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VII - 7.50 - Policy on Implementation Procedures for Family Medical Leave

These Bowie State University (BSU) implementation procedures for the University of Maryland System (UMS) "Policy on Family & Medical Leave" provide direction and guidance in the event that employees find it necessary to apply for leave as provided for under the policy. Please refer to that policy for definition of key terms. Under certain circumstances, BSU will provide eligible employees up to a maximum of twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave during a twelve (12) month period for certain family and certain serious health condition reasons. These guidelines are intended to provide a brief overview to BSU employees of key provisions of the policy and the procedures to request Family and Medical Leave (F & M Leave). The Director of Human Resources is the designee of the President on matters of Family and Medical Leave.

The following procedures should be used to guide departmental authorities and to provide assistance to employees requesting Family and Medical Leave (F & M leave).

I. Key Provisions

A. BSU employees (both faculty and staff, full-time and part-time) who have been employed at least 12 months as a BSU, UMS, or State of Maryland employee and worked 1040 hours in a 12 month period immediately prior to the date that leave is requested may take F & M leave for the birth of the employee's child; placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care; the need to take care of the employee's child within a twelve (12) month period from birth or placement; the need to take care of the employee's immediate family member who has a serious health condition; or for the serious health condition for the employee.

B. Consistent with policy, BSU employees will be restored to the same or an equivalent position upon return from F & M leave. The employee's return to work must coincide with the department's regular work hours. The University is under no obligation to immediately restore an employee whose return from leave does not coincide with the normal operating schedule of the University or the normal work schedule of the employee's department, or to restore an employee whose return date is inconsistent with the terms and conditions of the employee's appointment.

C. BSU key employees are considered to be salaried employees who are among the highest paid ten (10) percent of all BSU employees. These employees may not be entitled to restoration upon conclusion of F & M leave if it will result in substantial and grievous economic injury to the University.

D. At the employee's election, group health coverage will be maintained on the same terms as if the employee continued to work. BSU and the employee will each continue to pay for health coverage at the same levels and rates that existed before the employee accepted F & M leave. However, BSU may recover its costs to maintain the employee's benefit coverage if an employee fails to return to work after utilizing unpaid F & M leave.

E. The actual F & M leave entitlement shall be based on the employee's previous use of other leave during the calendar year within which F & M leave begins. The employee's use of the following types of leave shall be deducted from the actual F & M leave entitlement: sick, extended sick, accident leave, and any type of unpaid F & M leave. Employees are required to exhaust all unused paid leave currently available to them.

F. BSU may temporarily reassign an employee on intermittent or reduced F & M leave to an alternative position that better accommodates reduced or intermittent periods of leave.

G. Spouses employed at BSU will both be eligible to separate F & M leave maximums. Simultaneous F & M leave by BSU employed spouses may be granted to the extent that undue hardships are not placed on the employing departments.

II. Initial Procedures

A. Prior to requesting F & M leave, employees should contact their supervisor and the Office Of Human Resources to share anticipated leave plans and obtain the appropriate forms.

B. The employee must obtain from the Office of Human Resources a "Request for Family and Medical Leave" form (form #BF/P20-1), and if applicable, a "Certification of Physician or Practitioner" form, (form #BF/P20-2) and a "Return to Work Certification" form, (form #BF/P20-3).

C. The "Request for Family and Medical Leave" and "Certification of Physician or Practitioner" forms, or documents showing legal certification of adoption or foster care placement, and any other supporting documentation must be completed and submitted to the Office of Human Resources thirty (30) days in advance of the begin date of the requested leave. In the event of an emergency, the employee or employee's designee shall notify the immediate supervisor within 2 days and provide the appropriate requests and certifications as soon as practicable. In such cases, the employee will have fifteen (15) calendar days to obtain the medical certification. All forms must be completed in their entirety with the required certifications that are listed in section II-D on the next page.

D. The following certifications are required.

1. To care for an immediate family member (forms #BF/P20-1 andBF/P20-2).

a) The date on which the condition commenced.

b) The probable duration of the condition.

c) The appropriate medical facts within the knowledge of the health care provider regarding the condition.

d) An estimate of the time needed to care for the individual involved (including any recurring medical treatment).

e) A statement that the condition warrants the employee's participation to provide care.

f) Documentation of birth or adoption, if applicable.

2. To care for an employee's personal health condition (forms #BF/P20-1 and #BF/P20-2).

a) The date on which the condition commenced.

b) The probable duration of the condition.

c) The appropriate medical facts within the knowledge of the health care provider regarding the condition.

d) A statement that the employee is unable to perform the functions of his/her position due to the condition.

3. Additional certification for intermittent leave or for leave on a reduced leave schedule.

a) The date on which the condition commenced.

b) The probable duration of the condition.

c) The appropriate medical facts within the knowledge of the health care provider regarding the condition.

d) A statement that the employee is unable to perform the functions of his/her position due to the condition.

e) A statement of medical necessity for the intermittent leave or reduced schedule and the expected duration of the schedule.

f) A listing of the dates of the planned medical treatment and duration of the treatment(s).

4. To return to work (form #BF/P20-3).

a) The date on which the condition commenced.

b) The date the employee can return to work.

c) Statement that employee is able to perform the functions of his/her position and any necessary accommodations, if applicable.

