Family and Medical Leave
Cape Fear Community College supports the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that allows employees to balance work and family by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons.
Leave provided under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is available to all eligible employees at CFCC. To be eligible for FMLA leave under this policy, an employee must:
1. Have worked for the College for at least 12 months, which may not need to be consecutive months.
2. Have been employed for at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12-month period prior to the commencement of FMLA leave; and,
3. Be employed at a worksite where 50 or more associates are employed by the College within 75 miles of that worksite.
If an employee is not eligible to receive FMLA leave from the College, any leave taken for medical or other reasons will need to be taken as permitted by our other leave policies.
Reasons for Taking Leave
If an employee is eligible for FMLA leave, the employee is permitted to take up to 12 weeks and/or 480 hours of FMLA leave during a rolling 12-month period, except that 26 weeks of leave is available for service member family leave described in the Service Member Family Leave Section below. A year is defined as a “rolling” 12-month period measured backward from the date a faculty/staff member uses any FMLA leave. FMLA leave is without pay unless otherwise provided by our other policies, such as vacation leave, sick leave, or workers’ compensation.
Leave may be taken:
1. For the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child.
2. For the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, and to care for the newly
3. To care for a spouse, child, or parent (but not a parent “in-law”) with a serious
4. Due to an employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee
unable to perform one or more of the essential functions of the employee’s job; or
5. Because of any “qualifying exigency” described in the “Definitions” section, which includes short-notice deployment, military events and related activities, childcare and school activities, financial and legal arrangements, counseling, rest and recuperation, post-deployment activities, and any additional activities to which the College consents arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the eligible employee is on covered active duty (or has been notified of an
impending call or order to covered active duty) in the Armed Forces.
An employee’s FMLA leave for the birth or placement of a child must conclude within 12 months of the birth or placement.
Service Member Family Leave
In addition, and subject to the certification provisions set forth below, an eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered service member shall be entitled to take up to 26 workweeks of leave during a “single 12 month period,” defined as the period beginning on the first day the eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for the covered service member and ending 12-months after that date, regardless of the method used by the College to determine the employee’s 12 workweeks of leave entitlement for other FMLA qualifying reasons. If an eligible employee does not take all of his or her 26 workweeks of leave entitlement to care for a covered service member during this “single 12-month period,” the remaining part of his or her 26 workweeks of leave entitlement to care for the covered service member is forfeited. Leave entitlement to care for a covered service member shall be applied on a per covered service member, per injury basis. The eligible employee may be entitled to take more than one period of 26 workweeks of leave if the leave is to care for different covered service members or to care for the same service member with a subsequent serious injury or illness, except that no more than 26 workweeks leave may be taken within any single 12-month period.
During the single 12-month period described in the immediately preceding paragraph, an eligible employee shall be entitled to a combined total of 26 workweeks of Service member Family Leave and leave under paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4) or (5) in the “Reasons for Taking Leave” Section. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit the availability of leave under paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) during any other 12-month period.
The term “serious health condition” that qualifies an employee for FMLA leave is an illness, injury, impairment, physical or mental condition that involves:
1. Inpatient care (i.e. an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, and any period of incapacity or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care; or
2. Any period of incapacity (inability to work, attend school, or perform regular daily activities due to the serious health condition) of more than three (3) consecutive calendar days involving two (2) or more occasions of treatment, or one (1) occasion of treatment with a continued regimen of treatment, by or under the supervision of a health care provider; provided in all such cases the first visit to a health care provider must occur within seven (7) days of incapacity, and if it is an incapacity involving two (2) or more occasions of treatment, the second must occur within thirty (30) days of the first day of incapacity; or
3. Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or prenatal care; or
4. Any period of incapacity or treatment due to a chronic, serious health condition, by or under the supervision of a health care provider, involving two (2) or more visits
to a health care provider per year; or
5. A period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition of which
treatment may be ineffective and that involves supervision of a health care provider;
6. Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments by a health care provider either
for restorative surgery after an accident or other injury, or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment, such as most forms of cancer, heart attacks, conditions requiring surgery, strokes, severe arthritis, or back conditions requiring extensive therapy or surgery.
Non-serious health conditions not covered by the FMLA: In the absence of complications or a required inpatient hospitalization, the common cold, flu, earaches, upset stomachs, minor ulcers, headaches (other than migraines), routine dental or orthodontia problems, periodontal disease, and cosmetic treatments are not serious health conditions for the purposes of FMLA.
