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Human Resources

Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees eligible employees the right to take job-protected unpaid leave, or to substitute appropriate paid leave, for up to 12 work weeks (26 weeks for care for a covered servicemember with a serious illness or injury) in a 12-month period without loss of employment or status for FMLA-qualifying family and medical reasons.

The following information is intended to assist you in understanding and complying with the requirements of the FMLA. If there are discrepancies between this information and the state of Iowa's FMLA policy located at the DAS-HRE Managers and Supervisors Manual, Section 6.90, the policy will govern in all cases.

updated icon  Benefit Guide: FMLA and Extended Illness, Long Term Disability and Death
Quick Access to this Site Frequently Asked Questions
Background FMLA Leave
Effective Date Military Family Leave
Eligibility Q & A from the iLinc Webinars
Leave Entitlement Required Posting
Employee Notice Required Rights and Responsibilities under FMLA
Employer Notices Required Managers and Supervisors Manual
Certification of Serious Health Condition Section 6.90 FMLA Policy
Leave Because of a Qualifying Exigency  
Leave to Care for a Covered
Servicemember
 
Maintenance of Health Insurance Benefits  
Fitness for Duty
Returning from Leave
Unlawful Acts  
Enforcement
FMLA Resources     
U.S. Department of Labor FMLA Regulations
The Employee’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act
FMLA Policy Overview for FMLA Administrators presentation slides
Guidance on Military Leave and Military Pay Differential 2013
FMLA Forms  
FMLA Application & Intent to Return to Work
Leave Retention
Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities
FMLA Designation Notice
Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee's Serious Health Condition
Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member's Serious Health Condition
Return to Work Certification
Military Family Leave Certification Forms
Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave
Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Servicemember for Military Family Leave
Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of a Veteran for Military Caregiver Leave


Background

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federally mandated program that was signed into law on February 5, 1993 and amended by the National Defense Authorization Act on January 28, 2008.

The United States Department of Labor is the Federal agency responsible for FMLA. The Iowa Department of Administrative Services, Human Resources Enterprise, is the state agency that is responsible for administering the program for employees of the State of Iowa.

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Effective Date

FMLA leave was effective for non-contract employees on August 5, 1993 and for contract-covered employees on February 5, 1994. Servicemember family leave to care for a covered military member with an illness or injury in the line of duty was effective January 28, 2008. Servicemember family leave for any qualifying exigency was effective January 16, 2009. Only leave taken on or after the effective date of the Act is considered FMLA leave.

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Eligibility

Any employee who has been employed by the state for a total of at least 12 months in the past seven years and has worked for at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12-month period is eligible. Eligibility determinations are made as of the date that the FMLA leave is to begin.

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Leave Entitlement

If eligible, you are entitled to up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a fiscal year on either a continuous, intermittent, or reduced leave schedule basis for any one or more of the following reasons:

  • The birth of a son or daughter, and to care for the newborn child.
  • Placement with you of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care.
  • To care for the your spouse, son, daughter or parent with a serious health condition.
  • Because of a serious health condition that makes you unable to perform the functions of your job.
  • Because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the your spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in support of a contingency operation.

You are eligible for up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if you are the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of the servicemember. This leave commences on the first day leave is taken to care for the covered servicemember. Eligibility for military caregiver leave expires at the end of the 12-month period from the date leave is first taken.

This leave may be paid or unpaid.

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Employee Notice Required

You, a family member, or spokesperson must complete a FMLA Application & Intent to Return to Work form and submit it to your supervisor. If your employer has reason to know that you qualify for FMLA leave, FMLA applies whether you have submitted certification or not. You must provide initial notification of the need for FMLA to your supervisor at least 30 days calendar days of your need to take foreseeable FMLA leave or as soon as practicable in unforeseen circumstances. If you are not able to provide notice because of your illness or injury, notice may be given by a family member or a spokesperson as soon as practicable.

You must comply with your department's usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for requesting leave. If you do not comply with the usual and customary notice and procedural requirements, FMLA leave may be denied or delayed. Failure to follow sick leave policies could be a basis for discipline.

