Family & Medical Leave Act

Frequently asked FMLA questions for Faculty and IAS

What is FMLA expanding section

FMLA is the Family and Medical Leave Act. It entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job- protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

Even though FMLA is an unpaid leave you may choose to use any paid leave you have available such as sick leave, vacation, personal holiday, etc.

Will an employee receive pay while on FMLA protected leave? expanding section

FMLA only requires unpaid leave. However, employees may apply any accrued leave to cover the FMLA absence. All paid time off runs concurrently with FMLA.

Who do I contact? expanding section

Please contact Human Resources, 608-785-8013 to begin the process of requesting leave.

  • The Leave Coordinator in HR will need the following information:
    1. Employee’s name and department
    2. Last day of active full-time work.
    3. Chair or supervisors name
    4. The nature of your claim.
    5. Treating physician’s name, address and phone and fax numbers.
  • Faculty Family Leave: Contact your chair– at least 30 days prior to a planned leave (many people choose to share many months in advance for planning purposes) - to arrange academic responsibilities while on leave your chair will not ask for details about your leave, but they will need to know approximate dates of the request.
How do I request a leave? expanding section

A good place to start is by contacting the Leave Coordinator in HR to begin the process of requesting a leave.

For all medical leave requests you should contact the Leave Coordinator.

For a personal/non-medical leave requests you need to discuss the parameters and expectations of your leave with the department chair.  The next step would be to contact the Leave Coordinator and complete the Leave of Absence Request form.

Process for requesting a leave of absence:

  1. Contact the Leave Coordinator in Human Resources at 608-785-8013 to begin the process of requesting a leave.
  2. Meet with your Supervisor/Chair to discuss workload plan. An email with proposed workload plan* should be sent to Chair and Dean for approval and copy in Leave Coordinator (for Faculty and IAS).
  3. Employee should complete part one of the Leave of Absence Request form.
    1. Faculty and IAS should also include the workload plan*.
  4. Part two of this form should be completed by Supervisor/Chair (and Dean and Vice Chancellor, if applicable) and submitted to the Leave Coordinator in Human Resources.

Human Resources will review the completed leave of absence request and send an email notification of approval/denial to employee and Supervisor/Chair.

*For Faculty and IAS: The proposed workload plan should include the following items: teaching, scholarship, and service, including physical presence for advising and department meetings.  If applicable the following items should be included: any special projects should be referenced, non-class weeks and graduate student oversight obligations. It is recommended that the workload arrangement be proposed to the Dean by the Chair prior to form submission with the approved workload attached to the Leave of Absence Request form.

Can I request a partial leave? expanding section

Yes, however the amount of leave is dependent on several factors. For example the percentage of workload and amount of time doctor is requiring you to be off or working limited hours.

Please contact the Leave Coordinator in HR to help you coordinate your leave request or discuss percentage of leave time needed.  

When do I need to request a leave? expanding section

When the need for leave is foreseeable, an employee must provide UWL with 30 days' advance notice of the need for FMLA leave. For example, the need for FMLA leave for birth or adoption is almost always foreseeable 30 days in advance, and even surgeries are often scheduled 30 or more days in advance.

However, if you are comfortable doing so, given the planning associated with instruction and the academic calendar, we encourage you to speak to your chair as soon as you know you will need to take leave.  Please work with your chair and the Leave Coordinator in HR.

You will need to complete the Leave of Absence Request Form.

Are there any workload guidelines to follow when discussing a leave request with my chair? expanding section

Below are the Faculty and IAS workload guidelines for taking a leave.

Ranked Faculty

For leave purposes the standard for a full-time faculty member is based on the following:

  • There are 39 weeks of the contract year (20 weeks for Fall and 19 weeks for Spring).
  • Normal teaching load is 12 credits, exceptions are approved by the Dean.
  • Teaching is calculated as 60%, scholarship at 30% and service at 10% during the 30 weeks associated with the academic terms (15 for Fall and 15 for Spring). Scholarship can range from 10-30% and service 10-20%
  • For the remainder of the 9 weeks 100% of faculty member’s time could be considered scholarship and/or service.
  • While on leave the faculty member may work a reduced FTE that will be a combination of teaching, scholarship and service. The un-worked portion of FTE can be paid (sick, vacation, personal holiday leave hours, etc.) or unpaid.

