4431.1 FAMILY LEAVE (M)

[See POLICY ALERT Nos. 111, 123, 137, 162, 170, 171 and 207]

 

M

 

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  1. Applicability
  1. Definitions
  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act
  2. New Jersey Family Leave Act
  1. Eligibility
  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act
  2. New Jersey Family Leave Act

 

  1. Types of Leave

 

  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act

 

  1. Intermittent and/or Reduced Leave for Birth or Placement of Son/Daughter
  2. Intermittent and/or Reduced Leave for Medical Treatment of a Related Serious Health Condition
  3. Intermittent Leave for Serious Health Condition
  4. Reduced Leave
  5. Holidays
  6. Servicemember Qualifying Exigency Leave
  7. Military Caregiver Leave

 

  1. New Jersey Family Leave Act

 

  1. Intermittent Leave
  2. Reduced Leave
  3. Holidays

 

  1. Notice

 

  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act

 

  1. Foreseeable Leave
  2. Unforeseeable Leave

 

  1. New Jersey Family Leave Act

 

  1. Foreseeable Leave
  2. Unforeseeable Leave

 

  1. Leave Designation

 

  1. Benefits

 

  1. Returning from Leave

 

  1. Ineligible Staff Members

 

  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act
  2. New Jersey Family Leave Act

 

  1. Verification of Leave

 

  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act
  2. New Jersey Family Leave Act

 

  1. Interference with Family Leave Rights

 

  1. Non-Tenured Staff Member

 

  1. Record Keeping

 

  1. Processing of Complaints

 

  1. Introduction

 

The Board will provide family leave in accordance with the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA).

 

FMLA leave for eligible staff members shall be up to twelve weeks leave of absence in a twelve month period upon advance notice to the district for the birth of a son or daughter of the staff member and in order to care for such son or daughter; for the placement of a son or daughter with the staff member for adoption or foster care; in order to care for the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the staff member if such spouse, son, daughter, or parent has a serious health condition; or for a serious health condition that makes the staff member unable to perform the functions of the position of such staff member, or because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on active duty or call to covered active duty status (or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty).  In addition, eligible employees may take up to a combined total of twenty-six workweeks in a single twelve month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.

 

NJFLA leave for eligible staff members shall be up to twelve weeks leave of absence in any twenty-four month period upon advance notice to the district so that a staff member may provide care made necessary by the birth of a child of the staff member, the placement of a child with the staff member in connection with adoption of such child by the staff member, and the serious health condition of a spouse, parent, or child.

 

  1. Applicability

 

The Board will comply with requirements of the New Jersey and Federal Family Leave laws.  The laws have similar and different provisions that may provide different rights and obligations for the staff member and/or the Board. The staff member shall be afforded the most favorable rights if there is a conflict in the rights afforded to the staff member under the two laws.

 

  1. If the staff member is eligible for leave for reasons provided under the FMLA and NJFLA, then the time taken shall be concurrent and be applied to both laws.

 

  1. The NJFLA provides twelve weeks leave in a twenty-four month period while the FMLA provides twelve weeks leave in a twelve-month period.  A staff member is eligible for up to twelve weeks leave in the first twelve months of the twenty-four month period under the NJFLA.  A staff member is eligible for up to twelve weeks leave in the second twelve-month period under the FMLA.

 

  1. In the event the reason for the family leave is recognized under one law and not the other law, the staff member is eligible for each law’s leave entitlements within one twelve-month period.  (Example:  A staff member may use their FMLA leave for a twelve week family leave for their own pregnancy, which is considered a “serious health condition” under FMLA, and upon conclusion of the twelve week FMLA leave, the staff member would be eligible for a twelve week NJFLA leave to care for their newborn or any other reasons pursuant to the NJFLA.)

 

  1. Definitions

 

  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

 

“Contingency operation” means a military operation that results in the call or order to, or retention on, active duty of members of the uniformed services during a war or during a national emergency declared by the President or Congress.

 

“Covered active duty” or “call to covered active duty” means duty during deployment of a member with the Armed Forces to a foreign country and, in the case of a member of the Reserve components of the Armed Forces, duty during the deployment of the member with the Armed Forces to a foreign country under a Federal call or order to active duty in support of a contingency operation.

 

“Covered servicemember” means a current member of the Armed Forces (including National Guard or Reserves), who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness; or a covered veteran undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness.

