Family and Medical Leave Act Compliance

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a United States labor law requiring covered employers to provide employees with job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons.

Eligible employees are allowed, by the law, to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to care for a new child, care for a seriously ill family member, or recover from a serious illness.

To comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), pastors, principals and record keepers should:

  1. Not approve or deny FMLA leave, but instead consult with the diocesan Director of Human Resources before making this decision.
  2. Notify HR whenever they become aware an employee is requesting time off for a medical condition.
  3. Not assume someone is eligible for FMLA leave just because he or she has a serious health condition. The diocesan Human Resources director can assist in making an eligibility determination.
  4. Realize the medical certification process can be time-consuming but is a key method to curb leave abuse, particularly with intermittent leave.
  5. Ask Human Resources what medical certifications say about the amount of leave time needed or expected, track employees’ actual leave, and let HR know if the amounts do not match so HR might request a recertification.
  6. Remember the reasons underlying an FMLA leave are often sensitive and so be mindful of confidentiality.
  7. Not require employees on FMLA leave to work.
  8. Be ready to explain to employees the diocese’s policy about vacation and sick time running concurrently with FMLA leave. If pastors, principals or directors are not confident in their understanding, they should refer employees to the diocesan Human Resources Office.
  9. Know that the FMLA guarantees employees will be restored to the same or equivalent position at the end of FMLA leave.
  10. Ensure that no one is retaliated against for exercising FMLA rights.
  11. Know that additional leave may be required by the Americans with Disabilities Act or state law.

To assist you in tracking FMLA leave, an Excel spreadsheet is attached. Its use is purely optional; however, it provides a quick and easy method of determining ongoing eligibility and is particularly helpful when tracking intermittent leave. To use the form, simply delete the information in the yellow boxes and insert your own data.