Benefits & Wellness

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is a United States labor law requiring covered employers to provide employees with job-protected, unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons.

Eligible employees

In accordance with federal law, employees are eligible for family and medical leave after twelve (12) months of employment and provided the employee has performed at least 1250 hours of work during the previous 12-month period. (Full-time faculty is deemed to meet the 1250-hour requirement.)

What is a Qualifying Event for FMLA?

All eligible employees are entitled to a total of twelve (12) workweeks of leave during the 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The birth of a child and to care for the newborn
  • The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care
  • To care for the employee's spouse or domestic partner, parent, child (defined as ―a biological, adopted or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward or a child of a person standing in "loco parentis"), or the child of the domestic partner with a serious health condition
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her position

Substitution of Paid Leave

The College requires employees to substitute accrued paid leave (e.g., vacation, sick leave, personal leave) for family and medical leaves whenever permitted by law. If the employee does not have available sufficient paid leave for the entire twelve (12) weeks, the employee may take the balance of the leave as unpaid leave. If the employee has available more than twelve (12) weeks of paid leave, the employee may use all of the paid leave that applies to the employee's situation.

A family and medical leave may run concurrently with a worker's compensation absence when the injury is one that meets the criteria for a serious health condition. As the worker's compensation absence is not unpaid leave, the provision for substitution of accrued paid leave is not applicable.

Other Employment

Employees on family or medical leave are not permitted to perform services for remuneration for other employers (including self-employment), as an independent contractor, partner, sole proprietor, principal in a corporation, or for any other individual or entity, unless approved, in writing, in advance by the appropriate Vice President or the Vice President's designee. For units reporting to the President, the appropriate Vice President is the Vice President of Human Resources. Employees who have approved outside consulting/employment must obtain the approval of the appropriate Vice President to continue such services during a period of leave.

For more information about what FMLA can be used for, how it works, and the College's FMLA policy you can reference the documents below.

Department of Labor FMLA Guide

Southern State Community College FMLA Policy

How to Apply for FMLA

Start by completing the below FMLA Application and returning it to the Human Resources Department as soon as possible. A minimum of thirty (30) calendar days advance notice before the date the leave is to begin. The College recognizes that this may not always be possible. The employee must provide as much notice as is practicable. Once the FMLA Application has been reviewed by the Human Resource Department, further instruction will be provided to the employee and a FMLA Packet will be provided.

FMLA Application

The College requires a medical certification from the health care provider for leave taken for Reasons 3 or 4. Serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider. The certification form may be obtained from the Department of Human Resources. The College, from time to time (generally not more often than every 30 days), requires recertification during the period of leave. Failure to provide certification or recertification may result in a delay of leave, denial of leave and/or loss of pay for the leave period. Falsification of certification is grounds for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. The College may require, at its' expense, that the employee obtain the opinion of a second healthcare provider selected by the College concerning any information certified.

Returning from FMLA

No employee who has been off work for more than three (3) days due to their own illness/injury can return to work until they have approval to do so from the Department of Human Resources. Employees will be allowed to return to work once they have provided the Department of Human Resources with a full return to work release. Upon receiving the work release, the Department of Human Resources will notify the employee of the denial or approval and under what conditions the employee may return to work.

Failure to Return from Leave

The College may recover from the employee the cost of maintaining College provided benefits during the unpaid period of leave if the employee fails to return from leave. Exceptions are if the failure to return is due to: 1) the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition that would otherwise entitle the employee to leave under the family and medical leave policy, 2) or, other circumstances beyond the control of the employee.