Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Effective: Moved to Policy Library from UPM 3.5(4)
Updated/Revised:  January 1, 2021
Contact: University Human Resources


Policy Statement
Employee Eligibility
Reasons for Leave
- Family Leave
- Medical Leave
- Servicemember Leave
Notice and Documentation
Paid versus Unpaid Leave
Continuation of Insurance Benefits
Return to Employment After Leave
No Retaliation or Interference


This policy explains the university's provisions regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 

Policy Statement

FMLA provides eligible employees with job-protected leave for qualifying events or circumstances, as described below. Some of those events or circumstances may involve the employee's own health event or circumstance, or may involve the health or military service of the employee's family member, defined below under "Definitions."

Under the FMLA, leave may be taken in continuous full-time periods or may include a reduced or intermittent schedule when medically necessary or for a qualifying exigency due to a call to active duty. When intermittent or reduced schedule leave is needed to care for an immediate family member or for the employee's own illness and is for planned medical treatment, the employee must consult with the supervisor and make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the department's operation.

The university uses a rolling 12-month period to track FMLA leave. The rolling 12-month period calculates leave measured backward from the date an employee uses FMLA leave, each time an employee takes FMLA leave, the remaining leave is the balance of the 12 weeks not used during the immediately preceding 12 months. top

Employee Eligibility

An employee is eligible for FMLA leave if he or she has

  • Been employed by ISU for 12 months, and
  • Worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave.

An employee returning from fulfilling his or her covered active duty will be credited with the hours of work that would have been performed during the period of military service. 

Reasons for Leave

The FMLA allows eligible employees to take leave for the following qualifying events or circumstances.


An employee may take family leave for the following events or circumstances:

  • Birth and care of a child during the first year
  • Adoption or foster placement of a child and care during first year
  • Care for employee's spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent with a diagnosed serious health condition, defined below under "Definitions"

Amount of Leave: Employees taking family leave may take up to twelve (12) work weeks per full time equivalent (FTE) of family leave per rolling twelve-month period. 

Leave for birth, adoption of a child or placement of a foster child must be taken within one year of the birth or placement of the child. If both parents work for ISU and request leave for birth or placement of a child, care of that child in the first year, then each parent will be entitled to twelve weeks of leave. 

Employees are entitled to FMLA leave for the care of the employee’s immediate family member (parent, spouse, or child) with a serious health condition.  Care for parents-in-law is not covered by FMLA.  The university reserves the right to request documentation to confirm relationships. top 


An employee may take leave for his or her own serious health condition, as described below under "Definitions."

Amount of Leave: Employees taking medical leave for their own serious health condition may take up to twelve (12) work weeks per full time equivalent (FTE) of medical leave per rolling twelve-month period either continuously or intermittently.


An employee may take leave in conjunction with a servicemember's call to duty or to care for a servicemember with an injury or illness. A covered servicemember may be a current member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard or Reserves, or a veteran of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard or Reserves. top


Employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent (i.e., the "servicemember") on covered active duty or call to covered active duty may use leave to address certain qualifying exigencies arising out of the active duty or impending active duty.

Examples of qualifying exigencies include attending certain military events, arranging or providing for alternative childcare or school, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, addressing issues arising from short-notice deployment, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings.

Amount of Leave: An employee may take up to twelve (12) work weeks per full time equivalent (FTE) of leave per rolling twelve-month period  either continuously or intermittently. top

Injury or Illness

Employees may also take leave to care for a covered servicemember ("the servicemember") who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty that may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform his or her own duties for which the servicemember is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.

In order to care for the covered servicemember, the employee must be the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or of kin of the servicemember.

Amount of Leave: An employee may take up to twenty-six (26) work weeks per full time equivalent (FTE) of leave per servicemember or per injury/illness during a twelve-month period, beginning on the first day of leave. If both parents work for ISU and request leave for the care for a servicemember, the twenty-six-week total leave period for both employees is combined. The parents do not each have twenty-six weeks of FMLA available in that situation. top

Notice and Documentation

When the need for FMLA leave is foreseeable, the employee shall notify the university within 30 days of the need for FMLA leave by using the FMLA request form. When the need for FMLA leave is not foreseeable, the employee shall notify the university as soon as he/she is aware that FMLA leave is needed. An employee requesting FMLA leave must explain the reasons for the needed leave so as to allow the university to determine whether the leave qualifies under the FMLA policy.

The employee must provide complete and sufficient medical or military documentation in support of a request for FMLA leave. Failure to provide such documentation by the due date given may result in the denial or delay of FMLA. The university may seek a second or third opinion of medical documentation, and may also request reasonable updates of supporting documentation. The employee may also be required to provide documentation of the familial relationship to support servicemember leave.

