The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law in 1993, for the purpose of guaranteeing job protection to eligible employees who are absent from work due to specified family, family military and medical reasons defined in the law.
FMLA provides up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period. If an employee qualifies for paid leave for the absence (such as sick leave, short-term disability or workers compensation), the paid leave and unpaid leave will run concurrently.
If the FMLA-qualifying absence is for a reason that does not qualify for pay continuation as outlined above, the employee may either use vacation time, if available, or take the leave without pay. If the employee has a grandfathered sick time bank (June 30, 2005), they may use this time to care for an eligible family member who has a serious health condition when approved under the FMLA or for their own serious health condition when approved under FMLA but not under short-term disability (STD).
During FMLA leave, an employee's job is protected. This means that when you return from an absence covered by FMLA, you must be restored to your original job, or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay and benefits. In addition, your use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that you earned or were entitled to before you used the time off. To qualify for FMLA job protection, you are required to report your absence to Prudential as soon as possible, but without exception, no later than two business days after learning of the need for leave. Refer to the Short-Term Disability summary for details on reporting absences.
For FMLA eligibility purposes, the 12-month period is a rolling 12 months, counted backward from the first day an employee takes FMLA leave.
FMLA provides job-protected leave under the following situations:
Care of the employee's newborn child, within the first 12 months following birth.
Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care, within the first 12 months following the placement.
Care of the employee's spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition.
Inability of the employee to perform one or more essential functions of his or her own job due to the employee's own serious health condition.
Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the National Guard, Reserves or from military retirement status in support of a contingency operation and for members of the regular Armed Forces deployed to a foreign country. Leave may be taken for (1) short notice deployment; (2) military events and related activities; (3) childcare and school activities; (4) financial and legal arrangements; (5) counseling; (6) rest and recuperation; (7) post-deployment activities; (8) parental care for the service member’s parent who is not capable of caring for him or herself if the care is necessitated by the service member’s absence due to active duty; and (9) additional miscellaneous activities. The limit for qualified exigency leave is to a maximum of 15 days.
Military Caregiver Leave provides employees up to 26 work weeks of leave during a single 12 month period to care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent or nearest blood relative (“next of kin”) who is a covered current service member or a covered veteran. A “covered current service member” is a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy in outpatient status, or on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness that occurred in the line of duty while on active duty or includes injuries that preexisted that service member’s active duty that were aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty. A “covered veteran” is a member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard or Reserves who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable and was discharged within the five year period before the eligible employee first takes FMLA military caregiver leave who is undergoing medical treatment for an injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces or one that preexisted active duty which was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty. The injury or illness may manifest itself either before or after the member became a veteran and must fit one of the four categories of injuries/illnesses enumerated in the Final Rule. Service Member Family Leave will only be available during a single 12 month period. Service Member Family Leave may be taken intermittently, but must be taken within 12 months of when it begins. During the single 12 month period, an eligible employee is entitled to a total of 26 work weeks of leave under both FMLA and Service Member Family Leave.
Care of an employee's domestic partner with a serious health condition does not qualify for FMLA leave under the Federal law. However, RIT strives to treat domestic partners similarly to spouses whenever legally possible. Therefore, RIT will provide leave that is equivalent to FMLA leave for absences taken to care for an employee's domestic partner with a serious health condition. In order to use this benefit, the employee must have an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership on file with RIT Human Resources. Information about domestic partner benefits and the process for completing the affidavit can be found on the Human Resources website at https://www.rit.edu/humanresources/domestic-partner-benefits/.
Care of another individual, such as a parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, etc., does not qualify for FMLA leave under the Federal law. This type of leave is granted at the discretion of the employee's supervisor, and is not eligible for FMLA job protection.
"Absence" includes full and partial days of absence. It also includes intermittent leave, in as little as 1-hour blocks, or a reduced leave schedule, under certain circumstances described in the law.
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 within two business days of learning of the need for leave and generally must comply with RIT's normal call-in procedures.
Employees must provide sufficient information to determine 1) if the leave qualifies for FMLA protection and 2) the anticipated 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 identify 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 a leave.
Covered employers must inform employees who are requesting leave whether or not they are eligible under FMLA. If the employee is eligible, the notice must specify any additional information required as well as the employees' rights and responsibilities. If the employee is not eligible, the notice must provide a reason for ineligibility.