The term “covered active duty” means any deployment of an Armed Service member to a foreign country under a call or order to active duty.
The term “covered service member” means a current member or veteran of the Armed Forces, including a member or veteran of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty; provided that, in the case of veterans, the medical treatment triggering the need for leave occurs within five years of the veteran departing the Armed Forces. For the purposes of this definition, a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty includes the aggravation by a current member of the Armed Forces or existing or preexisting injuries. Furthermore, for the purposes of this definition, a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty by a veteran may manifest itself before or after the Armed forces member became a veteran.
The term “outpatient status,” with respect to a covered service member, means the status of a member of the Armed Forces assigned to:
1. A military medical treatment facility as an outpatient; or
2. A unit established for the purpose of providing command and control of members
of the Armed Forces receiving medical care as outpatients.
The term “next of kin of covered service member” means the nearest blood relative other than the covered service member’s spouse, parent, son, or daughter, in the following order of priority: blood relatives who have been granted legal custody of the covered service member by court decree or statutory provisions, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins, unless the covered service member has specifically designated in writing another blood relative as his or her nearest blood relative for purpose of military caregiver leave under the FMLA. When no such designation is made, and there are multiple family members with the same level of relationship to the covered service member, all such family members shall be considered the covered service member’s next of kin and may take FMLA leave to provide care to the covered service member, either consecutively or simultaneously. When such designation has been made, the designated individual shall be deemed to be the covered service member’s only next of kin.
The term “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.”
The term “son or daughter “ means a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is either under age 18, or age 18 or older and “incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability” at the time that FMLA leave is to commence.
The term “son or daughter of a covered service member” means a covered service member’s biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child for whom the covered service member stood in loco parentis, and who is of any age.
The term “son or daughter on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status” means the employee’s biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child for whom the associate stood in loco parentis, who is in the Armed Forces on active duty or called to active duty status, and who is of any age.
The term “covered family member” means a spouse, children, parents, grandparents, parents-in- law and step children who reside with the employee for more than six (6) months in each year.
The term “covered military member” means the employee’s, spouse, son, daughter, or parent on
covered active duty status.
The term “qualifying exigency” includes:
1. Short-notice deployment
2. Military events and related activities
3. Childcare and school activities
4. Financial and legal arrangements
6. Rest and recuperation
7. Post-deployment activities; and,
8. Additional activities, including events which arise out of the covered military member’s covered active duty or called to covered active duty status, provided that the College and employee agree that such leave shall qualify as an exigency and agree to both the timing and duration of such leave.
The term “serious injury or illness,” in the case of a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, means an injury or illness incurred by the member in line of duty on covered active duty in the Armed Forces that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank, or rating.
Employees Who Are Married to Each Other
The combined total FMLA leave of employees of the College who are married to each other may not exceed 12 weeks during the applicable 12-month period if the leave is taken for the birth of a child or to care for the child after birth; for placement of a child for adoption or foster care or to care for the child after placement; or to care for a child with a serious health condition. This limitation does not prohibit either employee from taking additional FMLA leave for which he or she may be eligible, such as leave to care for a parent with a serious health condition or because of a serious health condition of the employee.
The aggregate number of workweeks of service member Family Leave to which both a husband and wife may be entitled shall be limited to 26 workweeks during the single 12-month period if the leave is:
1. Service member Family Leave; or
2. a combination of service member Family Leave and leave described in paragraphs
(1), (2), (3), (4) or (5) of the “Reasons for Taking Leave” Section above.
FMLA leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary to care for a family member with a serious health condition or because of an employee’s own serious health condition or for service member Family Leave; or for Qualifying Exigency Leave. If an employee requires or is permitted to take intermittent leave or leave on a reduced schedule, the employee must try to schedule his or her leave so as not to disrupt the College’s operations. We may require the employee to transfer temporarily to an available alternative position (including a part-time position) for which the employee is qualified and which better accommodates recurring periods of leave than the employee’s regular position. Intermittent FMLA may not be taken for more than three (3) consecutive business/working days. Additional documentation may be required.
Designation of FMLA Leave
Leave taken for any purpose by an employee who is eligible for FMLA leave will be designated by the College as FMLA leave, even if the employee has not specifically requested FMLA leave. FMLA leave will run concurrently with any paid leave and the employee must abide by our policies for taking paid leave.
