Date: September 2010
Policy: In compliance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), Bowdoin College allows eligible employees to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a twelve month period. This section describes Family Medical Leave provisions that apply when a family member’s illness or injury prompts a request for Family Medical Leave. For provisions that apply to a leave for an employee’s illness or injury, see Sick Time and Medical Leave.
Eligibility: A regular full-time or part-time employee of the College who has been an employee of the College for at least 12 months, and has worked at least 1250 hours in that 12 month period, may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any twelve month period for specified family and medical reasons. (Absences of the employee for medical reasons covered by FMLA will also count toward the 12 weeks, whether paid or unpaid.) Those specific circumstances are:
-Birth of a child of the employee and in order to take care of this child
-Adoption of a child or placement of a foster child in the employee's home
-Care of a spouse/domestic partner, child, or parent with a serious health condition
-Employee's own serious health condition
-Active duty military call up of a spouse/domestic partner, son, daughter or parent
FMLA was expanded in January 2008 so that eligible employees who are the spouse/domestic partner, son, daughter, parent, or nearest blood relative caring for a recovering member of any military branch are entitled to 26 weeks of FMLA leave.
An employee should request a Leave of Absence at the earliest possible time the need for a leave is anticipated. When the need for leave is foreseeable (e.g., the birth of a child, placement of an adopted child or foster child, or planned medical treatments), at least 30 days notice is required. Under some circumstances, such as a request for a reduced schedule following the birth or adoption of a child, supervisory approval may be required.
Medical Certification: The College requires medical certification from a health care provider to support leave of absence requests for employee illness or to care for an employee's seriously ill family member. This certification must be provided by the employee within 15 days of the date of the leave request, unless it is not practical to do so under the circumstances.
Any request for intermittent leave will be reviewed by the College in keeping with the "medically necessary" provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.
Pay during Family Medical Leave. Vacation time may be used for Family Medical Leave needed to care for a family member with a serious health condition or for additional time at home with a newborn or newly adopted child. Once vacation time is exhausted, the remainder of the leave is unpaid. All benefits eligible employees may also use up to forty (40) hours of available sick time per calendar year during a Family Medical Leave (see Maine Family Care policy) and two (2) days of available sick time (see Personal Emergency Time policy) provided they have not already been used.
Benefits during Family Medical Leave. For employees covered under the College's benefit plans prior to a family leave, the College will continue coverage of the employee's benefit plans (including medical, dental and short term disability) during an approved leave and will continue its contributions toward coverage. The employee must make arrangements with Human Resources prior to the leave to continue to pay any required employee contributions. While the employee remains in "paid" status (using vacation time), the employee's contributions will continue through payroll deduction. When the leave becomes unpaid, the employee is responsible for making necessary billing arrangements through Human Resources. During a family leave, all other insurance plans fully paid by the College (e.g., life insurance and long-term disability insurance), continue to be paid by the College. College retirement contributions,holiday pay and vacation and sick leave accruals continue while the employee remains in "paid" status, but are discontinued during any unpaid portion of the leave.
Return to Work. If the employee returns to work within the 12 weeks specified in FMLA, or within the agreed upon time under which the leave was granted, the College will make every effort to hold his/her original position for reinstatement. However, if business conditions require that the employee be assigned to another position at the same level and pay, the College reserves the right to transfer the returning employee to a new, but comparable position. If an employee fails to return to work from a Family Medical Leave for reasons other than the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition or for other circumstances beyond the control of the employee, the College reserves the right to recover from the employee the costs of health care and other insurance premiums paid by the College on behalf of the employee during the leave of absence.