Procedure for Administration of Family Medical Leave | KCTCS

Administrative Procedures

Procedure for Administration of Family Medical Leave (FML)

Procedure Number:

Current Effective Date: 09/08/2023

Original Effective Date: 09/08/2023

Revision Dates: 0

Revision Number: 0

Revision Summary: Implementation of new procedure

Responsible Official: Vice President, Human Resources

References: Administrative Policy, other policies and procedures as linked within the procedure.

1. Purpose

KCTCS complies with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and will grant up to 12 weeks of leave during a 12-month period to eligible employees (or up to 26 weeks of military caregiver leave).

The purpose of this procedure is to provide employees with a general description of their FMLA rights. In the event of any conflict between this procedure and the applicable law, employees will be afforded all rights required by law. If you have any questions, concerns, or disputes with this policy, please contact your local human resources leader.

2. Scope

  1. To be eligible for Family Medical Leave (FML), employees shall meet each of the following requirements:
    1. Have worked at least 12 months for KCTCS,
    2. Have worked at least 1,250 hours for KCTCS over the 12 months preceding the date the leave would commence, and
    3. Present evidence of a qualifying condition that entitles them to be placed on leave.

  2. Employees shall be permitted to take FML upon providing evidence of one of the following qualifying conditions:
    1. The birth of a child of the employee and to care for that child.

    2. Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.

    3. To care for a spouse, sponsored adult dependent, child, sponsored child dependent, or parent of the employee who has a serious health condition.

    4. A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his/her job.

    5. A qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, sponsored adult dependent, son, daughter, sponsored child dependent, or parent is a military member on covered active duty in the Armed Forces.

    6. To care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty who is the employee's spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin.

3. Definitions

  1. Spouse: A husband or wife as defined or recognized in the state where the individual was married and includes individuals in a common law or same-sex marriage. Spouse also includes a husband or wife in a marriage that was validly entered into outside of the United States, if the marriage could have been entered into in at least one state.

  2. Child: A biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is either under age 18, or age 18 or older and "incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability" at the time that FML is to commence.

  3. Parent: 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 child. This term does not include parents "in law."

  4. Qualifying exigency: This includes a short-notice deployment, military events and activities, child-care and school activities, financial and legal arrangements, counseling, rest and recuperation, post-deployment activities, and additional activities that arise out of active duty, provided that the employer and employee agree, including agreement on timing and duration of the leave.

  5. Covered active duty for members of a regular component of the Armed Forces: A duty during deployment of the member with the Armed Forces to a foreign country. For a member of the Reserve components of the Armed Forces, means 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, in accordance with 29 CFR 825.102.

  6. The next of kin of a covered service member: The nearest blood relative, other than the covered service member's spouse, parent or child in the following order of priority: blood relatives who have been granted legal custody of the service member by court decree or statutory provisions, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins, unless the covered service member has specifically designated in writing another blood relative as his or her nearest blood relative for purposes of military caregiver leave under the FMLA.

  7. Covered service member: A current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is receiving medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, or is in outpatient status or on the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness.

  8. Serious injury or illness: One that is incurred by a service member in the line of duty on active duty that may cause the service member to be medically unfit to perform the duties of his or her office, grade, rank, or rating. A serious injury or illness also includes injuries or illnesses that existed before the service member's active duty and that were aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty.

  9. Serious health condition:  An illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves the following:
    1. Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility.

    2. Continuing treatment by a health care provider. A serious health condition involving continuing treatment by a health care provider includes any one or more of the following:
      1. A period of incapacity for more than three consecutive calendar days and treatment that involves:
        1. Treatment two or more times by a health care provider within the first 30 days, the first visit occurring within the first 7 days, or
        2. Treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion which results in a regimen of continuing treatment.

    3. A period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care.

    4. A period of incapacity or treatment due to a chronic serious health condition, which:
      1. Requires periodic visits (defined as at least twice a year) for treatment by a health care provider,
      2. Continues over an extended period of time, and
      3. May cause episodic rather than continuing periods of incapacity.

    5. A period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. Examples include: Alzheimer’s, a severe stroke, or terminal stages of a disease.

    6. A period of absence to receive multiple treatments by a health care provider or by the provider of healthcare services under orders of or on referral by a health care provider, either for restorative surgery after an accident or injury, or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity for more than three consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment, such as cancer, severe arthritis, or kidney disease.

Note: Unless complications arise, the common cold, the flu, earaches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, headaches other than migraines, routine dental or orthodontia problems, periodontal disease, etc., are examples of conditions that do not meet the definition of a serious health condition and do not qualify for FML. Mental illness or allergies may be serious health conditions, but only if all the conditions of this section are met.