The university will promptly notify the employee in writing if the employee is eligible for FMLA and, if so, whether the requested leave will be counted as FMLA leave. In certain circumstances the university may designate an absence as FMLA even if the employee did not request FMLA. The university may not retroactively designate an absence as FMLA unless the reasons for the absence were not known to the university at the time leave began.

An employee taking FMLA leave must comply with the department's established call-in procedures appropriate for the situation. When calling in, employees must also inform the department if the requested leave or absence is for a reason for which FMLA was previously taken or certified.

An employee on leave for his or her own medical condition must present a medical release to return to work. The employee may be asked to medically certify that the employee is able to perform the essential functions of the position. Failure to submit a sufficient and complete release may delay the employee's return to work. top

Paid versus Unpaid Leave

FMLA does not provide paid time off. However, employee wages during a FMLA covered absence(s) will be provided in accordance with university policy. Emergency time off may be used concurrently with FMLA under certain circumstances as outlined in the Sick Time Off Policy.

Employees eligible for FMLA will use applicable university paid time off benefits concurrently with FMLA. Leave benefits may be sick time off  and/or vacation/vacation credit dependent on the FMLA reason. If sick time off and/or vacation/vacation credit is exhausted, leave will be unpaid (leave without pay). Employees who are qualified for FMLA leave are eligible to retain up to two weeks (80 hours for full time FTE) of accrued annual "vacation" time off  each calendar year. top

Continuation of Insurance Benefits

During an approved leave, paid or unpaid, ISU will continue to pay the employer share of the employee's medical and dental insurance plan(s). If the employee is responsible for a share of the premium(s) through payroll deduction, the employee must continue to pay his or her share during any unpaid leave.

Life, long term disability and waiver of annuity contribution benefit may be continued at employee expense under the leave without pay rules. If leave is due to an employee's illness, life, long term disability and waiver of annuity contribution benefit coverage may be continued through the policy provisions (see group policy booklet). Contributions to IPERS cannot continue during a period of unpaid FMLA or other form of unpaid leave. top

Return to Employment After Leave

At the end of FMLA leave, an employee must be restored to the job he or she left or one with equivalent benefits, pay and "other terms and conditions of employment." Employees on FMLA must receive any unconditional pay raises that were granted during their absence. If an employee foresees the need for leave beyond the 12 weeks, he or she should contact University Human Resources (Employee/Labor Relations) to discuss the need before the end of the 12 weeks.

The FMLA contemplates that there may be situations when an employee cannot return to employment during or after leave. Termination of employment may occur, for example, while an employee is on leave if there is a layoff or reduction in force, end of appointment, or cause that would otherwise support dismissal, if the employee's job would have been lost if he or she was actively working. Similarly, the employee does not have restoration rights and may be separated if he or she is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation, due to a continuing or new serious health condition. top

No Retaliation or Interference

The FMLA prohibits discrimination and retaliation against an employee who exercises his or her leave rights, and also prohibits interference with those rights. top

Definitions under the FMLA

"Child" may be a biological, adopted, foster, or step child or legal ward, or child of a person standing "in loco parentis" by providing day-to-day care and financial support,, where the child is under age 18, or age 18 or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

"Next of kin" means the nearest blood relative other than the covered servicemember's spouse, parent, son, or daughter, in the following order of priority: blood relatives who have been granted legal custody of the servicemember by court decree or statutory provisions, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins, unless the covered servicemember has specifically designated in writing another blood relative as his or her nearest blood relative for purposes of military caregiver leave under the FMLA.

"Parent" means a biological, adoptive, step or foster parent, or other person who stood "in loco parentis" to a child by providing day-to-day care and financial support. In-laws are not covered by this policy.

"Spouse" means a legal spouse or a common law spouse. This policy also covers domestic partners. Both spouses and domestic partners must have on file an Affidavit of Domestic Relationship to be eligible for leave to care for the spouse or partner.

"Serious health condition" means an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

Rolling twelve-month period” is the twelve-month period measured backward from the date when leave is taken. 

The term ''incapacity'' means inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment therefore, or recovery therefrom.

The term "inpatient care" means an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care or any subsequent treatment in connection with the inpatient care.

The term ''treatment'' includes (but is not limited to) examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists and evaluations of the condition. Treatment does not include routine physical examinations, eye examinations, or dental examinations.

The term "continuing treatment by a health care provider" means any one of the following:

  • A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive full calendar days, and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition that also involves either treatment two or more times within 30 days, or treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion, which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the health care provider
  • Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or prenatal care
  • Any period of incapacity or treatment for such incapacity due to a chronic serious health condition. A chronic serious health condition is one which requires periodic visits (i.e., at least twice per year) for treatment by a health care provider, which continues over an extended period of time, and may cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity.
  • Permanent or long-term conditions
  • Conditions requiring multiple treatments  top


If an employee has concerns or complaints regarding FMLA, the employee may contact University Human Resources. In addition, an employee may file a complaint with the Department of Labor. top