 

“Covered veteran” means an individual who was a member of the Armed Forces (including National Guard or Reserves), discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable at any time during the five-year period prior to the first date the eligible staff member takes FMLA leave to care for the covered veteran.  For a veteran discharged prior to March 8, 2013, the effective date of the FMLA Final Rule, the period between October 28, 2009 and March 8, 2013 will not count towards the determination of the five-year period.  29 CFR § 825.127(b)(2)

 

“Military caregiver leave” means leave taken to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness under FMLA. 29 CFR §825.127

 

“Next of kin of a covered servicemember” means the nearest blood relative other than the covered servicemember’s spouse, parent, son, or daughter, in the following order of priority: blood relatives who have been granted legal custody of the covered servicemember by court decree or statutory provisions, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins, unless the covered servicemember has specifically designated in writing another blood relative as his or her nearest blood relative for purposes of military caregiver leave under the FMLA.  When no such designation is made, and there are multiple family members with the same level of relationship to the covered servicemember, all such family members shall be considered the covered servicemember’s next of kin and may take FMLA leave to provide care to the covered servicemember, either consecutively or simultaneously.  When such designation has been made, the designated individual shall be deemed to be the covered servicemember’s only next of  kin.  For example, if a covered servicemember has three siblings and has not designated a blood relative to provide care, all three siblings would be considered the covered servicemember’s next of kin. Alternatively, where a covered servicemember has a sibling(s) and designates a cousin as his or her next of kin for FMLA purposes, then only the designated cousin is eligible as the covered servicemember’s next of kin.  An employer is permitted to require an employee to provide confirmation of covered family relationship to the covered servicemember pursuant to 29 CFR §825.122(k).  29 CFR §825.127(d)(3)

 

“Outpatient status” means, with respect to a covered servicemember who is a current member of the Armed Forces, the status of a member of the Armed Forces assigned to either a military medical treatment facility as an outpatient; or a unit established for the purpose of providing command and control of members of the Armed Forces receiving medical care as outpatients.  29 CFR § 825.127(b)(1)

 

“Parent” means a biological, adoptive, step or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a son or daughter as defined below.  This term does not include parents “in law.”

 

“Parent of a covered servicemember” means a covered servicemember’s biological, adoptive, step or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stood in loco parentis to the covered servicemember.  This term does not include parents “in law.”

 

“Serious health condition” means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical facility or continuing treatment by a health care provider. “Serious health condition” may include treatment of substance abuse pursuant to 29 CFR §825.119.

 

“Serious injury or illness,” only in the case of a veteran or current member of the Armed Forces, means:

 

  1. In the case of a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, an injury or illness that was incurred by the covered servicemember in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces or that existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces and that may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank, or rating; and

 

  1. In the case of a covered veteran, an injury or illness that was incurred by the member in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces (or existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces) and manifested itself before or after the member became a veteran, and is:

 

(1)       A continuation of a serious injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated when the covered veteran was a member of the Armed Forces and rendered the servicemember unable to perform the duties of the servicemember’s office, grade, rank, or rating; or

 

(2)       A physical or mental condition for which the covered veteran has received a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Service-Related Disability Rating (VASRD) of fifty percent or greater, and such VASRD rating is based, in whole or in part, on the condition precipitating the need for military caregiver leave; or

 

(3)       A physical or mental condition that substantially impairs the covered veteran’s ability to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of a disability or disabilities related to military service, or would do so absent treatment; or

 

(4)      An injury, including a psychological injury, on the basis of which the covered veteran has been enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.  29 CFR 825 §127(c)

 

“Single twelve-month period” means that a military caregiver’s leave begins on the first day the staff member takes FMLA leave and ends twelve months after that date, regardless of the twelve-month period established by the district for other FMLA leave reasons.  29 CFR §825.127(e)(1)

 

“Son” or “daughter” means a biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is either under age eighteen or age eighteen or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability at the time that FMLA leave is to commence.

 

“Son or daughter of the covered servicemember” means a covered servicemember’s biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child for whom the covered servicemember stood in loco parentis, and who is of any age.  29 CFR §825.127(d)(1)

 

“Son or daughter on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status” means the staff member’s biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child for whom the staff member stood in loco parentis, who is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status, and who is of any age.  29 CFR §825.126(a)(5)

 

“Spouse” means a husband or wife.  For purposes of this definition, husband or wife refers to the other person with whom an individual entered into marriage as defined or recognized under State law in the State in which the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside of any State, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and could have been entered into in at least one State.  This definition includes an individual in a same-sex marriage or common law marriage.  29 CFR §825.122

 

“Staff member” means an employee eligible for family and medical leave in accordance with the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

 

“Week” or “Workweek” means the number of days a staff member normally works each calendar week.

