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Policies

Family Leave

Purpose: To comply with federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 and the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) of 1995.

Policy Statement: The College complies with federal and state laws which provide for family leave. Employees' rights and obligations are not identical under these two sets of laws: federal law does not supersede state law if the state law provides greater leave rights to the employees. Federal and state family leaves run concurrently provided the employee qualifies under both laws. Therefore, this policy integrates the most beneficial aspects of both laws as required. Employees who have worked for 180 days are eligible for the following leave provisions: to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, or newly placed foster child. For all other types of leave, an employee must have worked for 180 days and an average of 25 hours weekly.

1. An employee may request leave without pay for a time period not to exceed 12 workweeks, except where designated below*, in the College's designated 12-month period. Leave can be taken for the following reasons:

  • the birth of the employee's child, in order to care for that child ("parental leave")
  • placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster-care ("parental leave")
  • to provide care for the employee's spouse, same-sex domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild who has a "serious health condition"
  • to care for the employee's child with an illness or injury that is not a "serious health condition" but requires home care
  • the employee's own "serious health condition" that renders the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his/her position, including pregnancy

*An additional 12 weeks of leave is provided to a woman for an illness, injury or condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Parents who use family leave to care for a newborn or placement of a child are also entitled to take up to 12 additional weeks to care for a child with a non-serious illness or an injury, if the full 12-weeks of Parental Leave is exhausted.

* Up to 26 weeks of leave is allowed to care for a family member who is injured in the line of military duty.

2. Definitions:

- A "child" means a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, who is either under 18 years old or has a mental or physical disability and is incapable of self-care. The right to leave for birth or adoption ends 12 months after the birth or placement of a child with the employee.

- A "parent" means a biological, foster, or adoptive parent, a stepparent, parent-in-law, or a legal guardian of the employee.

- A "same-sex domestic partner" relationship must meet the criteria as stated in the Marriage/Domestic Partner Affidavit. The Affidavit is available through Human Resources.

- A "serious health condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

  • either inpatient care, meaning an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for three or more consecutive days;
  • any period of incapacity because of pregnancy or prenatal care, even without treatment by a health care provider;
  • any period of incapacity because of a chronic serious condition, even without treatment by a health care provider, e.g., an asthma attack.

3. The employee will continue to be eligible for those benefit plans in which they currently participate. The College will continue to pay its portion of the premium, and as long as the employee is in paid status their portion of the premium will be deducted from their paycheck. If an employee goes into unpaid status they will be responsible for paying their portion of the insurance premium. Premiums are due in advance on the 20th of each month.

4. There is no break in service for purposes of seniority, retirement plan service credit, or other benefits provided prior to the leave, providing all procedures have been followed as stated. Vacation and sick leave hours will continue to accrue in any month the employee is in paid status for at least 75 hours that month.

5. If a holiday falls during this leave, the employee will not receive holiday pay for that day, unless the employee is in paid status for at least 75 hours that month and is in paid status the day before and the day after the holiday.

6. The use of accrued, available vacation time may be taken in conjunction with this leave. In the case of "parental leave," the employee is required to use any available vacation time.

7. An employee may use any available sick time in conjunction with this leave. In the case of "parental leave," the employee is required to use any available sick time.

8. If an employee is using both vacation and sick time during the leave, available sick time will be used first followed by available vacation time.

9. This leave will be tracked and counted on an hourly basis for every day of leave against FMLA/OFLA leave entitlements.

10. The maximum amount of leave that can be taken is 12 workweeks in a rolling 12-month period except where otherwise provided under state or federal law. The 12 weeks does not have to be taken all at one time and may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule basis when medically necessary. Intermittent leave for the adoption, foster care, or birth of a child will be reviewed on an individual basis with consideration for departmental needs.

11. If intermittent leave is granted, the College may request the employee to temporarily transfer to an available alternate position with equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates the employee's recurring periods of leave.

12. The employee returning from this leave will be reinstated to the "same or equivalent position" as held prior to the leave, providing all procedures of the policy have been followed as stated.

13. All provisions of FMLA/OFLA regulations regarding reemployment and maintenance of benefit programs cease at the end of the FMLA/OFLA leave or the end of the maximum leave period.

14. If the employee gives unequivocal notice of the intent to terminate employment during the leave, the leave entitlement continues if the original need for leave still exists. However, the employee will waive reinstatement rights.

Procedures:

1. Requests for family leave must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the leave start date when the leave is foreseeable (such as for birth or adoption). When unforeseeable, leave requests are required to provide as much notice as is practical. In an emergency, a verbal request will be acceptable pending written confirmation within three days. To request family leave, the employee may obtain the "Leave of Absence Request for Family or Medical Leave" form from the Human Resources department. The leave request form is completed by the employee and submitted to the employee's supervisor or department head for signature. The signed form is forwarded to Human Resources for leave verification and for employee assistance with pay and benefits.

2. If the leave is for a serious health condition or to care for a sick child for more than three instances, the employee must submit a completed "Certification of Health Care Provider" form within 15 days of the leave request. Certification forms are available through Human Resources.

3. The College may require, under certain circumstances, a second or third opinion (at the College's expense) to support a request for leave due to a "serious health condition."

4. The College may reduce the period of leave allowed if the 30-day notice has not been given, or if certification documentation is not provided within 15 days of the leave request. Additionally, employees who fail to properly submit required documentation may be subject to disciplinary action related to unauthorized absences.

5. Human Resources will provide an "Employer Response to Employee Request for Family or Medical Leave" form to the employee. A confidential copy will be forwarded to the immediate supervisor.

6. Records and documentation relating to the leave will be kept by the supervisor and in Human Resources. The supervisor will forward copies of timesheets or absence reports to the Benefits Manager for tracking purposes. Such documentation will be maintained in a Family/Medical Leave file, separate from the employee's personnel and benefits files.

7. In the case of the employee's own serious health condition, the employee must provide a "Fitness for Duty" form prior to returning to work. Forms will be provided by Human Resources. Reemployment can be denied if the physician's statement is not provided. The original form is returned to Human Resources and a copy will be provided to the supervisor, if restrictions are noted by the physician.

Approved by the Executive Council, August 28, 1998.
Revised on May 31, 2002.
Revised on June 4, 2008.
Revised on October 8, 2008.

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