Phone: (770) 787-1330 Fax: (770) 784-2950 Email: info@newton.k12.ga.us

Family Medical Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires the Newton County School System to provide up to sixty (60) days of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month period for certain family and medical reasons.  All full-time employees of the Newton County School System having worked at least 12 months are eligible for FML leave.  FML provides that if the employee returns to work prior to or on the first scheduled day following the 60th approved FML day, the employee will be reinstated to the same job or an equivalent job with the same pay, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment. 

There are two types of FML:

  • Block FML – Consecutive days of leave.
  • Intermittent FML – Leave taken on a sporadic basis.

The following conditions qualify for Family and Medical Leave:

·         When an employee is unable to work because of their own serious health condition *.

·         To care for the employee’s qualified family member** with a serious health condition*.

·         The birth of a child to the employee.

·         The first year care of an employee’s child.

·         The adoption or foster parent placement of a child with an employee.

·         Any period of incapacity or treatment for a chronic serious health condition* of an employee which continues over an extended period of time, requires periodic visits (at least twice a year) to a health care provider and may involve occasional episodes of incapacity (Intermittent FML).

·         Military Family Leave Entitlements – Eligible employees whose spouse, son, daughter or parent is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status may use their 12-week leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies.  Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings.

·         FML also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a single 12-month period.  A covered service member is: (1) a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the 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 (2) a veteran who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable at any time during the five-year period prior to the first date the eligible employee takes FML leave to care for the covered veteran, and who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness.* 

*The FML definitions of “serious injury or illness” for current service members and veterans are distinct from the FML definition of “serious health condition”. 

*Serious Health Condition:

·         Any period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care (an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or

·         A period of incapacity lasting  more than five calendar days that also involves a visit to a health care provider and a regimen of continuing treatment; or

·         Any period of incapacity due to a pregnancy or prenatal care; or

·         Any period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective (stroke, terminal diseases, etc.); or

·         Any period of incapacity or treatment for a chronic serious health condition; or

·         Any absences to receive multiple treatments for, by, or on referral from a health care provider for a condition that would likely result in incapacity for five or more days if left untreated (chemotherapy, physical therapy, dialysis).

** Qualifying Family Member:

The form “Employee Statement of Family Relationship for FML Leave” must be completed by the employee and included in the FML application submitted to the NCSS HR Dept.

  • Child (biological, adoptive, step or foster children, legal wards, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis of the employee). 
    • Note: Child must be 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 leave is to commence.  
    • If child is over age 18, the form “Adult Child Disability Medical Inquiry Form” must be completed by the child’s health care provider submitted to the NCSS HR Dept.
  • Spouse
  • Parent (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).
  • For purposes of military caregiver leave under FML, next of kin of a covered service member means the nearest blood relative other than the covered service member’s spouse, parent, son or daughter in the following order of priority:  Blood relatives who have been granted legal custody of the covered 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 FML.

NOTE: In-laws, grandparents, siblings and other extended family members are NOT covered by FML.

WHEN DO I NEED TO REQUEST FML?  If you meet one of the aforementioned qualifications, you may apply for FML. If you expect to be out of work for five (5) days or longer, you must apply for FML.  A 30-day notice of pending leave is required when the leave is foreseeable.  In any event, written notice in the form of a completed Request for Family / Medical Leave should be submitted by you as soon as possible.  Failure to submit all proper FML documentation (including supporting documentation such as medical certification) within 15 days of absence could result in automatic denial of FML and possible disciplinary action.

Excessive absences (consecutive and/or cumulative) not covered by FML can result in an attendance/performance issue and possible disciplinary action.

WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO BE TAKEN?

1)      Consult with your health care provider about the number of days you must be absent.  A signed Certification of Health Care Provider form from the health care provider is required for illness or birth of a child.

2)      Discuss the leave with your principal or local supervisor.  The department/school protocol concerning reporting out must always be followed.

3)      Complete the FML request – Must include anticipated beginning and ending date (or anticipated duration) of FML Leave.

4)      Submit and have your Health Care Provider complete the Certification of Health Care Provider form to include medical certification and/or other required documents supporting your reason for FML.