 

  1. New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA)

 

“Child” means a biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, child of a parent who is under eighteen years of age or a child eighteen years of age or older but incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical impairment.

 

“Continuing medical treatment” or “continuing supervision by a health care provider” means a period of incapacity or a period of absence in accordance with N.J.A.C. 13:14.

 

“Parent” means a biological, adoptive, or foster parent; step-parent; parent-in-law; a legal guardian having a “parent-child relationship” with a child as defined by law; or a person who has sole or joint legal or physical custody, care, guardianship, or visitation with a child.

 

“Serious health condition” means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that requires inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical facility or continuing medical treatment or continuing supervision by a health care provider.

 

“Spouse” means a person to whom a staff member is lawfully married as defined by New Jersey law.

 

“Staff member” means an employee eligible for family leave in accordance with the New Jersey Family Leave

 

“Week” or “Workweek” means the number of days a staff member normally works each calendar week.

 

  1. Eligibility

 

  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

 

A staff member shall become eligible for FMLA leave after he/she has been employed at least twelve months in this district and employed for at least 1250 hours of service during the twelve-month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave.  The twelve months the staff member must have been employed need not be consecutive months pursuant to 29 CFR §825.110(b).  The minimum 1250 hours of service shall be determined according to the principles established under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) for determining compensable hours of work pursuant to 29 CFR §785.  Entitlement to FMLA leave taken for the birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the staff member for adoption or foster care shall expire at the end of the twelve-month period beginning on the date of such birth or placement.

 

Pursuant to 29 CFR §825.201, a husband and wife both employed by the district are limited to a combined total of twelve weeks of leave during the twelve-month period if the leave is taken for the birth of a son or daughter of the staff member or to care for such son or daughter after birth; for placement of a son or daughter with the staff member for adoption or foster care or in order to care for the son or daughter after placement; or to care for the staff member’s parent with a serious health condition.

 

The method to determine the twelve-month period in which the twelve weeks of FMLA leave entitlement occurs will be the twelve-month period measured forward from when the staff member’s first leave begins.

 

A staff member during any period of FMLA leave is prohibited from performing any services on a full-time basis for any person for whom the staff member did not provide services immediately prior to commencement of the leave.  A staff member using FMLA leave may commence part-time employment that shall not exceed half the regularly scheduled hours worked for the district.  The staff member may continue the part-time employment that commenced prior to the FMLA leave at the same number of hours that the staff member was regularly scheduled prior to such leave.

 

  1. New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA)

 

A staff member shall become eligible for NJFLA leave after he/she has been employed at least twelve months in this district for not less than 1,000 base hours, excluding overtime, during the immediate preceding twelve month period.  The calculation of the twelve-month period to determine eligibility shall commence with the commencement of the NJFLA leave.  NJFLA leave taken for the birth or adoption of a healthy child may commence at any time within a year after the date of the birth or placement for adoption.

 

The district shall grant a family leave under NJFLA to more than one staff member from the same family (for example, a husband and a wife, or a brother and a sister) at the same time, provided such staff members are otherwise eligible for the leave.  N.J.A.C. 13:14-1.12

 

A staff member during any period of the NJFLA leave is prohibited from performing any services on a full-time basis for any person for whom the staff member did not provide services immediately prior to commencement of the leave.  A staff member on NJFLA leave may commence part-time employment that shall not exceed half the regularly scheduled hours worked for the district.  The staff member may continue the part-time employment that commenced prior to the NJFLA leave at the same number of hours that the staff member was regularly scheduled prior to such leave.

 

The method to determine the twenty-four month period in which the twelve weeks of NJFLA leave entitlement occurs will be the twenty-four month period measured forward from when the staff member’s first leave begins.

 

  1. Types of Leave

 

  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

 

A staff member may take FMLA leave to include servicemember qualifying exigency leave or military caregiver leave in consecutive weeks, as intermittent leave, or as reduced leave.  A staff member who requests intermittent or reduced leave shall make a reasonable effort to schedule such leave so as not to unduly disrupt the instructional/educational program.

 

  1. Leave for the birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the staff member for adoption or foster care may be taken by a staff member intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule.

 

  1. Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary for planned and/or unanticipated medical treatment of a related serious health condition by or under the supervision of a health care provider, or for recovery from treatment or recovery from a serious health condition.

