Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The University of Iowa recognizes that employees are diverse and have a wide range of personal and family obligations. Some of these circumstances can be complex and at times difficult, potentially impacting an employee’s ability to be present and productive when at work. It is vital that employees strive to meet their individual responsibilities regarding attendance and use of leave benefits. However, when work absence is required due to health, University policy and best practices should apply to the use of FMLA, sick, vacation and unpaid leave.

The University has a Philosophy Statement on Staff Attendance and Use of Leave Benefits for all employees. Please remember that regular and consistent attendance is a requirement of the position you hold. If attendance is a concern, please work with your Human Resources Representative or supervisor to discuss your specific circumstances and needs. It is your responsibility to discuss your specific situation with your HR Representative or your supervisor.  Refer to the links on this page for basic information of about leave best practices and policy.

If you do not have sufficient sick or vacation accruals and will be absent more than 30 work days for the same health condition in one year, you may qualify for catastrophic leave donations. For more information go to the Catastrophic Leave page.

DOL FMLA Rights and Responsibilities Poster (pdf)
Employee Time Record Codes and Descriptions (pdf)

Qualifying Reasons for FMLA Absence

When your health requires absence from work such as when you have a contagious condition and/or your abilities are medically impaired that you are unable to perform job duties, you may be eligible to use the following leave types.

Sick leave

Employees in regular fiscal and academic appointments earn sick leave accruals. Sick leave is to be used to provide pay during an absence for your own illness, in accordance with the operations manual policy regarding its use. Sick leave may be used for pre-scheduled appointments or when you have a contagious condition and/or your abilities are medically impaired that you are unable to perform job duties. You are responsible to communicate with your HR Representative and/or supervisor in requesting and reporting your absence appropriately. You can access your rate of accrual and balance in Employee Self-Service.

Vacation

It is atypical for vacation to be used for an illness absence. Policy and Bargaining Agreements provide specific direction on when vacation can be used.  Vacation must be requested and approved in advance in most situations so please communicate with your HR Representative on whether vacation is possible for an illness absence. You can access your rate of accrual and balance in Employee Self-Service.

FMLA

The Family Medical Leave Act is a federal law that provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of leave for qualifying events each calendar year. All absence qualifying as FMLA is to be designated FMLA by the department. FMLA and pay status will run concurrently. You may need to provide specific information to your HR Representative or supervisor about your absence for the department to determine if the absence is an FMLA qualifying event.

Rights

  • You have the right to utilize available paid leave accruals for qualifying circumstances covered by university policy.

Responsibilities

  • You are responsible for adhering to the Philosophy Statement on Attendance and any departmental policy related to attendance.
  • You are responsible to discuss your specific situation with your Human Resources Representative.
  • You are responsible to remain in paid status, if at all possible.
  • You may be required to provide medical documentation to support your reason for absence. Typically the information required is:
    • Reason for absence (medical need for absence)
    • Duration of leave required
    • Intent to return to work at the end of absence
  • You are responsible for utilizing the minimum amount of absence necessary for your health recovery needs.
  • You are responsible for staying in contact with your supervisor (and HR representative if requested) to keep him/her apprised of your absence, any changes, and your intent to return to work.

There are times when your family member’s illness may require your absence from work due to treatment needs, etc.  In qualifying situations you may be eligible to use the following leave types.

Family Caregiving Leave

Family Caregiving Leave provides pay for qualifying absence by charging the absence to accrued Sick Leave. Up to 40 hours is available each calendar year and the absence must require care for a qualifying ill or injured family member. Go to Paid Absences, University Operations Manual for this policy. Additional information is also available on Clarification of Family Caregiving Leave. You can access your Sick Leave accrual and Family Caregiving Leave balance at  Employee Self Service (personal tab/time reporting/vacation/sick leave report).

Vacation

In very limited circumstances, vacation may be used for absence, in lieu of sick leave for an employee's illness, in accordance with the Paid Absences, University Operations Manual policy regarding its use. Vacation must be requested and approved in advance in most situations. You can access your rate of accrual and balance on Employee Self Service.

FMLA

The Family Medical Leave Act is a federal law that provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of qualifying health and/or military leave each calendar year. Qualifying FMLA Leave is used in conjunction with your accruals to provide pay during approved absence. Additional information is available in the Paid Absences. Your HR Representative is required to designate any leave that qualifies as FMLA.

Rights

  • You have the right to utilize available leave accruals for absences covered by university policy.

Responsibilities

  • You are responsible to adhering to the Philosophy Statement on Attendance and/or any departmental policy related to attendance.
  • You may be required to provide medical documentation to support your reason for absence. Typically the information required is:
    • Reason for absence (family member illness)
    • Duration of leave required; and
    • Intent to return to work at the end of absence
  • You are responsible for utilizing the minimum amount of absence required for your needs.
  • You are responsible to stay in contact with your supervisor to keep him/her apprised of your absence, any changes, and your intent to return to work.
  • You are responsible to communicate absence needs with your Human Resources Representative according to department practice.

The University of Iowa provides time away from work for pre-natal needs, recovery from child birth, placement of a foster child or adoption, as well as bonding time following the child’s birth/placement to your home. Your eligibility for absence will depend upon your job classification, your available leave accruals, and your eligibility for FMLA.