5)      All completed forms will need to be submitted to the Human Resources Department.

HOW MUCH LEAVE CAN BE TAKEN?  Under FML, the maximum is 60 days in a 12-month period.  The 60 days in a 12-month period will be measured from the first date FML leave is used.  If the FML leave is for a serious health condition, the dates provided by the health care provider will be used to approve leave.  You cannot request additional time unless ordered by your health care provider.  However, for the birth of a child, you may request additional time for the care of your child during his/her first year. Also, time off due to a Workers’ Compensation injury will be counted as FML time (not to exceed 60 FML days per FML Year).  An employee can apply and be approved for FML due to multiple reasons; however, the combination for all reasons cannot exceed 60 FML days per FML year.  Please remember that 60 days in a twelve month period is the maximum allowed.  (The special FML Leave entitlement to care for a covered military service member is an exception.)

If a husband and wife work for the school system, each is entitled to 60 days for his/her own illness or the illness of a child.  However, the 60 days must be split between them if it is for the illness of a parent, or for the first year care of a child related to adoption or birth.

DO I TAKE PAID LEAVE OR UNPAID LEAVE?  The employee is required to use all paid leave, (sick/personal and/or vacation) available to him/her.  At the time paid leave is exhausted, Leave Without Pay (LWOP) will be entered.  Please keep in mind the cut off dates for payroll.  For each day that you do not have paid leave, your pay will be reduced by your daily rate of pay.  Please contact the Business Office for guidance.

DO MY BENEFITS CONTINUE UNDER FML LEAVE?  When you are receiving a paycheck with sufficient funds, benefit deductions continue.  When paid leave is exhausted and the funds are not sufficient, you are required to pay for your benefits to avoid loss of coverage.    Please contact the Business Office for guidance.  Note:  Failure to remit timely premiums will result in immediate loss of coverage.

WHAT IF I NEED TO EXTEND MY FMLIf the period of leave needs to be extended beyond the original approved period (within the 60 FML day maximum), the employee should notify their principal/supervisor as soon as possible and complete a new Request for Family / Medical Leave form which must be submitted prior to the last day of approved (original) leave.  Employees should direct the request to the Human Resource Department for approval.  A medical update (Certification of Health Care Provider) form from the attending physician/provider must be attached if leave is for a serious health condition.

WHAT IF MY DISABILITY LASTS BEYOND THE 60 FML DAY MAXIMUM?  If you are not able to return to work prior to or on the first scheduled day immediately following the 60th approved FML day and the reason is due to your (the employee’s) serious health condition, you may qualify for Extended Medical Leave (EML).   With the appropriate medical documentation (updated Certification of Health Care Provider), EML will enable you to continue your benefits.   Contact the Business Office (770-784-4910) for more details.  Note:  Failure to remit timely premiums will result in immediate loss of coverage and possible termination of leave.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO RETURN FROM FML?  If the leave was due to a serious health condition of the employee a completed Fitness for Duty Certification form from the treating health care provider addressing release to return to work must be submitted to the Human Resources Department and/or the principal/supervisor.  The employee’s return to work is dependent upon receipt of this documentation.  This must be done prior to or on the first day of return to work.  The employee must always coordinate/confirm return to work (in advance) with their principal/supervisor.

Upon receipt of the FML request and completed medical certification, a notification letter will be mailed to the employee from the Human Resources Department regarding their leave status.

NOTE: To avoid pay discrepancies, please ensure the appropriate leave forms are completed and submitted to your leave entry designee at your work location as soon as possible.  Upon return to work, the employee should notify their work location leave entry designee as well as the Human Resources Department of their return to work date.  This can be done by email (preferably), telephone or note sent via school mail to the Human Resources Department.

All FML related forms can be obtained on this page of the Newton County School System websiteor upon request from your work location or the Human Resources Department.

If you have any questions regarding FML, please contact the Human Resources Department at 770-787-1330.

FORMS:

1. NCSS Family/Medical Leave Information Sheet
2. STEP 1--Employee Request for FML Form
3. STEP 2--Certification of Health Care Provider Form
4. STEP 3--(if applicable)--Employee Statement of Family Member Form
5. FML Employee Rights and Responsibilities