If an employee’s need for FMLA leave is foreseeable, the employee must provide the College with at least 30 days’ advance notice before the FMLA leave is to begin. If 30 days advance notice is not practicable, for example because the employee does not know when the leave will be required to begin, or in the case of changed circumstances or a medical emergency, notice must be given as soon as practicable. It should be practicable for the employee to provide notice either the same day as the need arises or the next business day, but the determination in such cases will
consider the individual facts and circumstances of the case. Notice should be provided by the employee personally, or by the employee’s spouse, an adult family member, or another responsible person, if the employee is unable to provide notice personally. Notice must be received by Human Resources in writing.
When the need for leave is not foreseeable, the employee, or the employee’s spouse, an adult family member, or another responsible person, if the employee is unable to provide notice personally, must provide notice as soon as practicable under the facts and circumstances of the particular case. In such cases, the employee should notify his or her supervisor or Human Resources in writing as far in advance of the anticipated leave date as practicable, normally, within two (2) business days of when the need for the leave becomes known to the employee.
The above two types of notice provisions apply in the case of a Qualified Exigency Leave and leave required to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.
Supervisors who receive notice from an employee that he or she needs leave that may qualify as FMLA leave are expected to contact Human Resources immediately. HR will make a determination of the employee’s FMLA eligibility and the conditions of the employee’s leave. If received by a supervisor, copies of all leave requests and medical certifications should be forwarded to Human Resources.
When planning medical treatment for which FMLA leave will be necessary, you should consult with your supervisor and make every reasonable effort to schedule your leave to not disrupt the operations of the College. This ordinarily should occur prior to scheduling treatment so that a treatment schedule which best suits the needs of both you and the College may be worked out. Employees who are out on FMLA leave are expected to check in periodically with Human Resources on their status and intent to return to work.
Compensation and Benefits
When an employee takes FMLA leave, he or she is required to apply any available leave time such as sick leave, vacation, comp time, faculty leave, or bonus leave toward their FMLA absence. Any FMLA leave that is not covered by long or short-term disability, workers’ compensation, or any other available leave balances, will be without pay.
The College will continue providing group health insurance coverage and continue paying its share of an employee’s group health insurance premiums while the employee is out on FMLA leave (whether paid or unpaid). Coverage conditions are subject to any changes in the plan (State Health Plan) that take place during the leave. During FMLA leave, the employee is responsible for his or her share of the group health insurance premium. This amount will be deducted from the employee’s paycheck during paid leave.
If the employee is on leave without pay, the employee’s premium share must be paid to the College at the time it normally would be deducted from the employee’s paycheck, or as otherwise agreed between the employee and the College during any period of unpaid leave.
If the premium payment for the employee’s share is more than 30 days late, the College may cease maintaining health insurance coverage (after providing 15 days written notice that payment has not been received) or may pay the employee’s share and recover the amount paid from the employee. If the 15-day notice is provided and the employee fails to pay the employee’s share of the premium prior to the specified date on which coverage will be dropped, the employee’s health insurance may be terminated as of the end of the 30-day grace period. If an employee is unable to pay his or her portion of the group health insurance premium during FMLA leave, the College may in its sole discretion agree to pay the amounts owed by an employee to avoid a lapse of coverage. The employee will be required to reimburse the College for any premiums paid on his or her behalf, whether or not an acknowledgment is signed or submitted, and whether or not the employee returns to work.
At or soon after the time an employee indicates a need for FMLA leave, the College will require the employee to furnish complete and sufficient medical certification from the employee’s health care provider, the health care provider of the employee’s family member, or the health care provider of the employee’s covered service member, as applicable, by completing and submitting a Certification of Health Care Provider form provided by the College or certification in another form acceptable to the College, attesting to the nature of the serious health condition, probable length of treatment, and reasons the employee is required to care for his or her family member.
In the case of leave being taken to care for a covered service member, the employee must obtain complete and sufficient medical certification completed by an authorized health care provider of the covered service member. The following healthcare providers may complete such a certification: A United States Department of Defense (DOD) health care provider, a United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care provider, a DOD TRICARE network authorized private healthcare provider, or a DOD non-network TRICARE authorized healthcare provider.