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Employer Notices Required

When you request FMLA leave, your employer notifies you of your eligibility to take FMLA leave by sending you a Notice of Eligibility and Rights form within five days business days.

The employer will make an FMLA designation of your leave within five business days of receiving sufficient information to make a determination.

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Certification of Serious Health Condition

When leave is for your serious health condition, the health care provider must complete the Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee's Serious Health Condition to satisfy the certification requirement. If you qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits, his or her medical documentation may be accepted for FMLA purposes.

When leave is for your family member’s serious health condition, the health care provider must complete the Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition form. Medical certification is required except in the case of bonding after the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a healthy child. Other confirmation may be required in the case of adoption or foster placement.

If requested, you must provide medical certification to support your FMLA leave. You can be disciplined for failing to return the appropriate medical certification. If your employer requests medical certification for an absence, your employer will advise you of the anticipated consequences of your failure to provide adequate certification. Medical certification shall be obtained and returned to your employer within 15 calendar days of the request or upon return to work from an absence that may qualify as FMLA leave (absent extenuating circumstances). It is your responsibility to pay the fee for completion of the medical certification and travel costs (if applicable). If second or third opinions are required, the state is responsible for the costs.

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Leave Because of a Qualifying Exigency

You may take FMLA leave while your spouse, son, daughter, or parent who is a member of the National Guard or Reserves is on active duty or call to active duty status in support of a contingency operation. Family members of the Regular Armed Forces are not eligible for leave because of a qualifying exigency.

Qualifying exigencies include:

  • Short-notice deployment
  • Military events and related activities
  • Childcare and school activities
  • Financial and legal arrangements
  • Counseling
  • Rest and recuperation
  • Post-deployment activities
  • Additional activities.

You must submit a complete and sufficient Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave form and submit it to your supervisor.

The first time you request leave because of a qualifying exigency, you must provide a copy of the covered military member’s active duty orders or other documentation issued by the military. This documentation must include the dates of the covered military member’s active duty service. This information need only be provided to your supervisor once. A copy of new active duty orders or other documentation issued by the military shall be provided to your supervisor if the need for leave because of a qualifying exigency arises out of a different active duty or call to active duty status of the same or a different covered military member.

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Leave to Care for a Covered Servicemember

You are entitled to FMLA leave to care for a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, or a member of the Armed Forces, the National Guard or Reserves who is on the temporary disability retired list, who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty for which he or she is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy; or otherwise in outpatient status; or otherwise on the temporary disability retired list. You may not take leave under this provision to care for former members of the Armed Forces, the National Guard and Reserves, and members on the permanent disability retired list.

You are entitled to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness during a single 12-month period.

You must complete a “Servicemember Family Leave Application” form (CFN 552-0724) and submit a complete and sufficient Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Servicemember form to your supervisor.

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Maintenance of Health Insurance Benefits

The state of Iowa will maintain group health insurance coverage for an employee on FMLA leave whenever such insurance was provided before the leave was taken and on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work. If applicable, arrangements will need to be made for employees to pay their share of health insurance premiums while on leave.

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Fitness for Duty

When the leave involves your own serious health condition, your employer may require a written release from your health care provider as evidence that you are able to perform the essential functions of your position. You are required to pay for any costs associated with the release including travel. Failure to provide a written release may result in discipline up to and including discharge.

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Returning from Leave

Upon returning from FMLA leave, you are entitled to the same position, or an "equivalent position." An equivalent position is one with the same pay, benefits and working conditions (shift and schedule) and the same or substantially similar duties, conditions, privileges, and status which require equivalent skill, effort, responsibility and authority.

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Unlawful Acts

It is unlawful for your employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided by FMLA. It is also unlawful for your employer to discharge or discriminate against any individual for opposing any practice or because of involvement in any proceeding related to FMLA.

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Enforcement

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor investigates FMLA complains made by employees. If violations cannot be satisfactorily resolved, the U.S. Department of Labor may bring action in court to compel compliance. Employees may also bring a private civil action against an employer for violations.

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Updated 2014-10-20