4. Procedure

4.1 Requesting Leave

  1. KCTCS contracts with  a third-party vendor to process FML requests.  An employee requesting leave under this procedure may be required to contact the third-party vendor and provide additional documentation to the third-party vendor within a prescribed period.  In instances where the employee is unable to complete this process on their own accord, Human Resources shall provide assistance.
      The process to request FML request with the third-party vendor is as follows:

    1. Employee notifies local human resources office and direct supervisor for the need of FML. 

    2. Once HR has been notified, they will provide the employee with FMLA Leave Request Form. 

    3. Employee has form completed by their healthcare provider and returns the completed signed form to HR.

    4. HR submits the form to the third party vendor for review and processing.

    5. Vendor will collaborate with KCTCS Payroll and employee concerning available paid leave time.

    6. KCTCS Payroll will provide to the employee and supervisor instructions on how to submit FML time through PeopleSoft Self-Service, Time  and Absence.

    7. Human Resources will communicate with the employee’s supervisor regarding the anticipated return to work date and directions on how to validate the Time and Absence report or coordinate with Payroll. Human Resources will provide the amount of leave time counted against the employee’s approved entitlement.

    8. If leave time is extended beyond the previous designated time, any updated healthcare provider’s medical notes will need to be submitted to the vendor.

  2. When possible, employees requesting leave pursuant to this procedure shall provide prior notice to their supervisor and their local human resources office at least 30 days prior to the start of their leave. If the employee is unable to provide prior notice, they shall be required to provide notice as soon as practicable given their circumstances.  Failure to provide prior notice may be grounds for delaying the start of the leave.

  3. Upon receipt of an employee’s request for leave under this procedure, the third-party vendor shall provide the employee with a written determination within five (5) days that:

    1. Notifies the employee that they are eligible or ineligible for leave. If ineligible for leave, the notification shall provide the employee with the reason for the determination,

    2. Includes necessary information for the employee including the Notice of Eligibility and Rights, the FMLA Designation Notice, and the amount of leave time available to the employee, and

    3. Includes details on any additional information the employee is required to provide, including medical certification or other supporting documentation, during the pendency of the leave.

  4. This FML policy shall be coordinated with applicable KCTCS policies and procedures regarding faculty and staff sick/temporary disability (Admin Policy 2.14.2), vacation leave (Admin Policy 2.14.1), unpaid medical leave (Admin Policy, long term disability (Admin Policy, special leave/other leave (Admin Policy 2.14.11), and all other applicable laws, regulations, and/or KCTCS policies.

  5. KCTCS may require additional information from an employee prior to determining the employee’s eligibility for leave.  In these instances, employee shall be afforded 15 calendar days to provide the additional information.

  6. In the event an absence is identified as approved FML after the employee has returned to work, the absence may be retroactively designated as FML within two (2) business days of the employee’s return to work.

4.2 Computation of Time

  1. Eligible employees may request up to 12 workweeks in a rolling 12-month period. When an employee requests FML, the 12-months prior to the effective date of the current requested FML is the time used to determine if FML time is available. The amount of time depends on any FML time used within that 12-month period.

  2. Eligible spouses who are both employed by KCTCS may only take a combined total of 12 weeks of leave for the birth of a child, adoption, or placement of a child in foster care, or to care for a parent (but not a parent "in-law") with a serious health condition.

  3. If the leave exceeds the approved period of time, KCTCS shall evaluate the request in accordance with other applicable laws, regulations, and other KCTCS policies and procedures. KCTCS reserves the right to deny a request for an extension at its sole discretion.

  4. Military Caregiver Leave.

    1. An eligible employee may take up to 26 weeks of military caregiver leave during a single 12-month period to care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin with an illness or injury incurred in the line of duty.

    2. An eligible employee may use any of their 12 workweeks allotment to take leave because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation.

    3. To compute the amount of military caregiver, leave available to an employee under this provision, KCTCS shall measure the 12-month period as a rolling 12-month period measured forward. FML already taken for other eligible circumstances will be deducted from the total of 26 weeks available.

    4. Eligible spouses who are both employed by KCTCS may only take a combined total of 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered injured or ill service member (if each spouse is a parent, spouse, child or next of kin of the service member).

4.3 Intermittent Leave or Reduced Work Schedule

  1. An employee may take leave pursuant to this policy in one consecutive block of time, intermittently (take a day periodically when needed over the year), or under certain circumstances, may use the leave to reduce the workweek or workday, resulting in a reduced hour schedule. In all cases, the leave may not exceed a total of 12 workweeks (or 26 workweeks to care for an injured or ill service member) in a 12-month period.

  2. KCTCS may temporarily transfer an employee to an available alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits if the alternative position would better accommodate the intermittent or reduced schedule, in instances when leave for the employee or employee's family member is foreseeable, which may include recovery from a serious health condition or to care for a child after birth or placement for adoption or foster care.

  3. An employee who requires leave for planned medical treatment shall make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment for a time that does not unduly interrupt their job or KCTCS operations.

