5.6 Family/Medical Leave of Absence (FMLA)

Revised July 1997, amended Aug. 2009

In general, a leave of absence is an official authorization to be absent from work without pay for a specified period of time. 

Eligible employees may be entitled to job-protected family or medical leaves of absence if they are unable to come to work due to pressing family or medical concerns as described under the following Family/Medical Leave Policy, which shall be administered in accordance with applicable state and federal laws:

  1. Employees are eligible if they have been actively employed by the College for a total of twelve months, and have performed at least 1,250 hours of service during the twelve-month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave.
  2. Under the circumstances set forth below, each eligible employee shall have up to a total of twelve (12) weeks leave during any one year period. For FMLA purposes, the one-year period will be based upon the date when an employee's FMLA leave commences.
  3. A family leave shall be granted upon the birth or adoption of a child of the employee, or upon the serious health condition of the employee's child, spouse, parent, or domestic partner.
  4. A medical leave shall be granted upon the employee's own serious health condition.
  5. Whenever possible, and subject to your health care provider's approval, absences for planned medical treatment should be scheduled so as not to unduly disrupt College operations.
  6. In appropriate circumstances, we may require you to be examined by a College-designated physician, at our expense.
  7. In the event of a serious health condition to the employee or his/her child, spouse, parent, or domestic partner, creating a need for unforeseeable family or medical leave, the employee should provide us with notice, as soon as practicable, of any needed time off, and a written doctor's certificate indicating the expected duration and nature of the condition, particularly as it relates to the employee's ability to come to work or the need for that employee's presence at home to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
  8. Employees shall be required to give thirty (30) days advance notice in the event of a foreseeable medical treatment. To assist us in arranging work assignments during your absence, we ask that you give us prior notice, to the extent possible, of an expected birth or adoption, as well as an indication, to the extent known, of your expected return date. To facilitate your return to work, we also ask that you provide us with two weeks advance notification of your intended return date. Failure to do so may delay your return date.

    At the end of a leave for the employee's own serious health condition, the employee must provide medical certification that she or he is able to return to work.
  9. For purposes of this policy, a child is defined as a natural, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, or a legal ward. If the child is over 18, he/she must be unable to care for himself/herself due to a serious health condition.
    1. A parent is defined as the employee's or his/her spouse's natural, adoptive, or foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian.
    2. A domestic partner is defined as a same- or opposite-sex partner, residing in the employee's home. (See full definition under Group Health Insurance, Definition of a Domestic Partner).
    3. A serious health condition is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition lasting more than three consecutive days that involves (1) inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or (2) continuing treatment by a health care provider.
    4. In cases where the leave is due to a serious health condition, the employee may request an intermittent or reduced leave schedule providing it is medically necessary to do so and the time away from work does not exceed twelve work weeks in total. An example would be taking a full or half day off each week to drive a parent to a chemotherapy treatment.
    5. When the leave is due to birth, adoption, or placement for foster care, the leave can be taken all at once or intermittently providing it falls within the first twelve months after the birth or placement.
    6. Eligible spouses and/or domestic partners employed by the College are jointly entitled to a combined total of twelve weeks of family leave for the birth or placement of a child, or to care for his or her seriously ill parent.
    7. For the care of a spouse, domestic partner, or child with a serious health condition, or for the employee's own serious health condition, each spouse or domestic partner is entitled to a separate twelve-week limit.
    8. For an intermittent leave, the College reserves the right to temporarily transfer the employee to an alternate position with equivalent pay and benefits if it would better accommodate recurring periods of leave.
  10. Leave-of-absence rights available to you under other sections of our policy shall be counted towards the total time off available under this section. All applicable paid leave days — such as sick (current and accumulated), personal, family illness, maternity, and vacation — must be used first. The balance of the twelve weeks will be unpaid. The employee may choose to retain five days of paid leave for future use.
  11. Upon completion of a leave granted under this section, you shall be reinstated to your original position, or an equivalent one.
  12. If, due to your own medical circumstances, you are no longer able to perform your original job, we will attempt to transfer you to alternate suitable work, if available.
  13. While you are on a leave of absence provided for under this policy, we will continue your group health insurance benefits under the same terms as provided to other employees, for up to a maximum of twelve (12) weeks leave time during any one year period. The employee must continue to pay his or her portion of the premium when due (i.e., payday). If your leave extends beyond twelve (12) weeks, you shall be offered the opportunity to purchase continuing coverage under state and federal COBRA continuation rules.
  14. The College will not continue to pay premiums for other benefits during the unpaid portion of the leave. However, the employee may pay the full cost of applicable premiums (employee and College portions) if he or she would like to continue coverage. Please contact the Office of Human Resources for additional information.
  15. Other accumulated fringe benefits such as seniority, retirement, sick pay, and vacation pay shall be preserved at the level earned as of commencement of the leave, but shall not accrue further during any such leave.
  16. Should you require an extended leave beyond the period of time described in this policy, we will seek to return you to a suitable position, but cannot guarantee that one will be available.
  17. Should you seek a leave of absence for reasons other than described above, we will evaluate such a request based on particular circumstances present at that time, including but not limited to your current and anticipated work responsibilities, performance, College needs, etc. Kenyon College reserves the right to refuse such a request at its sole discretion.

Military Family Leave Entitlements

Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent on active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation 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.

FMLA 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 a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the service member medically unfit to perform his or her duties for which the service member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.