3.2.3 – The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

POLICY:  It is the policy of Spoon River College to grant unpaid leave to eligible employees, in compliance with The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and The Support for Injured Servicemembers Act.


This policy applies to all eligible employees as defined below.


Eligible Employee:  An employee is eligible for FMLA if they have worked for at least one year, for 1,000 hours over the previous 12 months, and if at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.  Eligible employees may be granted leave on a rolling 12-month basis. 

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA):  Requires the College to provide up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid, job protected leave to “eligible” employees for certain family and medical reasons.

The Support for Injured Servicemembers Act of 2007 (the expansion of FMLA): Requires the College to provide up to twenty-six (26) weeks of unpaid, job protected leave to “eligible” employees for covered family member’s active duty or call to active duty in the Armed Forces.

Next-of-kin:  The closest blood relative of the injured or recovering service member.

Son or daughter (under The Support for Injured Servicemembers Act of 2007): The same as for child for other types of FMLA leave, except that the person does not have to be a minor.

Serious Health Condition: A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job, or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities.

Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment may be met by a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regiment of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition.  Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.


  1. Basic Leave Entitlement (Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)): Requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:
    1. For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care of child birth;
    2. To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care;
    3. To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or
    4. For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job.
  2. Military Family Leave Entitlements (Support for Injured Servicemembers Act of 2007 (the expansion of FMLA)): 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.FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a single 12-month period.  A covered service member 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 service member medically unfit to perform his or her duties for which the service member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.
  3. Benefits and Protections: During FMLA leave, Spoon River College must maintain the employee’s health coverage under any “group health plan” on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work. Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms. Use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an employee’s leave.
    1. While using paid time off, the College will continue to make payroll deductions to collect the employee’s share of the premium. While on unpaid leave, the employee must continue to make this payment, either in person or by mail. The payment must be received in the Payroll Office by the first day of each month. If the payment is more than 30 days late, the employee’s health care coverage may be dropped for the duration of the leave. The College will provide written notification 15-days prior to the employee’s loss of coverage.
    2. There is no gain or loss of seniority during the leave.
    3. In order for the employee to receive Illinois State Universities Retirement System (SURS) service and earnings credit, the employee must follow the guidelines outlined for leaves in the SURS Member Guide.
    4. Employee is prohibited from collecting unemployment insurance while on FMLA leave.
    5. Employees on unpaid military leave of absence and unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are not eligible for accruals of paid leave.
  4. Employee Responsibilities: Employees must provide 30 days advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when the need is foreseeable.  When 30 days’ notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable and in compliance with the College’s normal call-in procedures.If the leave is not “foreseeable,” the College begins counting the leave as FMLA leave on the fourth day of the absence.

    Employees must provide sufficient information for the College to determine if the leave may qualify for FMLA protection and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave.  Sufficient information may include that the employee is unable to perform job functions; the family member is unable to perform daily activities; the need for hospitalization or continuing treatment by a health care provider; or circumstances supporting the need for military family leave.  Employees must also inform the College if the requested leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave was previously taken or certified.  Employees may also be required to provide a certification and periodic recertification supporting the need for leave.  (See Documentation / Certification of the Serious Health Condition of the Employee or the Spouse, Child or Parent of the Employee section below).