 

  1. Intermittent leave means leave scheduled for periods of time from one hour or more to several weeks; however, the total time within which the leave is taken cannot exceed a twelve month period for each serious health condition episode.  Intermittent leave may be taken for a serious health condition that requires periodic treatment by a health care provider, rather than one continuous period of time.  Intermittent leave may also be taken for absences where the staff member is incapacitated or unable to perform the essential functions of the position because of a serious health condition even if the staff member does not receive treatment by a health care provider.  The staff member shall make a reasonable effort to schedule intermittent leave so as not to unduly disrupt the operations of the instructional/educational program.

 

  1. Reduced leave means leave scheduled for fewer than the staff member’s usual number of hours worked per workweek, but not fewer than a staff member’s usual number of hours worked per workday, unless otherwise agreed to by the staff member and the district.  A staff member is entitled, at the option of the staff member, to take leave on a reduced leave schedule not exceeding twenty-four consecutive weeks.  The staff member shall make a reasonable effort to schedule reduced leave so as not to unduly disrupt the operations of the instructional/educational program.  The staff member shall provide the district prior notice of the care, medical treatment or continuing supervision by a health care provider necessary due to a serious health condition of a family member in a manner that is reasonable and practicable.  Leave taken on a reduced leave schedule shall not result in a reduction of the total amount of leave to which a staff member is entitled.

 

  1. The fact that a holiday may occur within the week taken by a staff member as Family Leave has no effect and the week is counted as a week of Family Leave.  However, if the staff member is out on Family Leave and the school district is closed and the staff member would not be expected to report for work for one or more weeks, the weeks the school district is closed for this staff member do not count against the staff member’s family leave entitlement.

 

Any leave time remaining after a staff member has exhausted his/her entitlement to intermittent leave in any twelve month period may be taken as consecutive leave or reduced leave, and any leave time remaining after a staff member has exhausted his/her entitlement to reduced leave in any twelve month period may be taken as consecutive leave or intermittent leave.

 

  1. Servicemember qualifying exigency leave may arise out of the foreign deployment of the staff member’s spouse, child, or parent 29 CFR §§825.122 and 126:

 

(1)       The district must grant an eligible staff member up to twelve work weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a twelve-month period for qualifying exigencies that arise when the staff member’s spouse, child, or parent is on covered active duty, or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty.

 

(2)       The military member must be the spouse, son, daughter, or parent, of the staff member taking FMLA exigency leave.

 

(3)       FMLA leave can be granted for one or more of the following exigencies:

 

(a)       Short-notice deployment:

 

  1. Notification of duty seven or less calendar days prior to date of deployment;

 

  1. Leave can be used for a period of seven calendar days beginning on the date the military member is notified.

 

(b)       Military events and related activities, including official ceremonies, programs, or events sponsored by the military and related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty status of the military member; and to attend family support or assistance programs and informational briefings sponsored or promoted by the military, military service organizations, or the American Red Cross.

 

(c)       Childcare and school activities including arranging for alternative childcare; providing childcare on an urgent, immediate need basis (not routine, regular, or everyday basis); to enroll in or transfer to a new school or day care facility; or to attend meetings with staff at a school or day care facility:

 

  1. The son or daughter must be the son or daughter of the covered servicemember.

 

(d)       Financial and legal arrangements made to address the military member’s absence while on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.

 

(e)       Counseling, provided by someone other than a health care provider for oneself, for the military member, or qualified child, if the need arises from the covered active duty or call to covered active duty status of the military member.

 

(f)        Rest and Recuperation (R&R) to spend time with the military member on short-term, temporary R&R leave during a term of deployment:

 

  1. Can be used for a period of fifteen calendar days beginning on the date the military member commences each instance of R&R leave.

 

(g)       Post-deployment activities such as ceremonies or briefings including any that arise from the death of the military member while on covered active duty.

 

(h)       Parental care for one meeting the definition of a “parent” and incapable of self care including:  arranging alternative care; providing care on an immediate need basis; and to attend meetings or arrange services at a care facility.

 

(i)        Additional activities in accordance 29 CFR §825.126(b)(9).

 

  1. Military caregiver leave provides care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness 29 CFR §§825.122 and 127:

 

(1)       The district must grant up to a total of twenty-six workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a “single twelve-month period” to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.

 

(a)       The eligible staff member must be the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the covered servicemember.

 

(b)       The staff member is limited to a combined total of twenty-six workweeks for any FMLA-qualifying reasons during the single twelve-month period.  Up to twelve of the twenty-six weeks may be for an FMLA-qualifying reason other than military caregiver leave.

