Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The University of Oklahoma provides leave in accordance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 designed to enable employees to balance their work responsibilities with the demands of caring for family members or in the event of serious personal illness or injury.

Eligibility

Employees are eligible if they have been employed by the University for at least 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding the absence. With proper documentation, eligible employees may receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period. The university designates the FMLA calendar year as a 12-month period measured forward from the date of an employee's first FMLA event.  FMLA is available for the following types of absences:
  • An employee's own serious health condition
  • The serious health condition of an employee's immediate family member
  • Caring for a newborn or newly-placed adopted child or foster child
  • Certain qualifying exigencies arising out of a covered military member's active duty status, or notification of an impending call or order to active duty status, in support of a contingency operation. Qualifying exigency leave is only available to a family member of a military member in the National Guard or Reserves. Qualifying exigencies include:
    • Issues arising from short notice deployment (seven or less days of notice)
    • Military events and related activities, such as official ceremonies, programs, or events sponsored by the military or family support or assistance programs
    • Certain childcare and related activities
    • Making or updating financial and legal arrangements
    • Attending counseling
    • Taking up to five days of leave to spend time with a covered military member who is on short-term rest and recuperation leave
    • Attending to certain post-deployment activities, including attending arrival ceremonies, reintegration briefings and events for a period of 90 days following the termination of active duty status and addressing issues arising from the death of a covered military member
    • Any other event that the employee and employer agree is a qualifying exigency.
  • Eligible employees may qualify for up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member recovering from a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty. These eligible employees are entitled to a combined total of up to 26 weeks of all types of FMLA leave during the single 12-month period.

Designation of FMLA Administrator

The "administrator" designation is given to the office or person responsible for reviewing and responding to the employee request for FMLA leave and for determining whether an absence is FMLA qualifying.
  • Norman campus: Human Resources is the administrator for FMLA and is responsible for ensuring compliance. 
  • Health Sciences Center (OKC): Human Resources is responsible for administering FMLA and monitoring compliance.
  • Tulsa campus : FMLA administration has been delegated to the department or college. Human Resources is responsible for monitoring compliance.

Critical Dates for FMLA Administrators

Responsible administrators will review and respond to employees FMLA requests within a reasonable time after notice of the need for leave is given by the employee—within five business days, if feasible. This response provides the specific obligations and expectations of a FMLA leave and any consequences of failure to meet the obligations.

FMLA Responsibilities - Employees, Supervisors, Administrators, HR

The employee requesting leave:

  • Must give the department at least 30 days notice of the leave, whenever possible.
  • Must attempt to schedule a foreseeable leave so as not to unduly disrupt the department's operation.
  • In the case of unexpected disability, must make a request as soon as practical.
  • Obtains medical certification or other documentation needed to support request for FMLA absence.

Supervisors:

  • Send employee FMLA requests or otherwise notify FMLA Administrator of employee absences that may be qualifying.
  • Track and report FMLA qualifying absences.

FMLA Administrator:

  • Review and respond to requests for leave that may be FMLA qualifying.
  • Maintain University records of FMLA requests and action taken pursuant to those requests, including but not limited to initial requests, certifications, employer responses to requests.

Human Resources:

  • Advises supervisors on how to inform employees about FMLA leaves and/or approves requests for leave.
  • Advises supervisors on how to document all leaves appropriately.
  • Informs employees of FMLA leave requirements.

Leave Requests

Eligible employees interested in FMLA should:
  • Request from FMLA information and forms from their supervisor or the FMLA administrator.
  • Complete the form as appropriate and return the signed form to the FMLA administrator. If the leave is 'foreseeable', a 30-day advance notice is requested along with the completed forms. If such a notice is not provided, the leave could be denied.

Response to Leave Requests

  • Supervisors or the campus FMLA administrator should provide FMLA certification forms to employees within five business days of a request.
  • FMLA forms are to be returned directly to the FMLA administrator.
  • All documentation to support or deny a leave request shall be maintained by the FMLA administrator. 
  • All documentation shall be considered confidential and should only be reviewed by the FMLA administrator. 
  • Any documentation received by supervisors should be sent directly to the FMLA administrator; copies of FMLA certification forms should not be retained within the departmental file.  
  • Require the employee to use, concurrently with the FMLA leave, paid leave, extended sick leave, and compensatory time.

Placing Employee on FMLA Leave Without Request

In addition to approving an employee request for leave under FMLA, the Act allows an employer to place an employee on FMLA leave without a specific request. This can occur when the employer has cause to believe that the period of absence is FMLA-qualifying.

In such situations, the supervisors or responsible administrators should:

  • Notify the employee that they are being placed on a FMLA leave when appropriate and provide them with the FMLA information and forms.
  • Inform the employee how their accrued leave will be used: An employee is required to use concurrently with the FMLA leave, the following paid leaves in the order listed:
    • paid time off, followed by
    • extended sick leave to which the employee is entitled.

Employees should:

  • Complete the form as appropriate and return the signed form to the FMLA administrator for processing.

Leave Documentation

  • FMLA leave must be recorded on the employee time report.
  • Paid and unpaid FMLA leave are to be documented in HR PeopleSoft Human Capital Management. Payroll Coordinators can find information about recording leave here. 

Consider This

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Documents

FMLA
These forms are used for leave under the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
FMLA - FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT POSTER
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
FMLA EMPLOYEE REQUEST FOR LEAVE (NORMAN ONLY - OPTIONAL)
Campus: Norman
FMLA EMPLOYEE'S OWN HEALTH CONDITION
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
FMLA HEALTH OF A FAMILY MEMBER
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
FMLA HEALTH OF A MILITARY SERVICE MEMBER
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
FMLA QUALIFYING EXIGENCY FOR MILITARY FAMILY LEAVE
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
FMLA BIRTH/CARE OF A CHILD
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
FMLA ADOPTION/PLACEMENT OF A CHILD
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
FMLA TRACKING FORM (NORMAN ONLY - OPTIONAL)
Campus: Norman