Am I Eligible to Use the FMLA?
Federal FMLA – You are eligible if you 1) have worked for your employer at least 12 months on the date your FMLA leave begins, 2) have worked at least 1250 hours during the 12 month period prior to the date your FMLA leave begins, 3) are employed at a worksite with 50 or more employees, or if the number of employees within 75 miles is 50 or more.
When you give notice of a need for future leave or an unexpected absence for FMLA purposes, your employer (under Section 110(d) of the DOL regulation) must notify you within two days of your request if you are ineligible for FMLA Leave because you lack the 12 months of employment or 1250 hours of recent service. If your employer fails to give you such notice, you may be eligible for FMLA Leave regardless of employer action.
Connecticut State FMLA – You are eligible if you are a permanent state employee, as defined by Section 5-196 (21) of the State of Connecticut Personnel Act.
When Am I Able to Use FMLA Medical Leave?
Federal FMLA – You are able to use FMLA Medical Leave due to a “serious health condition.” A “serious health condition” means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:
any period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care (i.e., an overnight
stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or
a period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three days from work, school, or
other regular activities that also involves continuing treatment by (or under the
supervision of) a health care provider; or
any period of incapacity due to a pregnancy, or for prenatal care; or
any period of incapacity (or treatment therefore) due to a chronic serious health
condition (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.); or
a period of incapacity that is permanent or long term due to a condition for which
treatment may not be effective (e.g., Alzheimer’s, stroke, terminal diseases, etc.); or
any absences to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery
therefrom) by, or on referral by, a health care provider for a condition that likely would
result in incapacity of more than three consecutive days if left untreated (e.g.,
chemotherapy, physical therapy, dialysis, etc.).
When May I Use FMLA Family Leave?
Federal FMLA – FMLA Family Leave may be used to care for a family member who has a “serious health condition.” Family members are defined as sons, daughters, spouses, parents and those having an in loco parentis relationship with you (you have an in loco parentis relationship if you provide day-to-day care and financial support for a child or if someone provided same for you when you were a child). Family members are not required to live in your home.
FMLA Family Leave may also be used to care for newborn children, when adopting a child or accepting placement of a foster child.
Connecticut State FMLA – You may use FMLA Family Leave upon the birth or adoption of a child, or upon the serious illness of a child, spouse (legally married) or parent.
How Long May I Be On FMLA Leave?
Federal FMLA – You may take up to 12 weeks of FMLA Family Leave or Medical Leave during a 12-month period. The 12 weeks of FMLA Leave need not be consecutive. You are able to use the 12 weeks intermittently, if needed.
Connecticut State FMLA – You may take up to 24 weeks of FMLA Family and up to 24 weeks of FMLA Medical Leave within a 2-year period.
Example: Joan Smith gives birth to a child. Under the Federal FMLA, she may take up to 12 weeks leave to care for her child or up to 12 weeks leave due to a disability resulting from her being pregnant. In either case, Joan cannot use more than a total of 12 weeks during a twelve-month period.
Under the State FMLA, Joan would be able to use up to 24 weeks of leave for a disability resulting from her being pregnant. Also, she would be able use an additional 24 weeks in order to care for her newborn child after her personal medical disability resulting from the pregnancy ends.
How Do I Apply for FMLA?
Your agency has a form that is to be filled out in order to apply for FMLA. Contact your personnel officer to get a form. When you fill out the form you may be required to provide documentation that verifies your eligibility for FMLA (i.e., medical certificate, birth certificate, adoption papers, etc.)
Will I Be Paid While I Am on FMLA Leave?
Federal FMLA – You are not entitled to be paid while on FMLA Leave. However, you may be able to use accrued vacation time, sick time, or personal time. Moreover, your employer may be able to force you to use your accrued time while you are on Federal FMLA Leave.
Connecticut State FMLA – FMLA Leave is without pay. However, article 28 of the NP-3 Collective Bargaining Agreement states that an employee may request the use of accrued vacation leave and/or personal leave while on parental and family leave.
While on FMLA Leave, Will My Health Insurance Benefits Continue?
Federal FMLA – Yes, your health insurance benefits shall continue as if you were at work.
Connecticut State FMLA – Yes, your health insurance benefits shall continue as if you were at work.
**It should be noted that you may be required to return to work after your FMLA Leave,
unless you are determined to be unable to return due to medical reasons. Should you
decide to not return from your FMLA Leave, you may be required to reimburse the
employer for all of your medical insurance benefits while you were on leave.
Will I Maintain My Seniority While on Unpaid FMLA Leave?
Federal FMLA – Yes, upon return from unpaid FMLA Leave, your seniority will be restored as it was before your leave began. However, you may not accrue seniority or longevity while on unpaid FMLA Leave.
Connecticut State FMLA – Yes, upon return from unpaid FMLA Leave, your seniority will be restored as it was before your leave began. However, you may not accrue seniority or longevity while on unpaid FMLA Leave.
Will I Have the Same Job When I Return From FMLA Leave?
Federal FMLA – Upon return from FMLA Leave, you are entitled to return to the same position or to an equivalent position with substantially similar duties with the same pay, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.
Connecticut State FMLA – You are entitled to return to your original job or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, etc.
Example: John Jones works at the Hartford DSS office as an office assistant in a treatment services unit. Upon return from FMLA Leave, he returns to the Hartford DSS office as an office assistant. However, John is now assigned as an office assistant in an investigation unit, instead of the treatment unit he was assigned to prior to using FMLA Leave.
If I Believe I Am Being Denied My Right to FMLA Leave, Where Do I File a Complaint?
Federal FMLA – You may file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. The phone number is (860) 240-4160.
Connecticut State FMLA – You may file a complaint with the Wage and Workplace Standards Division of the State of Connecticut Labor Department. The phone number is (860) 566-7184.
Does My Collective Bargaining Agreement Provide Me With Additional Leave?
Yes. Article 28 of the NP-3 Collective Bargaining Agreement provides for up to three (3) days of paid leave, deducted from sick leave, for a spouse in connection with the birth, adoption, or taking custody of child, or the prenatal or postnatal care of a spouse.
Also, for leaves due to a pregnancy, the NP-3 Contract states that Connecticut State FMLA does not begin until after all paid leave has been exhausted.
Example: Prior to giving birth, Jane Doe is disabled due to her being pregnant. As a result, her physician determines that she must be absent from work. While she is absent from work, her accrued sick leave time will be charged and her other accrued leave may be charged, upon exhaustion of her sick leave. If Jane remains disabled after the period of paid leave, she may then be placed on FMLA Leave.