APPOL Home  |  Whatcom County |  InsideWhatcom  | Forms
APPOL - Administrative Policies and Procedures Online
 
Administration  |  Facilities |  Finance |  Human Resources |  Information Technology
 
 

Administering Family and Medical Leave

W.C. Policy Logo POL AD143400Z

This policy applies when an employee meets eligibility criteria under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

For the purposes of this policy, the term "serious health condition” is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

  • A period of incapacity due to pregnancy; OR
  • Three or more consecutive calendar days of incapacity or episodes of incapacity over time; AND
  • Inpatient care in a medical facility; OR
  • Continuing treatment by a healthcare provider.
  1. Whatcom County Provides Twelve Workweeks of Family and Medical Leave
    An employee is eligible for up to twelve workweeks of FMLA leave within a year if he or she:
    • Worked for Whatcom County a total of twelve months (need not be consecutive).
    • Worked at least 1,250 hours in the twelve consecutive months before leave begins.
    • Requires absence from work for:
      • Birth, care, and to bond with his or her newborn child.
      • Adoption or foster care of a child under 18.
      • Care for spouse, child, or parent of the employee with a serious health condition.
      • Employee’s own serious health condition.

    An employee absent from work to care for a family member injured or ill as a result of military duty may apply for up to a total of twenty-six workweeks of Family and Medical Leave.

  2. Employee Cannot Waive FMLA Protections
    The employee will not waive job benefits and protection for leaves that qualify as FMLA.  When an employee is on FMLA, Whatcom County will:

    • Maintain the employee’s health and welfare benefits.  The employee will continue to pay any required portion of premium.
    • Maintain the employee’s employment status accrued as of start of leave (seniority, COLAs, steps).
    • Restore the employee to original or equivalent position upon return from leave. If a position is eliminated due to layoff, Whatcom County will follow layoff policies.
    • Not consider FMLA in evaluating the employee’s performance.
  3. Whatcom County Measures Year Forward from Beginning of Leave
    Whatcom County will count the FMLA year beginning on the date the employee first starts FMLA leave.

  4. Employee Elects Paid or Unpaid Leave
    The employee may elect FMLA as unpaid leave OR may use accrued paid leave (sick, vacation, and personal holiday) as allowed by the applicable collective bargaining agreement or unrepresented resolution. 
    • Exception:  Once an employee has used a total of twelve work weeks of unpaid FMLA leave, all available accruals must be exhausted during any future FMLA leave before taking more unpaid leave.

  5. Employee Gives 30 Days Notice When Leave is Foreseeable
    When FMLA leave is foreseeable, the employee will give at least 30 days of advance notice to his or her supervisor.  For an unexpected FMLA leave, the employee will provide notice verbally to his or her supervisor within one business day and will return completed FMLA paperwork within 15 days. 

  6. Whatcom County Designates and Tracks Qualified Absences as FMLA
    Upon notice of an FMLA absence, or when an employee has missed three or more consecutive workdays, the A.S. Human Resources (HR) Representative will provide an FMLA Packet with notice of potential FMLA rights and obligations to the employee.  Whatcom County will designate all qualified absences toward the FMLA job-protected leave.  Administrative Services (A.S.) will track FMLA time using special pay codes.

  7. FMLA Runs Concurrently With Other Leaves
    If leave for FMLA would also qualify as leave under any other Whatcom County benefit, policy, or type of leave, the period of the FMLA leave will run concurrently and will apply toward an employee’s entitlement for each type of leave that may be applicable, except:
    • Leave under the Washington Family Leave Act for pregnancy or childbirth-related disability.

  8. Whatcom County Requires Medical Certification
    An employee on leave for a serious health condition or to care for a covered relative with a serious health condition will obtain a completed Certification of Health Care Provider form from the health care provider.  In both cases, Whatcom County may require periodic medical recertifications, progress reports, and/or second opinions.  For leave to bond with a child, Whatcom County will not require medical certification.

  9. Whatcom County Requires Fitness for Duty Certification
    Before returning to work, an employee on leave for his or her own serious health condition will obtain a completed Fitness for Duty Certification from a health care provider. An employee authorized for intermittent leave need not provide a Fitness for Duty Certification each time he or she returns to work, but may be required to provide periodic progress reports.

  10. Whatcom County Treats FMLA Records as Confidential
    Before returning to work, an employee on leave for his or her own serious health condition will obtain a completed Fitness for Duty Certification from a health care provider.  An employee authorized for intermittent leave need not provide a Fitness for Duty Certification each time he or she returns to work, but may be required to provide periodic progress reports. 

Whatcom County Administrative Policy - AD143400Z
Administering Workers’ Compensation

Topic: Employee Benefits
Effective Date: 11/29/05, revised 06/12/08
Approved by: Pete Kremen
Cancels:
n/a (new)
See Procedure: NA