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University Benefits

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Iowa City, IA 52242-1911
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Family Caregiving Leave Cap

The Iowa Board of Regents has reinstated the standard annual cap on Family Caregiving Leave that was temporarily suspended at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Find additional details and up-to-date leave scenarios.

Family Caregiving Leave permits employees with accrued sick leave to assist with care for ill or injured family members during work hours. Employees eligible for sick leave are allotted up to 40 hours of Family Caregiving Leave each year (prorated for part-time) and can carry over leave from one year to the next.

Leave Availability

Family Caregiving Leave can be used 1) when an employee's immediate family member is ill or injured and 2) the employee must be present to provide care of and necessary attention to their family member. Both criteria must be met for the employee to use Family Caregiving Leave.

Since Family Caregiving Leave is subtracted from an employee's sick leave, employees must have adequate accrued sick leave to cover family caregiving absences. If an employee does not have adequate sick leave, Family Caregiving Leave may be recorded as vacation or taken as unpaid leave.

Family Caregiving Leave is recorded and tracked separately from regular sick leave using the following time reporting codes:

  • 03    Sick Leave - Family Caregiving Leave
  • 53    FMLA Sick Leave - Family Caregiving Leave

Eligible employees can use up to 40 hours of Family Caregiving Leave (prorated for part-time) every calendar year. They also can use any unused allowance from the previous calendar year, up to 80 hours in total (pro-rated for part-time).

For employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, carryover of the unused allowance from the previous year applies if the benefit has been negotiated and is contained in the agreement.

Definitions

Ill or injured: The family member has health, medical, physical, or mental condition or impairment or has been injured through some form of mishap or accident.

Care of and necessary attention to The UI employee's active involvement and presence is needed.  Without the employee’s active involvement and presence

  • A health/medical visit or treatment would not occur
  • A health/medical treatment or visit would be compromised, or communication with the health care practitioner would be significantly diminished

Immediate family: The employee's spouse/domestic partner, children, grandchildren, foster children, stepchildren, legal wards, parents, grandparents, foster parents, stepparents, brothers, foster brothers, stepbrothers, sons-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters, foster sisters, stepsisters, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, first cousins, corresponding relatives of the employee's spouse/domestic partner, and other persons who are members of the employee's household.

Clarifications and Examples

Examples of care and necessary attention for ill or injured family members that meet the definition of Family Caregiving Leave include:

  • Transporting the family member to and/or from health/medical appointments related to illness or injury
  • Facilitating communication with a health provider helping to understand health care recommendations and to make health care decisions that help to coordinate health care treatment and follow-up
  • Providing information to health care personnel regarding insurance/sources of payment
  • Monitoring and/or administering treatments, therapies, or medicines
  • Providing direct care to family members to help them meet personal needs that cannot be met during non-work hours.

Childbirth

The amount of leave available is subject to the limitations outlined above under “Leave Availability."

Faculty, Professional and Scientific, Merit Supervisory Exempt and Confidential

A biological mother is presumed to be ill during a period of recovery following birth. Therefore, intermittent or continuous Family Caregiving Leave is available to the father or registered domestic partner during the labor, birth, delivery, and the biological mother’s recovery period, which is typically six weeks following the birth.

AFSCME

An employee covered by the AFSCME bargaining agreement, the father or registered domestic partner, may use sick leave as Family Caregiving Leave for the delivery/birth of their child.

SEIU

An employee covered by the SEIU bargaining agreement, which is the father or registered domestic partner, may use Family Caregiving Leave during the birth/delivery of their child.

SEIU and AFSCME

A father or registered domestic partner who is an employee covered by the SEIU or AFSCME bargaining contract may be able to use intermittent or continuous Family Caregiving Leave after the biological mother’s discharge from the hospital, which is typically the six weeks of recovery if the wife/partner meets the definition of ill and injured and if the father/partner is needed to provide care and necessary attention.

Well Health Examinations

Dental, well-baby, and physicals or examinations that do not involve illness or injury are not covered by Family Caregiving Leave. 

Travel Time

Travel time will be recorded as Family Caregiving Leave if the travel occurs during the employee's work schedule and is required to transport the employee or the ill or injured family member to provide or receive necessary care and attention as described above. 

Elder Care

Family Caregiving Leave is available for an aging parent or relative (see definition of immediate family member above). The aging parent or relative must meet the criteria of being ill or injured, and the employee must be needed to provide care and necessary attention as described above. The illness or injury can include a chronic condition, and the event can be a scheduled appointment.

Documentation

Departments may request verification of the family member’s illness or injury and the needed presence of the employee by using the FMLA Health Certification or Family Member Medical Request Form as applicable.

Related Policy Considerations

Operations Manual

Part III Chapter 22.3.c.2.b

“If the faculty or staff member does not have accrued sick leave, Family Caregiving leave is not available. However, the department or unit is encouraged to permit the faculty or staff member to use vacation or leave without pay to respond to family-related responsibilities.”

Family Caregiving Leave and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Family Caregiving Leave and FMLA are separate programs—not all Family Caregiving Leave will qualify under FMLA. For example, FMLA covers more absences due to the serious health conditions of family members, and FMLA family members are defined more narrowly than specified in the Family Caregiving Leave policy. When events meet eligibility criteria for both programs, they will be administered concurrently.