Family Medical Leave Act

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was created in 1993 to help people balance work demands with their personal and family needs. FMLA also ensures that you can take time off, with benefits, when a disability or serious illness prevents you from working.

If you're eligible for FMLA, it can provide you with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for:

  • The birth or placement of a child.
  • An immediate family member's serious health condition.
  • Your own serious health condition.
  • A qualifying exigency, or urgent situation, related to the military deployment of an immediate family member.

You may also be eligible for up to 26 workweeks in a single 12-month period to care for a covered military member with a serious injury or illness.

Eligibility

To be eligible for FMLA, you must:

  • Have worked at NIU for at least 12 months.
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before your leave begins.

Please note the following:

  • Your employment doesn't need to be consecutive.
  • Only employment within seven years is counted, unless the break in service is due to your military obligations, or governed by a collective-bargaining agreement or other written agreement.
  • You may become eligible for FMLA while you're on non-FMLA leave.

Compensation, Benefits and Tenure

You can use applicable sick and vacation leave before starting unpaid leave. Your health insurance and other benefits will be maintained during FMLA leave, but you remain responsible for premium contributions or payroll deduction amount.

If you're a faculty member, learn about FMLA leave and tenure in the Extension of the Tenure Probationary Period Policy.

Employee Responsibilities

You must:

  • Provide at least 30 days of notice, if the leave is foreseeable. If it's not foreseeable, you must provide notice as soon as possible.
  • Provide medical certification within 15 calendar days of the FMLA request date.
  • Refer to the need for FMLA leave when calling off work, if you've been previously certified for FMLA leave.
  • Report periodically on your status and intent to return to work.
  • Report your hours properly. Learn how hourly employees report FMLA hours (XLS) and how salaried employees report FMLA hours (XLS).
  • Notify Human Resource Services as soon as you're cleared to return to work or if leave is no longer required.
  • Provide notification and documentation of any return-to-work restrictions to Human Resource Services. Human Resource Services and your department must review and approve any restrictions before you return.

Leave for Serious Health Conditions

Under FMLA, you can take up to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for your own or an immediate family member's serious health condition. This means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

As you read about the health conditions that fall under FMLA, you'll see the term "incapacity." Incapacity means the inability to work, attend school or perform daily activities due to the health condition, or treatment or recovery from it.

Inpatient Care

If the health condition requires an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, it's considered a serious health condition under FMLA. This includes any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with such care.

Continuing Treatment

If the health condition requires continuing treatment, it may be considered a serious health condition under FMLA. Continuing treatment refers to more than three consecutive calendar days of incapacity. The first visit to the health care provider must be within seven days of the first day of incapacity. The condition must also involve one of the following:

  • Two or more treatments by a health care provider within 30 days of the first day of incapacity (unless there are extenuating circumstances).
  • Treatment by a health care provider which results in a plan of continuing treatment.

Continuing treatment can also refer to any period of incapacity due to:

  • Pregnancy or for prenatal care.
  • Permanent or long-term conditions.
  • Chronic conditions, including those that cause episodic rather than continuing incapacity, which require:
    • At least two visits to a health care provider per year.
    • Continuation over an extended period of time.

In addition, continuing treatment refers to any period of absence to receive multiple treatments by a health care provider for:

  • Restorative surgery.
  • A condition that might result in more than three consecutive calendar days of incapacity if not treated.

Family Military Deployment Leave

Under FMLA, you can take up to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for a qualifying exigency, or urgent situation, related to the deployment of your parent, child or spouse. A certification form is required. The leave does not apply to enlistments.

Examples of qualifying exigencies include:

  • Short-notice deployment, limited to seven calendar days from notice.
  • Military events and related activities.
  • Child care and school activities.
  • Financial and legal arrangements.
  • Counseling.
  • Rest and recuperation (limited to five days of FMLA leave per year).
  • Post-deployment activities (up to 90 days from end of deployment).
  • Additional activities, as agreed to by employer and employee.

Military Caregiver Leave

Under FMLA, you can take up to 26 workweeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered military member with a serious injury or illness. Please note the following:

  • The single 12-month period is the regular calendar year.
  • You can take the leave for multiple family members and for the same family member's subsequent injuries/illnesses, but only once per injury or illness.
  • The leave applies to caring for children of any age, including those over the age of 18.

Contact Us

Human Resource Services
Human Resources/Document Services Building
1515 West Lincoln Highway
P: 815-753-6000
F: 815-753-2335
humanresources@niu.edu

State and Federal Notices

Back to top