Superior School District
Bylaws & Policies
 

4430.01 - FAMILY & MEDICAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE ("FMLA")

Introduction

In accordance with Federal and State law, the Board of Education will provide family and medical leave to support staff. The Board's Family and Medical Leave Act policy is intended to conform to and comply with, but not exceed, the requirements of the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA") and the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act ("WFMLA"). To the extent that this policy is ambiguous or conflicts with the FMLA or the WFMLA, the FMLA and the WFMLA will govern.

Family and medical leave taken under this policy may be covered by Federal law, State law, or both. When leave taken by a staff member under this policy is governed by both Federal and State law, the more generous provision will control in the event of a conflict. However, when leaves are governed by State or Federal law, but not both, the applicable law will control under this policy. In this regard, you should note that certain leaves may be covered by both State and Federal law for only a portion of the leave. To the extent permitted by law, leave under the FMLA, leave under the WFMLA and leave granted under the Board's other policies will run concurrently (at the same time).

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for leave under the FMLA, you must have been employed by the Board for at least twelve (12) months in the past seven (7) years and must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the twelve (12) month period immediately preceding the commencement of the requested leave. All full-time instructional staff members are deemed to meet the 1,250 hour requirement.

To be eligible for leave under the WFMLA, you must have been employed for more than fifty-two (52) consecutive weeks and have worked or been paid for at least 1,000 hours in the preceding fifty-two (52) weeks. The kind and amount of leave available to you under this policy, as well as your rights during leave, depend upon whether you satisfy the above requirements.

Qualifying Reasons for Leave

The Board provides family and medical leave for eligible staff members under the following circumstances:

 

A.

for the birth of the eligible staff member's child and to care for a newborn child

   
 

B.

for placement with the eligible staff member of a child for adoption or foster care

   
 

C.

to care for an eligible staff member's spouse, child or parent with a "serious health condition"

   
 

The term "child" generally includes a legal ward or a biological, adopted foster or stepchild. For leaves governed exclusively by the FMLA, the term also includes a son or daughter for whom you have assumed the day-to-day obligations of a parent. A child must be either under eighteen (18) years of age or unable to care for himself/herself due to a physical or mental disability or, for leave under State law only, unable to care for himself/herself due to a serious health condition.

   
 

"Parent" includes a staff member's spouse's legal guardian only if you are requesting leave under the WFMLA.

   
 

"Spouse" includes a qualified domestic partner for leaves governed by the WFMLA. Domestic partnerships must be registered with the county of residence and proof of such registration may be requested prior to approval of leave. Unregistered domestic partners must demonstrate that they are 1) both over age eighteen (18); 2) not in a domestic partnership or marriage with another individual; 3) they share a common residence; 4) they are not related in any way that would prohibit marriage under Wisconsin law; 5) they consider each other to be immediate family members and agree to be responsible for the other's living expense.

 

D.

because of a serious health condition that makes the eligible staff member unable to perform the essential functions of his/her position

   
 

E.

because of a qualifying exigency resulting from active military service by the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent in covered active duty or call to covered active duty in the United States Armed Forces including the National Guard and Reserves

   
   

Qualifying exigencies, as defined by Federal regulations, include: 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; and 8) additional activities not encompassed in the other categories, but agreed to by the employer and employee. Covered active duty means deployment with the Armed Forces to a foreign country.

     
 

F.

to care for a service member who is the employee's parent, spouse, child or next of kin who, while on active military duty, sustains a serious injury or illness or aggravation of a pre-existing illness or injury while in the line of duty, while on covered active duty in the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, which renders the service member medically unfit to perform the member's office, grade, rank, or rating.

     
   

Covered active duty means deployment with the Armed Forces to a foreign country. This leave is also available to care for veterans of the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, provided the veteran was a service member at any time within the five (5) years prior to the start of the treatment, recuperation or therapy. Leave is available for up to twenty-six (26) weeks in a twelve (12) month period. This type of leave is available for serious injury or illness which results in:

   
 

1.

inpatient medical treatment, recuperation or therapy;

   
 

2.

outpatient services at a military treatment facility or assignment to a unit established for the purpose of providing command and control of service members receiving outpatient medical services; or

   
 

3.

assignment to the temporary disability retired list.

   
 

The maximum twenty-six (26) weeks of Federal leave to care for a service member includes, and is not in addition to, all other FMLA leave. In other words, employees may not take more than a total of twenty-six (26) weeks of FMLA leave during a single twelve (12) month period for any qualifying reasons under the FMLA. For instance, if an employee takes the maximum twelve (12) weeks of Federal FMLA leave for his/her own serious health condition, the employee may then only take fourteen (14) weeks of FMLA leave within that same twelve (12) month period to care for a military family member injured in the line of duty.