 

(c)       Spouses who are eligible for FMLA leave and are employed by the same covered employer may be limited to a combined total of twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single twelve-month period if the leave is taken for birth of the employee’s son or daughter or to care for the child after birth, for placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care, or to care for the child after placement, to care for the employee’s parent with a serious health condition, or to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.  If one spouse is ineligible for FMLA leave, the other spouse would be entitled to a full twenty-six workweeks of FMLA leave.

 

(2)       Leave entitlement is applied on a per-covered-servicemember, per-injury basis.

 

(a)       The staff member may take an additional twenty-six weeks of leave if the leave is to care for different covered servicemembers or to care for the same servicemember with a subsequent serious injury or illness, except that no more than twenty-six weeks of leave may be taken within any single twelve-month period.

 

(b)       An eligible staff member may take military caregiver leave to care for more than one current service member or covered veteran at the same time or for the same family member with the same serious injury or illness both when the family member is a current servicemember and when the family member is a veteran.

 

(c)       Military caregiver leave may be taken by eligible staff members whose family members are recent veterans with serious injuries or illnesses incurred or aggravated in the line of duty on active duty, and that manifested before or after the veteran left active duty.

 

  1. New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA)

 

A staff member may take NJFLA leave in consecutive weeks, as intermittent leave, or as reduced leave.  A staff member who requests intermittent or reduced leave shall make a reasonable effort to schedule such leave so as not to unduly disrupt the instructional/educational program.  The district shall not require a staff member to take a leave of absence beyond the period of time the staff member requests family leave.  N.J.A.C. 13:14-1.5(f)

 

  1. In the case of a family member who has a serious health condition, leave may be taken intermittently when medically necessary.  The total time within which the leave is taken, can not exceed a twelve-month period for each serious health condition episode.  The staff member will provide the district with prior notice of the leave in a manner which is reasonable and practicable; and the staff member shall make a reasonable effort to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt the operations of the instructional/educational program.  In the case of the birth or adoption of a healthy child, the leave may be taken intermittently only if agreed to by the staff member and the district.

 

  1. Reduced leave means leave scheduled for fewer than the staff member’s usual number of hours worked per workweek, but not fewer than a staff member’s usual number of hours worked per workday, unless otherwise agreed to by the staff member and the district.  A staff member is entitled, at the option of the staff member, to take leave on a reduced leave schedule for a period not exceeding twenty-four consecutive weeks.  The staff member is not entitled to take the leave on a reduced leave schedule without an agreement between the staff member and the district if the leave is taken for the birth or adoption of a healthy child.  The staff member shall make a reasonable effort to schedule reduced leave so as not to unduly disrupt the operations of the instructional/educational program.  The staff member shall provide the district prior notice of the care, medical treatment or continuing supervision by a health care provider necessary due to a serious health condition of a family member in a manner that is reasonable and practicable.  Leave taken on a reduced leave schedule shall not result in a reduction of the total amount of leave to which a staff member is entitled.

 

  1. The fact that a holiday may occur within the week taken by a staff member as family leave has no effect and the week is counted as a week of family leave.  However, if the staff member is out on family leave and the school district is closed and the staff member would not be expected to report for work for one or more weeks, the weeks the school district is closed for this staff member do not count against the staff member’s family leave entitlement.

 

Any leave time remaining after a staff member has exhausted his/her entitlement to intermittent leave in any twelve month period may be taken as consecutive leave or reduced leave, and any leave time remaining after a staff member has exhausted his/her entitlement to reduced leave in any twelve month period may be taken as consecutive leave or intermittent leave.

 

  1. Notice

 

  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

 

  1. Foreseeable Leave – A staff member eligible for FMLA leave must give at least a thirty day written advance notice to the Superintendent or designee if the need for the leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement for adoption of foster care, or planned medical treatment for a serious health condition of the staff member or a family member.  If thirty days is not practical, the staff member must provide notice “as soon as practicable” which means as soon as both possible and practical, taking into account all the facts and circumstances in the individual case.  For foreseeable leave where it is not possible to give as much as thirty days notice “as soon as practical” ordinarily would mean at least verbal notification to the Building Principal within one or two business days or when the need for leave becomes known to the staff member.  The written notice shall include the reasons for the leave, the anticipated duration of the leave and the anticipated start of the leave.

 

When planning medical treatment, the staff member must consult with the Building Principal and make a reasonable effort to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt the educational program, subject to the approval of the health care provider.  Staff members are ordinarily expected to consult with the Assistant Superintendent prior to scheduling of treatment that would require leave for a schedule that best suits the needs of the district and the staff member.