  5. Employer Responsibilities: Spoon River College must inform employees requesting leave whether they are eligible under FMLA.  If they are, the notice must specify any additional information required as well as the employees’ rights and responsibilities.  If they are not eligible, the College must provide a reason for the ineligibility.The College must inform employees if leave will be designated as FMLA-protected and the amount of leave counted against the employee’s leave entitlement.  If the College determines that the leave is not FMLA-protected, the College must notify the employee.
  6. Use of Leave: An employee does not need to use this leave entitlement in one block.  Leave can be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary.  Employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule leave for planned medical treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the College’s operations.  Leave due to qualifying exigencies may also be taken on an intermittent basis.The College may require a “temporary” transfer to an equivalent job that better accommodates the employee’s and the College’s work schedules, while the employee is on a reduced or intermittent schedule leave.
  7. Substitution of Paid Leave for Unpaid Leave: The employee is required to exhaust sick time prior to opting for no pay.  In order to use other paid leave for FMLA leave, employees must comply with the College’s normal paid leave policies.
    PurposeSRC BenefitEmployee Option
    Birth, Adoption, Foster Care of a ChildSick TimePaid Time Off
    Care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition.Sick TimePaid Time Off
    Employee’s own serious health condition.Sick TimePaid Time Off
  8. Leave for Spouses Working for the Same Employer:
    1. Each employee is entitled to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid, job protected leave if the leave is required due to the illness of a child, the illness of the other spouse or, or the employee’s own illness.
    2. If a husband and wife both work for the College and each wishes to take leave for the birth of a child, adoption or placement of a child in foster care, or to care for a parent (but not a parent in-law) with a serious health condition, the husband and wife may only take a combined total of 12 weeks of leave.
    3. If a husband and wife both work for the College and each wish to take leave to care for a covered injured or ill service member, the husband and wife may only take a combined total of 26 weeks of leave.
  9. Documentation / Certification of the Serious Health Condition of the Employee or the Spouse, Child or Parent of the Employee: The College may require certification of the “serious health condition” for any leave, including leaves that the employee is “needed” to care for a family member, in order to grant FMLA leaves.
    1. Treatment of a serious health condition must occur within seven days of the first day of incapacity.
    2. Treatment must be an in-person visit to a health care provider for examination, evaluation, or specific treatment, and does not include, for example, a phone call, letter, email, fax, or text message.
    3. The College may require a second or third opinion, both at the College’s expense; the third is binding to both parties, in order to grant FMLA leave. The Human Resources Office provides certification forms.
  10. Documentation of the Covered Family Member’s Active Duty or Call to Active Duty in the Armed Forces: Employees requesting this type of service member FMLA leave must provide proof of the qualifying family member’s call-up or active military service. This documentation may be a copy of the military orders or other official Armed Forces communication.
  11. Documentation of the Need for Service Member FMLA Leave to Care for an Injured or Ill Service Member: Employees requesting this type of service member FMLA leave must provide documentation of the family member’s or next-of-kin’s injury, recovery or need for care. This documentation may be a copy of the military medical information, orders for treatment, or other official Armed Forces communication pertaining to the service member’s injury or illness incurred on active military duty that renders the member medically unfit to perform his or her military duties.
  12. Concurrent Leave: Disability leave for the birth of the child and for an employee’s serious health condition, including workers’ compensation leave and Victims’ Economic Safety and Security Act (VESSA) leave (to the extent that it qualifies), will be designated as FMLA leave and will run concurrently with FMLA. For example, if an employer provides six weeks of pregnancy disability leave, the six weeks will be designated as FMLA leave and counted toward the employee’s 12-week entitlement. The employee may then be required to substitute accrued (or earned) paid leave as appropriate before being eligible for unpaid leave for what remains of the 12-week entitlement.
  13. Conclusion of FMLA Leave: The College takes the following actions:
    1. The College requires certification that the employee is or is not capable of performing the job based upon a report from a health care provider and the job description, which outlines necessary job functions.
    2. If the employee cannot return to work after the twelve (12) week FMLA leave based upon a medical examination, the employee may apply for a further leave of absence in accordance with the appropriate policies in The Policies and Procedures Manual or the appropriate collective bargaining unit agreements.
    3. If an employee elects not to return to work, the College recovers the cost of the health insurance paid by the College while the employee was on FMLA leave. If the employee cannot return to work due events beyond his/her control, insurance costs may be recovered.
  14. Employee Status After Leave: The employee is returned to his/her previous or equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and any other terms or conditions.
  15. Unlawful Acts by Employers: FMLA makes it unlawful for any employer to:
    1. Interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under FMLA;
    2. Discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by FMLA or for involvement in any proceeding under or relating to FMLA.
  16. Enforcement: An employee may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or may bring a private lawsuit against an employer.FMLA does not affect any Federal or State law prohibiting discrimination, or supersede any State or local law or collective bargaining agreement which provides greater family or medical leave rights.  For additional information:  1-866-4US-WAGE.


  1. Highest Paid Employees: Employees within the highest paid ten percent (10%) of the College’s workforce at the time of the leave may be denied reinstatement if it causes “substantial and grievous injury” to the College’s operations as defined in FMLA.  No employee within the Spoon River College Faculty Association and Spoon River College Classified Staff Association bargaining units shall be considered a “key employee” as described by the Act.
  2. Employees on Disciplinary Action: Employees on formal or informal disciplinary action are entitled to FMLA leave.
  3. Layoffs and Reorganizations: In the event of reorganization, layoff, or similar action, employees are subject to whatever job changes that might have occurred whether or not the employee was on leave and is subject to contractual provisions imposed on other bargaining unit employees.


  1. Procedure for Requesting FMLA Leave (not related to The Support for Injured Servicemembers Act of 2007):
    1. Employee requests FMLA leave at least thirty (30) days prior to the anticipated leave date. In cases of emergency, contact the appropriate supervisor as soon as possible.
    2. Upon notification or knowledge of an FMLA leave, the Human Resources Director provides the employee with a Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities Form. The Human Resources Director may request completion of a Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition Form, if applicable.
    3. Upon review of all documentation, the Human Resources Director provides the employee with a Designation Notice and informs the appropriate supervisor of the employee’s FMLA leave.
    4. The Human Resources Director monitors the leave and provides necessary information to the employee’s supervisor.
    5. During the final week of FMLA, employees are required to contact the Human Resources Director to make reinstatement arrangements. A Fitness-For-Duty Certificate may be requested to be restored to employment.
  2. Procedure for Requesting Leave for 1) a covered family member’s active duty or call to active duty in the Armed Forces or 2) to care for an injured or ill service member:
    1. Employee requesting this type of FMLA leave must provide notice with an explanation of the reason(s) for the needed leave to the Human Resources Director.
    2. Leave may commence as soon as the individual receives the active duty orders or other documentation issued by the military.
    3. If the leave is foreseeable, the employee must provide a written request for leave and reasons(s) to the Human Resources Office.
    4. The College will provide individual notice of rights and obligations to each employee requesting leave as soon as practicable.