See the District Administrator to determine whether your request for leave qualifies under one (1) of the above categories.

Amount of Leave Available

Under the FMLA, if the staff member satisfies the eligibility requirements set forth above, s/he is entitled to a total of twelve (12) work weeks of leave in a calendar year for any of the reasons stated above, with the exception of leave to care for an injured service member, which is provided as described in (F) above.

Under the WFMLA, if the staff member satisfies the eligibility requirements set forth above, s/he is entitled to ten (10) work weeks of leave in a calendar year as follows:

 

A.

a total of six (6) weeks of leave for the birth of his/her natural child and/or the placement of a child with the staff member for, or as a precondition to, adoption;

   
 

B.

a total of two (2) weeks of leave to care for a covered family member with a serious health condition; and

   
 

C.

a total of two (2) weeks of leave due to the staff memberís serious health condition.

Board policy calls for concurrent Federal/State leave coverage whenever a staff member is eligible for leave under both the FMLA and WFMLA to the extent available under the law.

Definitions of Serious Health Conditions

In conjunction with the certification provided by a healthcare provider, the Board reserves the right to determine whether an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition constitutes a serious health condition entitling a staff member to family or medical leave under State or Federal law.

In general, a "serious health condition" under this policy means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves one (1) of the following:

 

A.

Hospital Care

   
 

Inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital or other care facility, including any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with or consequent to such inpatient care.

   
 

B.

Absence Plus Treatment

   
 

A period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive calendar days* (including any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition), that also involves:

     
 

1.

treatment two (2) or more times by a healthcare provider, a nurse, physicianís assistant or physical therapist under a healthcare providerís supervision, order or referral as appropriate within thirty (30) days of the first date of incapacity; or

   
 

2.

treatment by a healthcare provider on at least one (1) occasion which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the healthcare provider and occurs within seven (7) days of the first day of incapacity.

   
 

*Under the WFMLA, leave may also be available for a "serious health condition" of less than three (3) consecutive days in duration.

   
 

C.

Pregnancy

   
 

Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care.

   
 

D.

Chronic Conditions Requiring Treatment

   
 

A chronic condition which:

   
 

1.

requires periodic visits of at least two (2) times per year for treatment by a healthcare provider, or by a nurse or physicianís assistant under a healthcare providerís supervision;

   
 

2.

continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of a single underlying condition); and

   
 

3.

may cause episodic rather than continuing periods of incapacity (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.).

   
 

E.

Permanent/Long-Term Conditions Requiring Supervision

   
 

A period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. You or your family member must be under the continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a healthcare provider (e.g., Alzheimerís disease, a severe stroke, or the terminal stages of a disease). The continued existence of such a chronic condition is subject to certification no more than once every six (6) months.

   
 

F.

Multiple Treatments (Non-Chronic Conditions)

   
 

Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery therefrom) by a healthcare provider or by a provider of healthcare services under orders of, or on referral by, a healthcare provider, either 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 (3) consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment, including: cancer (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.); severe arthritis (physical therapy); or kidney disease (dialysis).

Required Staff Member Notice

The staff member must provide the District Administrator with notice in a reasonable and practicable manner before leave taken under this policy is to begin, if the need for leave is foreseeable (e.g., an expected birth, placement or adoption or foster care, or planned medical treatment for your own serious health condition or that of a family member). When requesting partial or intermittent leave in connection with childbirth or adoption, the staff member must provide at least as much notice as required for taking other non-emergency or non-medical leave, as well as a definite schedule for the leave. Where advance notice is not practical due to uncertainty as to when leave will be required to begin, a change in circumstances or medical emergency, notice must be given as soon as practical.

The staff member must provide a written request for leave, the reasons for the requested leave, and the anticipated beginning date and duration of the leave by submitting a FMLA leave request form to the District Administrator (forms available from the U.S. Department of Labor).

When planning medical treatment, the staff member should consult with his/her supervisor and make a reasonable effort to schedule the leave so as not to disrupt unduly the Districtís operations, subject to the approval of the staff memberís healthcare provider. The staff member is ordinarily expected to consult with his/her supervisor in order to work out a treatment schedule which best suits his/her needs, as well as the Districtís.

If a staff member must take more leave than originally anticipated, s/he must notify the District Administrator within two (2) business days of learning of the circumstances necessitating the extension.

Certification By Healthcare Provider

If a staff member requests leave due to his/her own serious health condition or the serious health condition of his/her spouse, child or parent, the Board requires that the leave request be supported by certification issued and signed by the healthcare provider for the individual with a serious health condition. The Board reserves the right to certify all information permitted by law.

