Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Mount Holyoke College has adopted a family leave policy which will allow benefits eligible employees with at least one year of service or the equivalent of at least a minimum of 1,250 hours of service to request up to 12 weeks of consecutive, job-protected, unpaid leave within a twelve month period for their own health reasons (serious health condition) or that of their immediate family members, or for the birth, foster care, or adoption of a child. This 12-week leave is inclusive of accrued paid leave, such as vacation or sick leave if appropriate. This policy is in accordance with the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).

For purposes of this policy, immediate family members include: child (biological, adopted, or foster child, a step-child, legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis); spouse; or parent (parent or person who acted in loco parentis, not parent-in-law).

Provisions of the FMLA require employees to provide medical certification, acceptable to the College, of serious illness of either the employee or immediate family member prior to the commencement of a leave. During the leave, subsequent medical recertification may also be required.

Employees must present their request for leave under the FMLA at least 30 days prior to the requested leave date. In cases where the necessity for leave is unforeseeable, employees should present their request as soon as possible under the circumstances.

Under this policy, employees requesting leave for the purpose of caring for themselves as a result of a serious illness may also request intermittent or reduced schedule leave. Intermittent leave is non-consecutive leave (the 12 weeks of unpaid leave not being taken all at one time); a reduced schedule leave allows an employee to request a reduction in their usual number of hours worked per week or per day. Employees requesting intermittent leave should discuss with their department head their request and options for leave available that would minimize any potential adverse impact of their absence on the operations of the department and ensure that necessary work was accomplished. To this end, if an employee's leave request is based on foreseeable or planned medical treatment, she/he must make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment so as to have as minimal an impact on the work schedule as possible. In such an intermittent or reduced schedule leave request, the employee may be temporarily transferred to an available alternative job that better accommodates the periods of leave than the employee's regular position if the employee is qualified to perform the alternative job.

During the period an employee is on approved unpaid FMLA leave, the College will continue to pay its share of the costs of all benefits except the retirement plan, provided the employee makes arrangements to pay her or his share of such benefits. The employee may continue to make voluntary contributions to her or his retirement benefit by sending money directly to our current retirement vendor, but these contributions will be on an after-tax basis only. While on unpaid family leave, the employee does not continue to accrue vacation, sick leave, or holiday pay.

For leaves associated with the birth or adoption of a child, parental request on a leave of absence may be made under the provisions of either the parental leave or family leave policy (but not both). Parental leave and FMLA will run concurrently.  For leave requests for reasons other than family or medical, employees may request consideration under the provisions of the leave of absence policy.

If both spouses are employed by Mount Holyoke College and leave is requested for the birth or placement of a child on adoption or to care for a sick parent, the couple's leave may be limited to a total of 12 weeks. If, however, the leave is requested to care for a seriously ill child, each parent may be eligible for the full 12-week leave.

An employee returning from unpaid family leave is entitled to be returned to the position she/he held prior to the leave or to an equivalent position. Medical certification of the employee's ability to perform the job may be required. Certain key administrative positions may be exempt from eligibility for job restoration rights.

All requests should be made through the employee's supervisor/department head or chair. More detailed information on this policy may be obtained from the Human Resources Department.