 

The district may delay the staff member taking leave for at least thirty days if the staff member fails to give thirty days’ notice for foreseeable leave with no reasonable excuse for the delay.

 

  1. b. Unforeseeable Leave – When the approximate timing of the need for leave is not foreseeable, a staff member should give notice to the Building Principal for leave as soon as practicable under the facts and circumstances of the particular case.  It is expected the staff member will give notice to the Building Principal within no more than one or two working days of learning of the need for leave, except in extraordinary circumstances where such notice is not foreseeable.  The staff member should provide notice to the employer either in person or by telephone, telegraph, facsimile machine or other electronic means.

 

  1. New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA)

 

  1. Foreseeable Leave – A staff member eligible for NJFLA leave must give at least a thirty day advance written notice to the Superintendent or designee of the need to take family leave except where the need to take family leave is not foreseeable.

 

(1)       Notice for leave to be taken for the birth or placement of the child for adoption shall be given at least thirty days prior to the commencement of the leave, except that if the date of the birth or adoption requires leave to begin in less than thirty days, the staff member shall provide such notice that is reasonable and practicable.

 

(2)       Notice for leave to be taken for the serious health condition of a family member shall be given at least fifteen days prior to the commencement of leave, except that if the date of the treatment or supervision requires leave to begin in less than fifteen days, the staff member shall provide such notice that is reasonable and practicable.

 

(3)       When the Superintendent is not made aware that a staff member was absent for family leave reasons and the staff member wants to request the leave be counted as family leave, the staff member must provide timely notice within two business days of returning to work to have the time considered for family leave in accordance with the Family Leave Act.

 

  1. Unforeseeable Leave – When the need for leave is not foreseeable, the staff member must provide notice “as soon as practicable” which shall be at least verbal notice to the Building Principal within one or two business days of the staff member learning of the need to take family leave.  Whenever emergent circumstances make written notice impracticable, the staff member may give verbal notice to the Building Principal, but any verbal notice must be followed by written notice delivered within 3 working days.

 

  1. Leave Designation

 

An eligible staff member shall designate FMLA or NJFLA leave upon providing notice of the need for the leave or when the need for leave commences.  The Central Office shall provide the staff member with this Policy to assist the staff member in determining the type of leave.

 

  1. Benefits

 

Whether a staff member is required to use sick time or any other accrued leave time concurrent with FMLA or NJFLA leave time will depend upon either the district’s practice or a provision in the district’s collective bargaining agreement, if applicable.  29 CFR §825.100

 

The Board will maintain coverage under any group health insurance policy, group subscriber contract, or health care plan at the level and under the conditions coverage would have been provided if the staff member had continued to work instead of taking the leave.  If the staff member was paying all or part of the premium payments prior to the leave, the staff member would continue to pay his/her share during the leave time.  Any ten month staff member who is on leave under NJFLA or FMLA at the end of the school year will be provided with any benefits over the summer that the staff member would normally receive if they had been working at the end of the school year.

 

  1. Returning from Leave

 

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act and/or the New Jersey Family Leave Act

 

A staff member returning from leave shall be entitled to the position he/she held when leave commenced or to an equivalent position of like seniority, status, employment benefits, pay and other conditions of employment.  If the district experiences a reduction in force or layoff and the staff member would have lost his/her position had the staff member not been on family leave as a result of the reduction in force or pursuant to the good faith operation of a bona fide layoff and recall system including a system under any collective bargaining agreement, the staff member shall be entitled to reinstatement to the former or an equivalent position in accordance with applicable statutes, codes, and laws.  The staff member’s tenure and seniority rights, if any, and other benefits shall be preserved, but the staff member shall accrue no additional time toward tenure or seniority for the period of the leave, except as may be provided by law.

 

The return of a staff member prior to the expiration of the requested family leave may be permitted by the Board if the return does not unduly disrupt the instructional program or require the Board to incur the cost of continuing the employment of a substitute under contract.

 

The Board may, in accordance with the provisions of 29 CFR §825.312 delay restoration of employment of a staff member using FMLA leave for the staff member’s serious health condition until the staff member submits a fitness-for-duty examination from his/her health care provider indicating that the staff member is able to resume work.  In the event the Board requires such a fitness-for-duty examination before restoration of the staff member after leave, the Board will provide the staff member specific notice either at the time the staff member gives notice of the need for leave or immediately after the leave commences and the staff member advises the Board of the medical circumstances for the leave.

