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Back to Index | Relevant Policy - 7.28 Staff Approved Unpaid Leaves of Absence and Family Medical Leave (FMLA)
7.28.P.1 Staff Approved Unpaid Leaves of Absence and Family Medical Leave (FMLA)
PROCEDURE PROCEDURE

Reference:
Section 7.28 - Policy

 

1.    OVERVIEW – APPROVED UNPAID LEAVE 
 
a.    The Superintendent has the responsibility to create procedures to implement two forms of approved unpaid leave per DUSD policy.  They are:
 
i.    Approved unpaid leave for extenuating circumstances and

ii.    Approved unpaid leave for reasons related to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
 
b.    The Superintendent has designated the Payroll and Benefits Department (hereinafter Department) with the responsibility for receiving and processing requests for approved unpaid leaves of absence.  
 
c.    The Payroll and Benefits Department and the Human Relations Department shall stay informed about federal and legal changes to FMLA.  They shall consult annually as to which
department shall be responsible for, among other areas, ensuring that any legally required notices to employees about their rights e.g. FMLA are posted in appropriate employee work areas. Both departments should have lines of communication to ensure compliance.
 
d.    Below are the procedures for implementation of this leave for staff.

2.    PROCEDURES TO OBTAIN AN APPROVED UNPAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE FOR EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES. (NON-FMLA)
 
a.    The Department will maintain an online application and processing procedure to include information advising employees about eligibility and the application process for this form of leave.
 
b.    The application and eligibility criteria for this leave is established and requirements outlined by the Board in its related Policy.  All information provided to and obtained from employees should be consistent with this policy.

c.    Once an application is received by the Department, if supporting documentation is needed, the Department will seek to obtain that information from the applicant.  Documentation must be submitted to the Department by the employee before the application will be reviewed.

d.    A completed application is one that includes all supporting documentation.  It will be forwarded from the Department to the Assistant Superintendent for Human Relations for review and recommendation to the Superintendent.

e.    The Superintendent within his/her discretion shall determine whether an application should be approved and/or forwarded to the Board for approval.

f.    The Superintendent may approve leaves up to 12 weeks in length.  Leaves beyond 12 weeks must be submitted to the Board for approval.

g.    Extensions for an approved unpaid leave of absence must be submitted by the employee and approved at least 30 days prior to the conclusion of the initial approved leave with all required documentation.  

h.    The maximum amount of time a leave will be approved or extended is one (1) year.
 
3.    PROCEDURES TO OBTAIN AN APPROVED UNPAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE FOR FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE (FMLA)
 
a.    The Department will maintain an online application and FMLA application processing procedure to include information for employees about eligibility, the application process and approval process for FMLA leave. Please note at the employer or employee’s option certain paid leave may be substituted for unpaid leave. 

b.    Upon receipt of an application for FMLA leave, an employee shall be provided a Notice of Employee Rights and Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act.  These notices are required by the federal FMLA law the text of which can be obtained online from the federal government.

c.    The application and eligibility criteria for this leave is established and requirements outlined by the Board in Policy 7.28 and the Family Medical Leave Act.  All information provided to and obtained from employees should be consistent with the law and district policy.

d.    Employee applications must be submitted 30 days in advance of the need to take the leave when foreseeable and as soon as practicable thereafter. 

e.    Once an application is received by the Department, the employee should be informed if they are eligible or not under FMLA.
 
i.    If eligible, notice must be provided that includes the information outlined in 3.b above as well as specification of any additional information that may be required as well as notice as to how to submit the information and any deadlines. 

ii.    If not eligible, the employee must be informed as to the reason for the ineligibility. 
 
f.    A completed application is one that includes all supporting documentation. 

g.    Requests for Intermittent or Reduced Time Leave (IRT) will be approved when medically necessary or for “qualifying exigencies”.  Employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule leave for planned medical treatment so as not to unduly disrupt district operations. 
 
h.    Requests for FMLA leave meeting the FMLA criteria shall be approved.
 
i.    Up to 12 weeks in a 12 month period 

ii.    Up to 26 weeks in a 12 month for Military Caregiver Leave. 

iii.    Requests for extensions of unpaid approved leave beyond the number of weeks allowed in section 4.d.i and 4.d.ii of this procedure may be made under the NON-FMLA unpaid leave of absence for extenuating circumstances program.  

4.    PROCEDURES FOR STAFF AT THE EXPIRATION OF AN ANY APPROVED UNPAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE 
 
a.    Staff will be returned to work after an approved leave at the start of a new term (semester) or at such time that instructional programs and/or efficiency of operations will not be interrupted or disrupted.

b.    Employees are required to provide a medical certificate from a health care provider that the employee is able to resume work before return from unpaid leave for a serious personal health condition.

c.    The Human Relations Department shall maintain a list of employees on approved unpaid leaves.  Within 30 days prior to the expiration of an employee’s leave, the Human Relations Department will determine where the employee will be returned to work in consultation with appropriate district administrators.  The employee will then be notified, in writing by mail to their last known address, via email and by phone as to where to report to work at the expiration of the leave.

d.    The employee will be returned to the original, equivalent or comparable position without loss of accrued earned leave, tenure and retirement or status on the salary schedule, except that an employee will not be eligible for the yearly increment and tenure unless he/she has completed at least one-half (1/2) or more of the total days on duty per employee work calendar.
 
i.    The District may deny restoration of position to any key employee (i.e., one who is among the highest-paid ten percent [10%] of all employees of the district in accordance with Section 104(b) of the FMLA.)

ii.    If the employee does not acknowledge receipt of the returning assignment within 10 days of notification, the employee will be deemed to have abandoned their position with the district and all employment rights will be terminated.  The Board shall be provided with appropriate submissions to terminate the employee’s rights to employment with the district.

5.    HEALTH CARE CONTINUATION
 
a.    FMLA: The employee’s health care coverage shall be continued for an employee on an approved leave under the same terms and conditions of an actively working employee.  
 
i.    The Payroll and Benefits department will make arrangements with the employee regarding collection of any employee benefit contributions they would normally have deducted from their payroll were the employee not on leave. 

ii.    Note: If your FMLA leave is extended into a non-FMLA status, your benefits through DUSD will terminate at the end of the month in which your unpaid status begins.  You will have the opportunity to continue insurance by paying the full cost of the premiums through COBRA. For more information and related forms, contact the Benefits and Payroll Department.  

iii.    If the employee does not return to work after approved FMLA leave expires, the employee shall be required to repay any health care premiums paid by the district unless the Superintendent or designee determines that failure to return is due to circumstances beyond the employee’s control.
 
b.    NON-FMLA unpaid leave: At the conclusion of the month in which unpaid leave status begins, DUSD benefits will terminate. Employees have the opportunity to continue insurance by paying the full cost of the premiums through COBRA. For more information and related forms, contact the Benefits and Payroll Department.  Benefits will be reinstated on the first day of the month following their return to work date, EXCEPT if they return on the 1st and that day is a work day, then benefits will be reinstated that day.