IAS Instructor

For leave purposes the standard for a full-time IAS Instructor is based on the following:

  • There are 39 weeks of the contract year (20 weeks for Fall and 19 weeks for Spring).
  • Normal teaching load is 15 credits or contact hours but can be lower as determined by the Dean if the instructor has a reduced teaching load.
  • Teaching will be at least 80% the overall workload; service and professional development will not exceed 20% during the 30 weeks associated with the academic terms (15 for Fall and 15 for Spring).
  • There are 9 weeks of the 39 week contract year outside of the standard 14 week semester where 100% of faculty member’s time could be considered scholarship and/or service.
  • While on leave the faculty member may work a reduced FTE that will be a combination of teaching, scholarship and service. The un-worked portion of FTE can be paid (sick, vacation, personal holiday leave hours, etc.) or unpaid.
Does FMLA include leave as a new parent? expanding section

For eligible employees, FMLA is a federally-required leave and can be used for childbearing, adoption and baby bonding time.

The non-child bearing parent is eligible to take 12 weeks of FMLA for the birth of baby.  This would include to care for baby and baby bonding time.

Does UWL offer a paid paternity leave? expanding section

The State of Wisconsin and UWL do not offer paid parental leave. However, faculty and staff have the ability to combine the protection of FMLA with accrued paid leave allowing many employees to experience partial or paid leave depending on the amount of their leave accrued and the parameters of their specific FMLA leave agreement.

To whom does FMLA apply? expanding section

FMLA applies to employees who have worked for at least 12 months and have at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave. https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/benefits/leave/fmla/

What if I’m not eligible for FMLA? expanding section

If you are not eligible for FMLA HR will notify you after your request has been made. You may be able to take a personal leave, arranged with your dean.

What if I need additional leave; how do I extend my leave? expanding section

As soon as you know you require additional leave time, please contact your chair and the Leave Coordinator in HR.

What responsibilities do I have to ensure that my existing academic commitments are addressed while I am on leave? expanding section

Prior to commencing your leave, you are expected to contact your chair to ensure your academic commitments are addressed while on leave.

As set forth in the policy, faculty members on childbearing, adoption, and childrearing leaves are not required to fulfill University service responsibilities, such as membership on committees, during their leave.  During the academic year in which the leave is taken, eligible faculty members can receive a reduction in their annual work load corresponding to the length of the leave as proposed to and approved by the Dean.

Can I request a tenure clock stoppage while I am on a leave of absence? expanding section

Yes, please follow the procedure outlined in UW System Administrative Code Section UWS 3.04 Probationary Appointments

Any additional questions should be directed to the Provost.

If I need an immediate leave whom do I contact? expanding section

If you require an immediate leave, please contact Human Resources at 608-785-8013.

Please also contact your chair directly, if possible. While HR will notify your chair regarding your request, the sooner your chair is notified of the leave, appropriate planning for your academic responsibilities can take place.

Who has access to my medical information? expanding section

Human Resources will create a separate medical file for your information. Your medical information is not shared with anyone outside of HR and only those involved in the leave process in HR are aware of your medical information.

Who will be able to answer questions regarding my additional benefits (paid leave, additional leave, salary, teaching responsibilities, etc.)? expanding section

The Leave Coordinator will work with you on all benefits and reporting of leave time during this process. They will also work with you and the chair on questions regarding teaching responsibilities.

My partner and I are both University of Wisconsin faculty and we each meet the FMLA eligibility requirements. What leave is available to us following the birth or adoption of a child? expanding section

In the above situation, the faculty member who gave birth to the child is eligible to take FMLA leave for their own medical condition. FMLA also allows for leave to care for a newborn or bond with a child, in this case there is a combined limit on the leave time. For example, both you and your partner can not each take off a semester of FMLA time.

What leave is available if I am hospitalized or placed on bed rest during the course of my pregnancy? expanding section

Faculty members who are unable to work due to a medically-certified disability related to pregnancy or childbearing are eligible for FMLA.

Requests for medical leave must be accompanied by a statement from a physician describing the medical reason for the leave and the estimated duration of the leave.

I am expecting twins. Can I take two FMLA leaves, one for each baby? expanding section

The number of children involved does not increase the length of time FMLA is granted.

What if I need additional leave (paid or unpaid)? expanding section

You can request an extension of leave with your chair and the Leave Coordinator in HR. If your leave is for medical you will be required to provide documentation from your health care provider to extend your leave.