The staff member must provide the fully completed certification to the District Administrator within fifteen (15) calendar days of the date that the certification is provided to the staff member, unless it is not practicable to do so despite the staff member's diligent, good faith efforts. If it is not practicable to return the certification within fifteen (15) calendar days, it must be returned to the District Administrator as soon as practicable.

If the staff member fails to submit the certification, the leave or continuation of leave may be delayed until the certification is submitted. Further, any absence prior to the date the certification is furnished may be considered unauthorized. A staff member who is absent without authorization may be disciplined, up to and including termination.

The District Administrator will give a staff member a reasonable opportunity to cure any deficiency in a certification, but not fewer than seven (7) calendar days. It is the responsibility of the staff member or family member with a serious health condition to use a healthcare provider who will complete and furnish an accurate certification in a timely manner.

A member of the administration, other than the staff member's direct supervisor, may contact the healthcare provider to obtain answers to unanswered questions on the form or to clarify illegible answers and to authenticate the Certification.

If the District Administrator doubts the validity of a Certification, it may require, at the Boardís expense, that the staff member obtain a second opinion from a Board-designated provider, not regularly employed by the Board. If the opinions of the staff member's and the Boardís healthcare providers differ, a third, final and binding opinion may be obtained. The staff member must cooperate in obtaining a second or third opinion including facilitating the transfer of pertinent records to the subsequent healthcare providers.

The District Administrator may request re-certifications on a periodic basis as permitted by law.

Designation of Leave

In all circumstances, it is the responsibility of the District Administrator to designate leave, whether paid or unpaid, as FMLA leave and to give the staff member notice of the designation and his/her rights and responsibilities under this policy.

The District Administrator will give the staff member the Notice on each occasion that s/he notifies his/her supervisor of the need for leave that may be FMLA-qualifying, including, but not limited to, when the staff member requests another type of leave for an FMLA-qualifying reason. In the case of intermittent or reduced schedule leave, only one notice will be provided unless the circumstances regarding the leave have changed.

Absent extenuating circumstances, the District Administrator will, at a minimum, verbally notify the staff member whether leave is being designated as FMLA leave within two business days of the date the staff member provides information to the District Administrator sufficient to enable him/her to determine that the leave is being taken for an FMLA-qualifying reason.

The District Administrator will confirm the verbal notice with the written notice as soon as feasible, but no later than the first payday following the verbal notice (unless the payday is less than one (1) week after the verbal notice, in which case the notice must be no later than the subsequent payday).

Manner In Which Leave Can Be Taken

Leave available under this policy may be taken in full and, under certain circumstances, may also be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule. Intermittent leave is leave taken in separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason. Reduced schedule leave is leave that reduces the usual number of working hours per day or week. The staff member must consult with his/her supervisor and make a reasonable effort to schedule intermittent or reduced schedule leave so it does not unduly disrupt the Districtís operations.

Intermittent or reduced schedule leave due to a serious health condition must be medically necessary. Medically necessary means there must be a medical need for the leave and the leave can be best accommodated through an intermittent or reduced leave schedule, as certified by the healthcare provider in the Certification.

When leave is governed only by the FMLA, the District Administrator may offer a staff member a temporary transfer to another position for which s/he is qualified with equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates the intermittent or reduced schedule leave when the need for leave is foreseeable based on planned medical treatment or the staff member takes such leave for the birth of a child or for placement of a child for adoption or foster care. The staff member may reject this offer in which case there will be no adverse effect on the leave or entitlement to return to the same or similar position following leave. Any time spent by the staff member in an alternative position will not count against the employee's FMLA leave entitlement.

Coordinating Leaves - Substitution

Generally, leave taken under this policy is unpaid. However, for leave governed exclusively by the FMLA, the staff member may use the following leaves provided by the Board, if available:

 

A.

vacation or personal leave, if available, for any family or medical leave;

   
 

B.

accrued paid family leave (i.e., paid leave covering the particular circumstances for which the staff member is seeking leave), if available, for birth, adoption, or to care for a seriously ill family member; and

   
 

C.

accrued paid medical or sick leave, if available, to care for a seriously ill family member, or for the staff memberís own serious health condition.

A staff member may not substitute paid leave for unpaid FMLA leave taken under this policy in any situation where the Board would not normally provide such paid leave.

For leaves governed by the WFMLA, a staff member may substitute paid or unpaid leave, which s/he have earned and accrued, for leave taken under this policy, if available. The Board reserves the right to deny substitution as permitted by law.

Any paid leave substituted for unpaid FMLA leave or WFMLA leave will decrease, in whole or in part, the staff memberís FMLA and/or WFMLA leave entitlement.