Covered employers 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 employer determines that the leave is not FMLA protected, the employer must notify the employee.
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 which provides greater family or medical leave rights.
Employees who will be absent are required to call (or have someone else call) their immediate supervisor or the department head within a minimum of one hour of their scheduled reporting time. You do not need to give details about your medical condition, just let him or her know that you are unable to work.
Prudential, RIT's insurance company for short-term and long-term disability benefits (as well as life insurance and accidental death & dismemberment insurance), provides disability management services to RIT and its employees. You should also contact Prudential by phone or through their website to report your absence. Prudential's toll-free phone number is 1-877-908-4778 and their website address is www.prudential.com/mybenefits. Contact Prudential for your absence in the following situations:
First, report your absence for leave or disability to your supervisor. Then report it to Prudential when:
You will be absent for more than three days and are under a physician's care
You are hospitalized for any amount of time
You are caring for an ill or injured qualified family member (spouse, parent, or dependent child)
You are pregnant or are absent from work due to pregnancy complications
You will be absent periodically due to a chronic or permanent disabling condition of your own or a qualified family member
You are caring for a newborn child, recently adopted child, or new foster child.
You are absent due to a lost-time, work-related injury - after first reporting it to your supervisor
If your absence is planned in advance, you may contact Prudential before your absence begins. This may be the case, for instance, if you are undergoing elective surgery, or for a maternity disability.
The sooner you call, the better. If you don't call Prudential, your pay may be delayed for days you qualify for Short-Term Disability benefits.
If you are unsure whether you should call Prudential to report your absence, go ahead and call. The Prudential representative will review your situation and determine what the next steps are.
The employee's child (including adopted, foster, stepchild and child for whom the employee has been appointed legal guardian) who is under age 18, or age 18 or over if the child has a serious health condition and is incapable of self-care due to a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more of his or her life activities.
An illness or injury that is not work related, and results in absence from work which is certified by a physician. Pregnancy-related conditions resulting in absence are also considered disabilities by law.
The employee's spouse, domestic partner (for whom an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership is on file with RIT Human Resources), child (including adopted, foster, stepchild and child for whom the employee has been appointed legal guardian), and parent.
An illness, impairment, physical or mental condition that involves:
inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care
continuing treatment by a health care provider. This includes, but is not limited to:
A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity that also involves continuing treatment by a health care provider
A period of incapacity due to pregnancy or prenatal care
A period of incapacity or treatment for such incapacity due to a chronic serious health condition
A period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective
A period of absence to receive multiple treatments, including any period of recovery, for restorative surgery after an accident or other injury or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment
Provides benefits for an illness or injury that occurs on the job.
State Leave Laws
Along with the regulations that govern the federal Family and Medical Leave Act , New York State employers with 20 or more employees are required to comply with state leave laws.
New York State has the following state leave laws:
Bone Marrow Donor Leave
Provides up to 24 hours of unpaid leave to seek or undergo a medical procedure to donate bone marrow.
Witness or Victim Act
Provides unpaid leave to appear as a witness, consult with the DA, exercise legal rights in connection with criminal procedure law or Family Court.
Leave for Military Spouses
Provides up to 10 days of unpaid leave to an employee whose spouse is a member of the armed forces of the United States, national guard or reserves who has been deployed during a period of military conflict, to a combat theater or combat zone of operations, and is on leave while deployed.
Blood Donation Leave
Grants one leave of absence (up to 3 hours) of unpaid leave in any calendar year to an employee who seeks to donate blood off premises, or provides paid time to donate blood during working hours at least two times per year at an employer-sponsored blood drive at the workplace.
FICA Tax (Social Security and Medicare)
As required by law, RIT matches the employee's FICA tax contributions. There are two components of the FICA tax: 1) Social Security, and 2) Medicare. The employee and RIT contributions for Social Security provide retirement, disability and dependent benefits. The employee and RIT contributions for Medicare fund Medicare Part A. The employee Social Security and Medicare deductions are made automatically each pay period and are combined with RIT's contributions and forwarded to the Federal Government for these programs.
New York State Disability
New York State Disability is described in the Sick Leave and Short Term Disability section of this booklet.
Employees who terminate may be eligible for New York State unemployment insurance benefits. Employees should check with the New York State Department of Labor, Unemployment Insurance Division, to investigate possible eligibility.
For more information about Workers' Compensation, please visit the Workers Compensation information page.