 

If leave is taken under FMLA, and the staff member does not return to work after the leave expires, the Board is entitled to recover health insurance costs paid while the staff member was on FMLA.  The Board’s right to recover premiums would not apply if the staff member fails to return to work due to:

 

  1. The continuation, onset or recurrence of a serious health condition of the staff member; or

 

  1. Circumstances beyond the staff member’s control.

 

  1. Ineligible Staff Members

 

  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

 

The district may deny job restoration after FMLA leave if the staff member is a “key employee” as defined in 29 CFR §825.217 if such denial is necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury to the district or the district may delay restoration to a staff member who fails to provide a fitness for duty certificate to return to work for leave that was the staff member’s own serious health condition.  A “key employee” is a salaried, staff member who is among the highest paid ten percent of the school district staff employed by the district within 75 miles of the worksite.  No more than ten percent of the school district staff within 75 miles of the worksite may be “key employees.”

 

In the event the Superintendent or designee believes that reinstatement may be denied to a key employee, the Superintendent or designee must give written notice to the staff member at the time the staff member gives notice of the need for leave, or when the need for leave commences, if earlier, that he/she qualifies as a key employee.  The key employee must be fully informed of the potential consequences with respect to reinstatement and maintenance of health benefits if the district should determine that substantial and grievous economic injury to the district’s operations will result if the staff member is reinstated from leave.  The district’s notice must explain the basis for the district’s finding that substantial and grievous economic injury will result, and if leave has commenced, must provide the staff member a reasonable time in which to return to work.  If the staff member on leave does not return to work in response to the notice of intent to deny restoration, the staff member continues to be entitled to maintenance of health insurance.

 

A key employee’s rights under the FMLA continue unless and until the staff member either gives notice that he/she no longer wishes to return to work or the district actually denies reinstatement at the conclusion of the leave period.  A staff member is still entitled to request reinstatement at the end of the leave period even if the staff member did not return to work in response to the district’s notice.  The district will then again determine whether there will be substantial and grievous economic injury from reinstatement based on the facts at that time.  If it is determined that substantial and grievous economic injury will result, the district will notify the staff member in writing (in person or by certified mail) of the denial of the restoration.

 

  1. New Jersey Family Leave Act

 

The district may deny family leave to the staff member if the staff member is a salaried employee who is among the highest paid five percent of the school district staff or one of the seven highest paid employees of the district, whichever is greater, if the denial is necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury to the school district’s operations.  The Superintendent or designee shall notify the staff member of the intent to deny the leave at the time the Superintendent or designee determines the denial is necessary.  If the leave has already commenced at the time of the district’s notification of denial, the staff member shall be permitted to return to work within ten working days of the date of notification.

 

  1. Verification of Leave

 

  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

 

The Board requires a staff member’s FMLA leave to care for the staff member’s seriously ill spouse, son, daughter, or parent; or for a servicemember’s qualifying exigency or serious injury; or for illness due to the staff member’s own serious health condition, that makes the staff member unable to perform one or more of the essential functions of the staff member’s position, be supported by a certification issued by the health care provider of the staff member or the staff member’s ill family member.  The medical certification required encompasses both physical and psychological care and includes situations where a family member is unable to care for his/her own basic medical, hygienic, or nutritional needs or safety, or is unable to transport himself/herself to the doctor.  It can also include providing psychological comfort and reassurance beneficial to a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition who is receiving inpatient or home care and can include situations where the staff member may be needed to substitute for others who normally care for the family member or covered servicemember or to make arrangements for changes in care.  The staff member need not be the only individual or family member available to care for the family member or covered servicemember.  29 CFR §825.124

 

The certification must meet the requirements of 29 CFR §§825.306, 309, and 310 to include: which part of the definition of “serious health condition” applies; the approximate date the serious health condition commenced and its probable duration; whether it will be necessary for the staff member to take intermittent and/or reduced leave; whether the patient is presently incapacitated and the likely duration and frequency of episodes of incapacity; if additional treatments will be required for the condition; and/or if the patient’s incapacity will be intermittent or will require reduced leave.  The certification of a serious health condition of a family member of the staff member shall be sufficient if it states the date on which the condition commenced, the probable duration of the condition, and the medical facts within the provider’s knowledge regarding the condition.  Certification for the birth or placement of a child need only state the date of birth or date of placement.

