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Family Leave Policies

 

The University of Maine System provides a variety of leave options to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities.  Employees who need leave time for birth or adoption of a child, care of a sick family member, other family responsibilities or Military Family Leave may use disability leave, annual leave, compensatory time, or leave without pay as described below.  More information can also be found on the MyUMS Portal.

This is a summary of complex policies.  For more complete information, refer to the applicable collective bargaining agreement or employee handbook or contact your university Human Resources office.  Questions about leave policies or specific situations can be answered by the Human Resources office.

 

FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE

An employee who requests leave for the employee’s own serious illness (including a workers’ comp injury), the birth or adoption of a child, care for a sick family member who is eligible, or for Military Family Leave for a qualifying exigency for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is entitled to up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave each year.  Employees may request Military Family Leave to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness and are entitled to up to 26 weeks of leave in a year.  Family and Medical Leave may not be denied. Eligible employees are those:

  • who have worked for the University for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive),
  • who have provided at least 1,250 hours of service during the prior twelve months, and
  • whose medical condition (or family member’s medical condition) qualifies as a serious medical condition under the FMLA.

The University places an eligible employee on FMLA leave when the absence from work is for two weeks or longer. Disability leave, annual leave, compensatory time, and leave without pay may be used during the period of FMLA leave as explained below and in accordance with applicable University policies.

An employee who does not qualify for federal FMLA leave may qualify for leave under the Maine Family Medical Leave Law. Under state law, an employee who has worked for the University for 12 consecutive months is eligible for up to ten work weeks of family medical leave during any two year period for:

  • the employee’s own serious illness (including a workers’ comp injury),
  • the birth or adoption of a child, including a domestic partner’s child, or
  • the serious health condition of a parent, spouse, domestic partner, or child, including a domestic partner’s child. *Disability leave, annual leave, compensatory time, and leave without pay may be used during the period of Maine Family Medical Leave as explained below and in accordance with applicable University Policies.Medical certification is normally required for leave under the FMLA both for an employee’s illness and for the the illness of a family member.  However, no medical certification is needed for the first six weeks of a woman’s absence due to childbirth, the first two weeks of a spouse’s or domestic partner’s leave upon the birth of a child, the care of a child in the first year after birth, or adoption or placement of a foster child.

 

Birth of a Child

  • Female employees who give birth Leave requests up to 12 weeks for the birth of a child must be granted under FMLA if the employee meets the eligibility requirements. The leave may be taken anytime during the first year after the birth.A woman who gives birth to a child may use accrued *disability leave for the period of time during which she is medically unable to work before and/or after the birth. Use of disability leave will normally be approved for six weeks following a birth without requiring a doctor’s certification. Longer use of disability leave is appropriate if the mother has a serious medical condition as defined by the FMLA; it requires a doctor’s certification of medical necessity. If a woman does not have enough accrued disability leave to cover the period during which she is unable to work, she may use any accrued annual leave or compensatory time, and/or request a leave without pay. Leave requests for more than 12 weeks require the supervisor’s approval. In unusual circumstances where the woman is medically unable to work for more than six months, she should apply for long-term disability benefits.         *More information can also be found on the MyUMS Portal.
  • If a woman would like leave to care for the infant beyond the period during which she is medically unable to work, she may use annual leave or compensatory time. When annual leave and compensatory time are exhausted, she may request leave without pay for up to one year (12 weeks for employees in the Police Unit).  Extensions of unpaid leave beyond this limit may be approved under some leave policies.For faculty members, time spent on leave without pay for personal reasons will not count toward the probationary period for tenure unless mutually agreed in writing by the university President and the faculty member.Employees who are spouses or domestic partnersLeave requests up to 12 weeks for the birth of a child must be granted to a spouse under FMLA if the employee meets the eligibility requirements.  Although the Federal FMLA does not cover domestic partners, the Maine FMLA provides up to ten weeks of leave to an employee whose domestic partner gives birth to a child.   The leave may be taken anytime during the first year after the birth.Upon birth of a child, a spouse or domestic partner may use disability leave (within policy limitations), annual leave, compensatory time, and/or leave without pay.The employee may use disability leave only for the time period during which the employee is needed to provide family care due to the birth mother’s disability. An employee may use up to ten days of disability leave each year for absences resulting from the birth of a child to care for family members without being required to provide a doctor’s certification. Longer use of disability leave – up to a total of 20 days annually for salaried employees and up to half the total of accrued disability leave for hourly employees – is permitted when the employee’s presence is needed to care for the mother’s serious medical condition. Such extended use of disability leave requires a doctor’s certification of medical necessity.  Faculty may use up to 30 days of disability leave annually to provide care for a newborn child.  Disability leave may be supplemented by annual leave, compensatory time, or leave without pay if approved.Annual leave, compensatory time, or leave without pay may also be used beyond the period for which disability leave is appropriate, up to six months for Service & Maintenance and Police Unit employees and up to one year for all other employees.

