave schedule, and is able to return to full time work, the College will place the employee in the same or equivalent job as the job the employee left when the FMLA leave began.

Intermittent leave after the birth of a healthy child, or placement of a healthy child for adoption or foster care to bond may only be taken upon agreement with the College.

J. Additional Medical Opinion Permitted:

The College has the right to request a second medical opinion if the College has reason to doubt the validity of a medical certification. The College will bear the sole expense for the second medical opinion. The College will designate the health care provider for the second opinion; however, the health care provider chosen by the College may not be one employed by the College on a regular basis, may not be under contract with the College, and may not be one regularly utilized by the College. The health care provider must be within normal commuting distances and the employer must reimburse the employee for regular travel expenses.

The College may under the FMLA request a third medical opinion if the first and second medical opinion differ. The College will comply with the requirements associated with requesting a third medical opinion. The employee does not have a right under the FMLA to request a third medical opinion.

K. FMLA and Other Paid Leaves

The College may require FMLA leave to run concurrently with other paid leaves, and count the time taken against the employee’s FMLA 12- week leave entitlement, under the following conditions:

a. the other paid leave must be either a College disability benefit plan that the employee participates in or the leave is an absence due to a workers’ compensation claim;
b. the condition for which the leave is taken qualifies under FMLA as the employees own serious health condition; and,
c. the College provides written notice to the employee at the time that it intends to consecutively apply the Other Paid Leave concurrently with the College authorized FMLA leave period.

The College will promptly provide written notice of the concurrent application of FMLA leave with other paid leaves once the employee gives notice to the College of the employees need for leave or when the College determines the employee’s leave qualifies as FMLA leave. The College will comply with the FMLA in providing notification to employees.

FMLA may apply in addition to or along with other federal laws, state laws, an employer’s policies, or a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The College will observe the CBA to the extent that it provides greater family or medical leave than the FMLA policy.

Because leave under a disability benefit plan or under a workers’ compensation claims is paid leave, the College will not substitute other accrued paid leaves to apply to the concurrently utilized FMLA leave. If the FMLA leave extends beyond the other paid leave period, substitution of other accrued paid leaves will apply in accordance with College policy and procedures.

L. Employee Status After FMLA Leave

The College will make every effort to restore the employee to the same or equivalent position the employee had before taking FMLA. The employee is not guaranteed the original job, but rather a job that is the same or equivalent to the original job in terms of pay, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions.

An employee out on FMLA is not protected from actions that would have affected the employee if not on FMLA leave. For example, shift and hour changes, will apply equally to the employees out on FMLA leave.

M. Loco Parentis FMLA

For FMLA leave purposes the loco parentis doctrine allows employees to take leave for the care of an individual who has a parent-child relationship with the employee but is not biologically a parent or child of the employee.

VI. Responsible Party for Policy Interpretation/Review

Vice President of Human Resources
Executive Director of Human Resources
Assistant Directors of Human Resources
Human Resources Generalists

VII. Related Documents

Family Medical Leave Act

The following forms are located at

• DOL Certification of Health Care Provider Form
• FMLA Family Form
• FMLA Employee Rights and Responsibilities
• Department of Labor Employee Guide

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq

Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA)

VIII. Policy History:

a. Adopted by Board: August 14, 2017

This policy supersedes and replaces any and all policies related to this subject

March 22, 2022 – Reviewed with no changes.

Adopted Date: 
Monday, August 14, 2017
Board Approved