 

In the event the Superintendent or designee doubts the validity of the certification, in accordance with 29 CFR §825.307, the district may require, at the district’s expense, the staff member obtain an opinion regarding the serious health condition from a second health care provider designated by the district, but not employed on a regular basis by the district.  If the second opinion differs from the staff member’s health care provider, the district may require, at the district’s expense, the staff member obtain the opinion of a third health care provider designated by the district or approved jointly, in good faith, by the district and the staff member.  The opinion of the third health care provider shall be final and binding on the district and the staff member.

 

The district may require re-certification pursuant to the requirements of 29 CFR §825.308.  In accordance with 29 CFR §825.309, the staff member on leave must provide a written report to the Superintendent or designee every thirty workdays.  The report shall include the staff member’s status and intended date to return to work.  In the event the staff member’s circumstances change, the staff member must provide reasonable notice to the Superintendent or designee if the staff member intends to return to work on a date sooner than previously noticed to the district.  The staff member is not required to take more leave than necessary to resolve the circumstance that precipitated the need for leave.  As a condition of returning to work after the leave for the staff member’s own serious health condition, and in accordance with  29 CFR §825.310, the district requires a staff member to provide a certification from their health care provider that the staff member is able to resume work.

 

In accordance with 29 CFR §825.311, the district may delay the taking of FMLA leave to a staff member who fails to provide certification within fifteen days after being requested to do so by the district.  In accordance with 29 CFR §825.312, the district may delay the taking of leave until thirty days after the date the staff member provides notice to the district of foreseeable leave or the district may delay continuation of leave if a staff member fails to provide a requested medical certification in a timely manner.

 

  1. New Jersey Family Leave Act

 

The Board shall require the certification of a duly licensed health care provider verifying the purpose of requested NJFLA leave.  Certification of a serious health condition of a family member of the staff member shall be sufficient if it states the date on which the condition commenced, the probable duration of the condition, and the medical facts within the provider’s knowledge regarding the condition.  Certification for the birth or placement of a child need only state the date of birth or date of placement, whichever is appropriate.

 

In the event the Superintendent or designee doubts the validity of the certification for the serious health condition of a family member of the staff member, the district may require, at the district’s expense, the staff member to obtain an opinion regarding the serious health condition from a second health care provider designated or approved, but not employed on a regular basis, by the district.  If the second opinion differs from the certification the district may require, at the district’s expense, that the staff member obtain the opinion of a third health care provider designated or approved jointly by the district and the staff member concerning the serious health condition.  The opinion of the third health care provider shall be final and binding on the district and the staff member.

 

  1. Interference with Family Leave Rights

 

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act and the New Jersey Family Leave Act prohibit interference with a staff member’s rights under the law, and with legal proceedings or inquiries relating to a staff member’s rights. Unless permitted by the law, no staff member shall be required to take family leave or to extend family leave beyond the time requested.  A staff member shall not be discriminated against for having exercised his/her rights under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act or the New Jersey Family Leave Act nor discouraged from the use of family leave.

 

  1. Non-Tenured Staff Member

 

Family leave granted to a nontenured staff member cannot extend the staff member’s employment beyond the expiration of his/her employment contract.

 

  1. Record Keeping

 

In order that staff member’s entitlement to FMLA leave and NJFLA leave can be properly determined, the Superintendent shall ensure the keeping of accurate attendance records that distinguish family leave from other kinds of leave.  The Superintendent will publish a notice explaining the Act’s provisions and provide information concerning the procedures for filing complaints of violations of the FMLA and NJFLA.

 

  1. Processing of Complaints

 

  1. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 29 CFR §§825.400-401

 

  1. If there is a dispute between the district and a staff member as to whether leave qualifies as FMLA leave, it should be resolved through discussion between the staff member and the district.  Such discussions and the decision shall be documented by the school district.

 

  1. The staff member also may file, or have another person file on his/her behalf, a complaint with the United States Secretary of Labor.  A complaint may be filed in person, by mail, or by telephone with the Wage and Hour Division, Employment Standards Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, at any local office of the Wage and Hour Division.

 

  1. New Jersey Family Leave Act  N.J.A.C. 13:14-1.16

 

  1. Any complaint alleging a violation of the Act shall be processed in the same manner as a complaint filed under the terms of N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 13:4 through the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division on Civil Rights.

 

Implementation of FMLA and NJFLA will be consistent with provisions in collective bargaining agreement(s) in the district.

 

 

29 CFR §825 et seq.

29 CFR §785

N.J.S.A. 10:5-1

N.J.A.C. 13:14-1 et seq.

 

 

Adopted: