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.

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

To start the leave request process 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 credit, 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

FMLA is a federally-required unpaid leave (for eligible employees) and can be used for childbearing and adoption.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 credit, 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. 

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