4.4 Use of Paid and Unpaid Leave

FMLA does not provide for paid leave, only job protection during the leave. KCTCS requires employees to use all available paid leave time during their FML.  Employees will used paid leave time in accordance with the following:

  1. Staff.  To be paid while on FML, staff employees will first use their accrued sick leave. If there is no accrued sick leave available or the reason for leave does not qualify for sick leave, then staff employees will use  available vacation leave.  If a staff employee has no available sick or vacation leave, or has exhausted both leaves, then one of the options below may be used, provided the employee is eligible:
    1. Sick Leave Sharing: Once accrued time is exhausted, employees may follow the Sick Leave Sharing Policy to request sick leave donations from eligible staff. This program is managed by the local HR office. Please note, that the Sick Leave Sharing program has no guarantee of pay as it is a voluntary donation program and the details and identity of the employee making the request are kept confidential to coworkers in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

    2. Sick Leave Pool: Employees active in the Sick Leave Pool may request paid leave time in accordance with policy. This program is managed at the System Office and only available if employee has continuous participation and meets the criteria of the program. (See Admin Policy

    3. When the employee has exhausted all accrued or donated leave under either sick leave sharing or sick leave pool, but still has FML time remaining, the college will designate the remaining FML as unpaid time.

  2. Faculty. To be paid during FML, faculty paid leave time is administered according to the portions of the Faculty and Staff Sick/Temporary Disability Leave policy that apply to faculty. This policy allows  five consecutive days of sick leave. Once the five days are exhausted, faculty will use their existing vacation leave. Once vacation leave is exhausted, faculty may request written approval from the College President for Special/Other Leave under Administrative Policy 2.14.11.

  3. Employees with Banked Leave. Employees who have banked leave (sick or vacation) may use their banked leave in accordance with leave policies concurrent with FML before going into unpaid status. Employees in the 18A/151b personnel system may exclude up to 10 days of annual leave and 10 days of sick leave by request prior to going into a leave without pay status.

  4. In no case may the substitution of paid leave time for unpaid leave time result in an employee receiving more than 100 percent of their base salary.

4.5 Employee Status and Benefits During Leave

  1. KCTCS shall maintain access to the employee's benefits during the leave period at the same level as if the employee was continuously at work. Use of unpaid leave during FML will require the employee to make alternative arrangements to cover their portion of the premiums normally paid through payroll deduction.

  2. While on paid FML, KCTCS will continue to make payroll deductions to collect the employee's share of insurance premiums, including health, dental, vision, life, disability, or any other supplemental benefits maintained by the employee.

  3. If an employee goes into unpaid leave, the employee must work with their local Human Resources office to coordinate the employee’s portion of the premium payments, so that the coverage does not cease, via one of the following options:

    1. Pre-payment--employee pays premiums prior to going on leave,

    2. Pay as you go--employee pays premiums while on leave, or

    3. Catch up--KCTCS initially pays employee’s share of premiums, then is reimbursed by the employee upon the employee’s return to work.

  4. An employee on unpaid leave shall ensure their premium is paid in a timely manner. An employee’s healthcare or other benefit coverage may cease if the premium payment is more than 30 days late.  KCTCS will provide 15 days notification prior to the employee’s loss of coverage.

  5. If the employee chooses not to return to work for reasons other than a continued serious health condition of the employee or the employee's family member or a circumstance beyond the employee's control, the employee shall be required to reimburse KCTCS for the amount paid by the employer to maintain health insurance coverage during the unpaid leave.

4.6 Intent to Return to Work

  1. KCTCS may require an employee on leave to report periodically, but no fewer than 30 days apart, on their status and intent to return to work.

  2. Prior to returning to work from their leave, the employee shall complete and submit a Fitness for Duty form to the vendor with a  copy to their local human resources office prior to the return date. The Fitness for Duty form shall:

    1. Be completed by the healthcare provider who completed the employee’s initial leave form, and

    2. Confirm the employee may return to work in their full capacity.

    3. If the provider finds that the employee may return to work, but not in their full capacity, the employee needs to notify their local HR office to determine future options, if available.

  3. Upon returning from leave, an employee shall be restored to their original position, or an equivalent position, with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms. However, if the employee is unable to perform the essential functions of their position because of a physical or mental condition, the employee has no right to restoration to their original position, or an equivalent position. Under such circumstances, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) shall govern KCTCS’ obligation and the employee’s rights under the law.

  4. Key employees (i.e., highest-paid 10 percent of employees at a worksite or within a 75-mile radius of that worksite) may not be returned to their former or equivalent position following a leave if restoration of employment will cause substantial economic injury to KCTCS. This fact-specific determination shall be made by KCTCS on a case-by-case basis. KCTCS shall notify employees if they qualify as “highly compensated” employees only if KCTCS intends to deny reinstatement, and of the employees’ rights in such instances.