Continuation of Benefits

A staff member will remain eligible for group health insurance benefits under the Boardís group health plan during leave taken under this policy under the same conditions as coverage would have been provided if the staff member had been actively employed during the entire leave. However, the staff member has the option of choosing not to retain such coverage during family or medical leave.

During leave taken under this policy, the Board will continue to pay any portion of group health insurance premiums for coverage that it was responsible for paying immediately prior to the leave as required by law. The staff member will be responsible for paying his/her portion of health insurance premiums regardless of whether his/her family and medical leave is paid or unpaid. It is the staff memberís responsibility to make arrangements with the District Administrator for making premium payments for group health insurance during leaves.

To the extent permitted by law, the Board reserves the right to require the staff member to place up to eight (8) weeks of health insurance premiums in escrow prior to leave, or to discontinue coverage if such premiums are received more than thirty (30) days late.

The staff memberís entitlement to benefits other than group health benefits during a period of family or medical leave is determined by the Boardís policy regarding provision of such benefits when a staff member is on other types of leave.

If a staff member fails to return to work or fails to remain at work for a period provided under the law, the District may recover its portion of the premiums paid for medical benefit coverage during the leave, unless the reason for the staff member's failure to return to work is due to the continuation of the serious health condition or the onset of a new serious health condition.

Accrual of Benefits

The use of leave under this policy will not result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of the staff memberís leave. A staff member will not continue to accrue seniority or any other employment benefit during leave taken under this policy, except that such benefit shall accrue if the staff member elects to use other leaves provided by the Board, and if such benefits would normally accrue during such leave.

Employment Restoration

A staff member will generally be reinstated to the same position s/he held when leave began or a position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment, if such position remains available, and the staff member possesses the ability to perform the essential functions of the job satisfactorily, with or without any accommodation that may be required by the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. The staff member, however, has no greater right to reinstatement or benefits than if s/he had been actively employed during the leave. Further, if the staff member gives unequivocal notice of intent not to return to work, s/he is not entitled to be reinstated.

A staff member who exceeds his/her FMLA/WFMLA leave, but remains off work under a non-FMLA/WFMLA leave policy, is not entitled to reinstatement to the same or a similar position under the FMLA/WFMLA; however, the staff member may be eligible to be reinstated under the non-FMLA/WFMLA leave policy.

A staff member who is able to return to work prior to the expiration of leave must notify his/her supervisor immediately. Upon such notice, the District Administrator will promptly reinstate the staff member to active employment, provided s/he has the present skill and ability to perform the essential functions of his/her job satisfactorily with or without accommodation. However, the reinstatement need not occur until the third business day following the staff member's notification of his/her ability to return to work.

Fitness For Duty Certification

If leave is due to the staff memberís serious health condition, s/he must present certification to return to work to his/her supervisor upon returning to work. The staff memberís principal attending physician must complete the certification. The certification must indicate that the staff member has been released to return to work. It must also specify any physical or other limitation on the staff memberís ability to perform regular or other duties and the duration of the limitations. No certification will be required when the staff member returns from intermittent leave, except as otherwise permitted or required by the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.

The certification will be limited to the particular health condition that caused the staff memberís need for leave, except as otherwise permitted by the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. If the staff member is an "individual with a disability" within the meaning of the ADA, any fitness-for-duty physical examination or inquiry by the District will be job related and consistent with business necessity.

Reinstatement may be delayed until the staff member submits the certification. Under such circumstances, if the staff member does not promptly provide a certification or qualify for another leave of absence, s/he may be disciplined, up to and including termination.

With the staff memberís permission, the Boardís healthcare provider may contact the staff memberís healthcare provider to clarify and authenticate the certification, but no additional information may be requested or required, and the staff memberís return to work may not be delayed while the contact is being made. No second or third fitness for duty certification may be required.

Confidentiality

All medical information relating to leave, whether written or verbal, shall be kept confidential to the maximum extent possible. All medical documents including, but not limited to, medical certifications and return-to-work statements must be maintained in confidential, secure files separate from personnel files.

No Discrimination

Leave under this policy will not be used as a negative factor in employment actions, such as hiring, promotions, disciplinary actions or under attendance policies.

Miscellaneous

The District Administrator may designate another administrator to perform his/her duties under this policy.

A staff member who fraudulently obtains leave under this policy is not protected by this policyís job restoration or maintenance of health benefits provisions.

The District Administrator shall see that the policy is posted properly.

The District Administrator shall provide a copy of the policy upon the request of a staff member.

29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.
29 C.F.R. Part 825
103.10, Wis. Stats.
Wis. Admin. Department of Workforce Development (DWD) 225
National Defense Authorization Act of 2010

Revised 9/8/08
Revised 8/11/09
Revised 5/11/10
Revised 7/13/10