E. The employee shall submit the "Request for Family and Medical Leave" form with the required certifications to the supervisor and department head for signature. The supervisor shall review the request with employee and advise the employee of any requirements for periodic reports on the employee's condition while on leave. The supervisor and department head will assure that appropriate accommodations are made within the department for staffing during the employee's absence and restoration. The supervisor will promptly forward the completed form to the Office of Human Resources.

F. Regardless of the reason for the leave, employees shall complete and submit accurate and timely information related to a request for, continuation of, modification(s) to, and return from F & M leave. Supervisors may require reasonable recertification as the F & M leave continues, and may also require an employee to provide periodic progress reports on the serious health condition for which the employee is taking leave and the employee's ability to return to work at the end of the leave. Recertification will not be requested more than every thirty (30) calendar days unless,

1. the employee requests an extension of F & M leave,

2. changes occur in circumstances during the illness or injury, or

3. BSU receives information that casts doubt upon the validity of the most recent certification.

An employee must provide the requested recertification documentation to the supervisor within 15 days calendar days. An employee who fails to provide timely recertification after being requested to furnish such may be denied approved leave until the required certification is provided.

G. RECORDKEEPING - All medical related documentation will be kept confidential and maintained in a file separate from the employee's official personnel file in the Office of Human Resources. The supervisor shall forward any recertifications, requested modifications, and any other supporting documents received from the employee to the Office of Human Resources for inclusion in the employee F & M Leave file.

III. The Review Process

The Office of Human Resources will review submitted documentation regarding the request and will respond in writing to the employee within fifteen (15) working days of receipt. In cases of an emergency request, written responses will be provided as soon as possible.

A. After the initial intake of all documentation, requests will be reviewed for completeness and submittal of all required supporting documents. In the event that all required documentation is not provided or is incomplete, the requesting employee will be notified and the request will not be considered until all supporting documentation has been received by the Office of Human Resources.

B. After all documents have been received, a determination will be made as to the merits of the request, employee eligibility and the terms and conditions of F & M leave. The Office of Human Resources shall identify and substitute accrued paid leave for all or any part of the granted F & M leave. The employee will be notified by memorandum of the determination.

IV. Continuation of Benefits

A. While on unpaid F & M leave, the employee has the option to continue or discontinue related health benefits. The employee must identify those benefits which he/she wishes to continue while on F & M leave for the Office of Human Resources. (If the employee opts to continue benefits, he/she cannot increase coverage levels). Prior to beginning the leave, the employee must complete and return a Cobra/LAW/Contractual/ Part-time Health Benefits form to the Office of Human Resources in order to continue subsidized health related benefits. To continue the nonsubsidized benefits, the employee must complete the appropriate vendor notification forms and return them to the Office of Human Resources before the leave begins. Coverages will automatically be canceled if the employee fails to complete the necessary forms to continue coverage.

B. While on unpaid F & M leave, the employee will not receive service credits toward retirement. However, that employee may elect to purchase, at the time of retirement, any approved periods of leave without pay that are qualified by the Maryland State Retirement and Pension Systems. Upon approval of any leave without pay, the employee must complete an Application to be Placed on a Qualifying Approved Leave of Absence to assure that this option may be exercised.

V. Job Restoration

A. Before returning to work and at least 10 working days prior to the expiration of the leave, the employee must submit a completed "Return to Work Certification" form and any supporting documentation to the Office of Human Resources. The Office of Human Resources will contact the employee to confirm the return date and to make arrangements for the restoration of benefits and any other necessary accommodations.

B. Employees interested in returning to work from a F & M leave prior to the agreed upon end date shall provide the Office of Human Resources with a written request to return. This request must be submitted at least thirty (30) calendar days prior to the date on which the employee is interested in returning. BSU will make a good faith effort to restore the employee to his/her former or equivalent position as soon as possible but no later than the thirty (30) calendar day notice provided by the employee.

C. Employees not returning to work at the conclusion of leave shall notify the Office of Human Resources in writing as soon as practicable. In the absence of written notification, failure to return from leave shall be interpreted as a resignation from University service. In this case, all benefit entitlements will be based on last day of earned pay. BSU will seek to recover its share of health premiums from the employee if the employee fails to return to work, or returns to work but fails to stay thirty (30) calendar days, unless the reason for not returning or staying is due to the continuation, recurrence or onset of a serious health condition or other circumstances beyond the employees control.

D. Employees may extend the date of return from F & M leave to the extent that they have F & M leave entitlements available. A request for such an extension will be considered as if it was an initial request. All the certifications will again be required.

E. Since restoration of "Key Employees" may be denied to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury such employees will be identified at the time of the request. If it is determined that the "Key Employee" cannot be restored, that employee shall be provided written notification by the Office of Human Resources. When practical, this notice will be provided to the employee at least one week prior to the employee starting the leave. If such notice is provided after the leave commences, the employee shall be given the opportunity to return to work within 15 working days of the receipt of the notice. Employees electing not to return within that period can request restoration at the end of the leave period with the understanding that restoration can still be denied. The employee will be notified in writing of the denial.

VI. Abuse of F & M Leave

A. The Office of Human Resources will review, investigate and pursue resolution of suspected cases of bad faith, fraud or abuse of the F&M leave program. Such cases, including falsification of documents, provision of fraudulent information to the University, or other abuses may result in, but are not limited to, revocation of the leave, refusal to restore, recovery of University costs for paid leave and insurance benefits premiums, and disciplinary action up to and including termination.

 

Effective Date: 05/10/1994