What happens to my health insurance benefits while I am on Family Leave? expanding section

If an employee is on a paid leave, UWL will continue to pay its share of health insurance premiums.  If an employee is on an unpaid leave, UWL will continue to pay its share of health insurance premiums for up to 3 months. The employee will be responsible for his or her portion of premiums. Additional information regarding benefits is available online at: https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/benefits/leave/fmla/

If I do not believe my department chair or school is dealing fairly with me regarding my access to Family Leave, is there any opportunity for appeal? expanding section

Yes.  Concerns about actions of a department chair should be directed to the dean. If your concern involves actions at the level of the dean, you should discuss your concerns with the Provost as soon as possible following the contested decision. Human Resources can also provide support if you feel you would need an accommodation and help you with what type of medical information you would need to share.

If a university holiday falls during a week when I am on continuous FMLA, is that day counted toward my FMLA leave entitlement? expanding section

Yes, the university does count a holiday towards an employee’s FMLA leave entitlement. This includes all of the days during winter break when the university is scheduled to be closed.

Frequently asked FMLA questions for Department Chairs

If I am a department chair and an employee requests a leave are there any workload guidelines to follow when approving the leave request? expanding section

Below are the Faculty and IAS workload guidelines for taking a leave.

Ranked Faculty

For leave purposes the standard for a full-time faculty member is based on the following:

  • There are 39 weeks of the contract year (20 weeks for Fall and 19 weeks for Spring).
  • Normal teaching load is 12 credits, exceptions are approved by the Dean.
  • Teaching is calculated as 60%, scholarship at 30% and service at 10% during the 30 weeks associated with the academic terms (15 for Fall and 15 for Spring). Scholarship can range from 10-30% and service 10-20%
  • For the remainder of the 9 weeks 100% of faculty member’s time could be considered scholarship and/or service.
  • While on leave the faculty member may work a reduced FTE that will be a combination of teaching, scholarship and service. The un-worked portion of FTE can be paid (sick, vacation, personal holiday leave hours, etc.) or unpaid.

IAS Instructor

For leave purposes the standard for a full-time IAS Instructor is based on the following:

  • There are 39 weeks of the contract year (20 weeks for Fall and 19 weeks for Spring).
  • Normal teaching load is 15 credits or contact hours but can be lower as determined by the Dean if the instructor has a reduced teaching load.
  • Teaching will be at least 80% the overall workload; service and professional development will not exceed 20% during the 30 weeks associated with the academic terms (15 for Fall and 15 for Spring).
  • There are 9 weeks of the 39 week contract year outside of the standard 14 week semester where 100% of faculty member’s time could be considered scholarship and/or service.
  • While on leave the faculty member may work a reduced FTE that will be a combination of teaching, scholarship and service. The un-worked portion of FTE can be paid (sick, vacation, personal holiday leave hours, etc.) or unpaid.
Who is responsible for identifying and hiring replacement instruction if needed while an employee is on a leave? expanding section

In conjunction with the dean’s office the department is responsible for identifying and hiring replacement instruction as necessary. Faculty are not required to “make up” missed courses in subsequent terms. 

What is the process to request a leave of absence? expanding section

Process for requesting a leave of absence:

  1. Contact the Leave Coordinator in Human Resources at 608-785-8013 to begin the process of requesting a leave.
  2. Meet with your Supervisor/Chair to discuss workload plan. An email with proposed workload plan* should be sent to Chair and Dean for approval and copy in Leave Coordinator (for Faculty and IAS).
  3. Employee should complete part one of the Leave of Absence Request form.
    1. Faculty and IAS should also include the workload plan*.
  4. Part two of this form should be completed by Supervisor/Chair (and Dean and Vice Chancellor, if applicable) and submitted to the Leave Coordinator in Human Resources.

Human Resources will review the completed leave of absence request and send an email notification of approval/denial to employee and Supervisor/Chair.

*For Faculty and IAS: The proposed workload plan should include the following items: teaching, scholarship, and service, including physical presence for advising and department meetings.  If applicable the following items should be included: any special projects should be referenced, non-class weeks and graduate student oversight obligations. It is recommended that the workload arrangement be proposed to the Dean by the Chair prior to form submission with the approved workload attached to the Leave of Absence Request form.

FAQs for staff is coming soon. Please complete a Leave of Absence Request form and contact the Leave Coordinator in HR. 

Leave Coordinator

Michelle Jambois Profile of Michelle Jambois

Fmla & Workers Comp Coordinator
144 Graff Main Hall
mjambois@uwlax.edu
608.785.6497

Specialty areas:

Family Medical Leaves, Workers Compensation, ADA