In cases of an employee’s own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a family member, an appropriate member of the College’s Human Resources department (but not the employee’s direct supervisor) may contact the health care provider for purposes of clarification and authentication of any medical certification (or recertification) after the employee who has been given reasonable opportunity to cure any deficiencies fails to do so. Failure to provide complete and sufficient medical certification may result in a delay of FMLA leave. The College reserves the right to request a second or third medical opinion at its expense. The College will reimburse the employee for reasonable out-of-pocket travel expenses incurred in connection with obtaining a second or third medical opinion. Documentation of these expenses (receipts, mileage information, etc.) should be provided to Human Resources.
The College may require an employee to provide complete and sufficient medical recertifications every thirty (30) days unless the duration of the condition is projected to be longer than 30 days, in which case recertification may be required when the minimum duration expires. The College reserves the right to request complete and sufficient recertification in less than 30 days if the employee requests an extension of leave; or if the circumstances described by the previous certification have changed significantly; or when the college receives information that casts doubt upon the employee’s stated reason for the absence or the continuing validity of the certification. In any event, the College may request complete and sufficient recertification every six (6) months.
Return to Work Certification
As a condition of returning to work after FMLA leave due to an employee’s own serious health condition, the College requires the employee to present a complete and sufficient return to work certification from the employee’s health care provider. The return to work certification must indicate that the employee is capable of returning to work and performing the essential functions of his or her position, with or without reasonable accommodation. Costs associated with any return to work certification will be at the employee’s expense and the employee is not entitled to be paid for the time or travel costs spent in acquiring such certification.
Certification for Leave Due to Covered Active Duty or Call to Covered Active Duty of Covered Military Member
In the case of “qualified exigency leave” arising out of a covered active duty or call to covered active duty status of a “covered military member” defined in the Definitions Section above, an employee must supply a copy of the covered military member’s covered active duty orders or other documentation issued by the military indicating that the covered military member is on covered active duty or has been called to covered active duty status, and the dates of the covered military member’s covered active duty service. This information need only be provided once. A copy of new covered active duty orders or other documentation issued by the military shall be provided if the need for leave because of a qualifying exigency arises out of a different covered active duty or call to covered active duty of the same or a different covered military member. In every case, the employee must provide a complete and sufficient certification.
Certification for Leave Due to Other Qualifying Exigencies
For “qualifying exigency” leave defined in the Definitions Section of the Handbook other than a covered active duty or call to covered active duty status, the employee must provide the College with a complete and sufficient certification in the form of a signed written statement or description of the appropriate facts regarding the qualifying exigency for which FMLA leave is requested, supported by any available written documentation. The facts provided must be sufficient to support the requested leave. In addition to the facts and supporting documentation, a complete and sufficient certification must contain the approximate date on which the qualifying exigency has commenced or will commence and, if the leave requested is because of a qualifying exigency over a single, continuous period of time, the beginning and end dates of such absence. If the leave requested is because of a qualifying exigency which will occur on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis, an estimate of the frequency and duration of the qualifying exigency must be provided. If the qualifying exigency involves a meeting with a third party, the employee must include in the written statement the appropriate contact information for the individual or entity with whom the employee is meeting and a brief description of the purpose of the meeting, which the College, at its sole discretion, may choose to verify.
Failure to Return from Leave (or returns, but fails to stay 30 calendar days). In the event that a faculty/staff member elects not to return to work, or returns but fails to stay at least 30 calendar days upon completion of an approved paid and/or unpaid leave of absence, CFCC may recover the cost of any payments made to maintain the employee’s benefit coverage, unless the failure to return to work is due to the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a new serious health condition that would entitle the employee to leave under the FMLA or was for reasons beyond the faculty/staff member’s control. Decisions to remain with a family member who no longer requires the employee’s care or to remain at home following the birth or placement for adoption or foster care of a child who does not have a serious health condition will not be considered as a reason beyond the employee’s control.
It is expected that, following an FMLA absence, the employee will return to work. As a general rule, when an employee returns to work following FMLA leave, the employee will be restored to the same position that the employee held prior to the beginning of leave or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. The continuation of benefits upon the employee’s return from FMLA leave will be subject to any plan changes in benefits that may have taken place during the period of FMLA leave.
Questions and Employer’s Response to Request for FMLA Leave
Employees are encouraged to direct any questions about their rights under FMLA to Human Resources. Upon request, Human Resources will provide an employee with the publication, Notice of Your Rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. An employee shall be informed of the College’s decision on requested FMLA leave within five (5) business days of his or her request and submission of complete and sufficient medical certification when required under this policy.