Adoption

Either parent may request leave at the time of adoption of a child. The federal FMLA provides all employees with up to twelve weeks of leave following adoption or placement of a child; Maine FMLA provides employees whose domestic partner adopts a child up to ten weeks of leave following adoption or placement.  Faculty may use up to 30 days of accrued disability leave for adoption, and salaried employees up to 20 days for an adoption that requires the employee’s presence (such as foreign travel for an international adoption, or agency requirements that a parent remain home with a child after placement). All employees may use annual leave, compensatory time, and leave without pay during the adoption.

Placement of a foster child is treated like adoption for purposes of employee leave requests.

Illness of a Family Member

*Disability leave may be used when an employee needs to care for an ill or injured family member in the following circumstances. Faculty may use up to 30 days and  salaried employees up to 20 days of disability leave for this purpose each fiscal year. For hourly  employees, up to half of accrued disability leave may be used for this purpose. Use of disability leave is appropriate when a family or household member requires care. For a child, even a minor illness or injury meets this standard because the child cannot be left unattended. When an adult family member is ill or injured, disability leave is appropriate only when the employee’s presence is required to care for the disabled family member or other family members.

Each collective bargaining agreement and employee handbook employee handbook defines the family members covered by this policy.

If time is needed beyond the maximum disability leave allowed or accrued, the employee may request permission to use annual leave, compensatory time, or leave without pay.

Leave up to 12 weeks per year must be granted if the family member’s condition qualifies as a serious medical condition under the FMLA.  When the leave is to care for a sibling, domestic partner or domestic partner’s child, the leave is covered under the State FMLA  and allows for up to ten weeks leave in a two year period.

Family Military Leave

Employees who are eligible for FMLA leave and who have a family member in the National Guard or Reserves who is on or called to active duty may use their 12-week entitlement for certain qualifying circumstances, such as attending military events, briefings, or counseling, arranging for alternative childcare, or making financial and legal arrangements.  Certification of the qualifying exigency for military family leave may be required.

Eligible employees are entitled to up to 26 weeks in any one-year period to care for a family member who incurred a serious illness or injury in the line of duty in the Armed Services, including the National Guard or Reserves.  Certification for serious injury or illness of covered servicemember for military family leave may be required.

Under State law, when an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, or child who is a Maine resident is deployed for military leave in a combat theater or an area where armed conflict is taking place for 180 days or longer, the employee may take up to 15 days of leave.  The leave may be taken during the 15 days immediately before deployment, the 15 days immediately after deployment, or 15 days during the deployment, or any combination.

Employees may use a combination of accrued annual leave and compensatory time during family military leave.  An employee who exhausts all paid leave may request leave without pay and may continue benefits coverage at the employee’s expense.

If the leave will last five or more consecutive work days, the employee must give at least 14 days advance notice.  An employee taking leave for fewer than five consecutive work days must provide advance notice as practicable.  The maximum amount of FMLA leave that an employee may take for all FMLA-qualifying reasons in any 12-month period is 26 weeks.

Benefit Coverage During Leaves

While an employee is on any paid leave (including disability leave, annual leave, and compensatory time), benefit coverage continues with no additional cost to the employee. During an unpaid leave of absence that qualifies as FMLA leave, health insurance coverage (including dental coverage) continues on the same terms as during active employment, with the University and the employee each paying the customary share of premiums. If the employee is not eligible for FMLA leave or the employee continues to need unpaid leave after exhausting FMLA leave, the employee is responsible for costs of continued benefit coverage.

Medical Release to Return to Work

An employee who has been on leave for 20 days or longer due to his or her own medical condition is required to provide medical documentation of the employee’s ability to return to work.

Revised OHR 03/11

The employee and domestic partner must complete an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership available from the Human Resources office.

In compliance with Federal law, health care providers are informed not to provide genetic information.

Under State law, an employee is eligible for family medical leave to care for a sibling if the employee and sibling are jointly responsible for each other’s common welfare as evidenced by joint living arrangements and joint financial arrangements.

In compliance with Federal law, health care providers are informed not to provide genetic information.

Faculty with academic-year appointments and salaried employees whose appointments do not require work during periods when the university student population is absent do not accrue annual leave.

 

Related Information:

 

Contact Benefits

The above is a brief summary of family leave benefits offered by the University of Maine System. Consult your local University Office of Human Resources for more information.

If you have a question about your benefits coverage, benefit deduction amounts or any other benefit related question, contact your Campus Benefits Office.  Be prepared to give your Employee ID number.