Sick Leave

Employee absences for (birth mother) prenatal appointments should be charged to available sick leave accruals. Sick leave accruals are to be used for the birth mother's medical recovery portion of leave following birth, typically six weeks.

Family Caregiving Leave

Absence of the birth mother's partner/spouse may be charged to available Family Caregiving Leave when caring for the mother during these events.

Family Caregiving Leave provides pay for qualifying absence by charging the absence to Accrued Sick Leave. Up to 40 hours is available each calendar year and the absence must require care for a qualifying ill or injured family member and is available. You can access your rate of accrual and balance using Employee Self Service (personal tab/time reporting/vacation/sick leave report).

Vacation

Absence needed for foster care placement may qualify for vacation. Available vacation hours may be used by either parent following a birth during the bonding period, in accordance with the Paid Absences, University Operations Manual policy. You can access your rate of accrual and balance using Employee Self Service.

Adoption Leave

Up to 40 hours of available sick leave may be utilized for adoption leave by both parents, immediately following placement for adoption in the home, and in accordance with the Paid Absences, University Operations Manual policy. Please speak with your HR representative for more details.

FMLA

The Family Medical Leave Act is a federal law that provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of qualifying health and/or military leave each calendar year. Qualifying FMLA leave is used in conjunction with your  accruals to provide pay during approved absence. FMLA is available both for medical recovery from birth, as well as additional time to bond with a child following birth or entry into the home. Additional information is available in the Paid Absences, University Operations Manual policy.

Rights

  • You have a right to absence for pre-natal needs, activities associated with foster placement if FMLA qualifying, activities associated with adoption and for the birth of your child.
  • You have a right to utilize available paid accruals for circumstances covered by university policy.

Responsibilities

  • You are responsible to adhere to the Philosophy Statement on Attendance and University policy and (if applicable) departmental policy related to attendance.
  • You are responsible to communicate your absence needs to your supervisor/Human Resources in advance whenever possible.
  • You are responsible to stay in contact with your supervisor to keep him/her apprised of your absence, any changes, and your intent to return to work. To communicate absence needs with your Human Resources Representative according to department practice.
  • In certain circumstances supporting documentation may be required, such as extended medical absence for pregnancy or birth, adoption, or foster care.

The University of Iowa authorizes absence for bone marrow and organ donation. Such leave is considered paid work time not charged to accruals. You may be eligible for up to 5 paid days of leave that is not charged to accruals for bone marrow donation, or up to 30 paid days for organ donation also not charged to accruals - in accordance with the Operations Manual policy. Please contact your HR Representative for more information.

Rights

  • You have the right to paid absence for defined organ donation.

Responsibilities

  • You are responsible to adhere to University policy, and (if applicable) departmental policy related to attendance.
  • You may be required to provide medical documentation to support your reason for absence. Typically the information required is
    • Reason for absence (organ donation)
    • Duration of leave required
    • Intent to return to work at the end of absence
  • You are responsible to stay in contact with your supervisor to keep him/her apprised of your absence, any changes, and your intent to return to work. To communicate absence needs with your Human Resources Representative according to department practice.

If you are an employee who requires absence due to service in Uniformed Services please refer to the Employee and Labor Relations information regarding the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees leave from work for several different qualifying events.

Military Caregiver

FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to 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 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.

Exigency Leave

Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent on active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation may use their 12-week leave entitlement 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.

Rights

  • You have the right to utilize available leave accruals for circumstances covered by university policy.

Responsibilities

  • You are responsible to communicate with your supervisor and HR Representative concerning leave needs and intent to return to work.
  • You are responsible for adhering to the Philosophy Statement on Attendance and/or any departmental policy related to attendance.
  • You are responsible for utilizing the minimum amount of absence necessary for your needs.
  • You may be required to provide documentation to support your reason for absence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answer

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides employees up to 12 weeks* of protected leave each calendar year for eligible employees and qualifying events.

Answer

UI employees who have worked for the University of Iowa for an aggregate total of 12 months during the last 7 years, and have physically worked 1,250 hours within the 12 month period prior to the start of the qualifying event.

Answer
  • An employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his/her job for a continuous period of time, on an intermittent/on-going basis or for an overnight hospital stay. 
  • The birth of a son or daughter and to care for the newborn child.
  • The placement of a son or daughter in the employee’s home for adoption or foster care.
  • To care for a covered child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition.
  • To care for an injured or ill covered military service member.
  • Qualifying exigency leave for families of members of the National Guard, Reserves, and members of the regular armed forces when the covered military member has either received orders to active military duty requiring foreign deployment or is on active duty and deployed overseas.
Answer

Employees are expected to notify employers of need for leave at least 30 days in advance when leave is foreseeable and provide reasonable notice in accordance with policy, practice and bargaining agreements. Scheduled absences are to be arranged with supervisor, and have minimal impact on work schedule and work needs. Employees are to communicate absence needs and questions with their supervisor and/or their Human Resource Representative.

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Contact Information

Faculty and Staff Disability Services

Fax
855-505-6486
Campus Address
121-20 USB
Mailing Address

121 University Services Building, Suite. 20
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