PPM Section 13 -
Family and Medical Leave of Absence
The University complies with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) in granting family and medical leaves of absence to eligible employees.
Employee Rights and Responsibilities under the Family and Medical Leave Act
Length of leave
The amount of FMLA available to an employee at any given time is measured by a rolling
twelve (12) month period, counted backward from the first day of each occurrence of an FMLA
leave; no more than twelve (12) weeks of FMLA leave may be taken in any such rolling 12-month
- Employees may take family or medical leave as partial absence from employment
(a reduced leave) or on an intermittent basis (intermittent leave), under certain circumstances.
"Reduced leave" means a leave schedule that reduces the number of hours worked
per workweek or per day. A reduced leave is a change in the employee's schedule for a
period of time (i.e., from full-time to part-time while an employee is recovering from
a serious health condition and is not able to work a full-time schedule).
"Intermittent leave" means leave taken in separate periods of time due to a
single illness or injury and may include leave periods from one hour or more to several
- Employees needing an intermittent or a reduced leave schedule must attempt to schedule
their leave so as not to disrupt University operations. At its discretion, the University
may assign an employee to an alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits
that better accommodates the employee's intermittent or reduced leave schedule.
- When leave is taken after the birth of a child or placement of a child for adoption
or foster care, an employee may take leave intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule
only if the University agrees.
- Intermittent leave may also be taken to provide care or psychological comfort to
the employee's spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition, or if the
employee is unable to perform the essential functions of his/her position because
of a chronic serious health condition even if he/she does not receive treatment by
a medical health provider.
- For birth, adoption, or foster care placement, leave availability expires twelve
(12) months after the birth or placement of the employee's child.
- When both spouses are employed by WMU, they will be limited to a combined total
of twelve (12) weeks of FMLA leave (rather than twelve  weeks each) during any twelve
(12) month period for the birth of the employees' child or the placement of a child with
the employees for adoption or foster care.
Pay during leave
Employees have the option to use any portion of their accrued Sick Leave or Annual Leave during
an approved FMLA leave, under the conditions described below.
- Sick leave. Employees may elect (but are not required) to use any portion of
their accrued sick leave while on an approved FMLA leave due to a serious medical condition,
under the terms of the applicable University and/or bargaining group sick leave policy. Employees may elect (but are not required) to use sick leave for up to thirty five (35) days in a rolling year while on approved FMLA leave due to (a) the birth of a son or daughter and the care of such newborn child; or (b) the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, under the terms of the applicable University and/or bargaining group sick leave policy.
- Annual leave. If approved by their supervisor, employees may elect (but are not
required) to use any portion of their annual leave bank while on an approved FMLA leave.
Benefits and seniority
An approved FMLA leave will not result in any loss of seniority or benefits that accrued before
the beginning date of the leave. Such benefits will be available to the employee upon return
from leave in the same manner and at the same terms and conditions as provided when FMLA leave
began, subject to any changes that may have taken place during the period of the leave.
- Employees on a paid FMLA leave continue to be eligible for all payroll-driven
- Retirement plans. For the purposes of vesting and eligibility to participate
in retirement plans, any period of FMLA leave is treated as continuous service.
- Health insurance will continue during an approved (paid or unpaid) FMLA leave
in the same manner as if the employee had been actively working. The University will continue
to provide coverage for the employee. The employee will continue to pay his/her share
of premiums for dependents, if any.
Employees who fail to return to work for at least 30 calendar days after an approved FMLA
leave are required to reimburse the University for health benefits paid during the leave,
unless the employee fails to return because of continued illness or other circumstances
beyond the employee's control.
- Life insurance will continue during any paid portion of the leave, in
the same manner as if the employee had been actively working.
Life insurance coverage may be continued at the employee's expense during any unpaid portion of the leave.
- Long-term disability insurance continues during any paid portion of the
leave, in the same manner as if the employee had been actively working.
Long-term disability insurance may not be continued during any unpaid portion of
the leave. However, if the FMLA leave is the result of the employee's own serious health
condition and that condition also makes the employee eligible for long-term disability
benefits, those benefits remain available to the employee under the terms and conditions
of the long-term disability coverage.