Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Launch provides family and medical leave to eligible employees consistent with the requirements of the 1993 Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The act is intended to provide the framework for extended unpaid leave in certain circumstances. The requirements of the act are complicated and the need for planning essential. Thus, any employee who thinks he or she may be entitled to family or medical leave should contact the Director of Finance to determine eligibility at least 30 days prior to your projected leave date, or as soon thereafter as possible when the need for leave is not foreseeable.

An eligible employee is entitled to a total leave of 12 weeks during a rolling 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Birth or adoption (including foster care) of a child
  • Placement with the employee of a child for whom the employee permanently assumes and discharges parental responsibility;
  • Serious health condition of a spouse, child, parent or self (defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that requires inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider).

Employees may take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave for the following reasons:

  • For a “qualifying exigency” for families of members of the National Guard or Reserves or of a regular component of the Armed Forces when the covered military member is on covered active duty or called to covered active duty.
  • To care for a veteran who suffered an injury or illness as a result of a the individual's active duty. (Leave can be taken up to 5 years after discharge).
  • To care for a service member with a serious illness or injury (An employee whose son, daughter, parent, or next of kin is a covered service member)

To be eligible, an employee must have worked at least one year at Launch and must have at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period. For purposes of counting the 12 weeks, the 12- month period is a rolling 12 months, and begins with an employee’s first absence on approved family and medical leave during the preceding 12 months. Annual and sick leave do not accrue during periods of unpaid family and medical leave. The employee will be expected to continue to make any required contributions for health benefits as if the employee were not on leave.

Definition of a Serious Health Condition

A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

  • Incapacity or treatment requiring an overnight stay in a hospital or residential medical care facility;
  • Incapacity that requires an individual to be absent from work, school or other daily activity for more than three days and that also requires treatment or supervision by a health care provider;
  • Continuing treatment or supervision by a health care provider for a chronic or longterm health condition that is incurable, or so serious that it is likely to result in a three-day period of incapacity; or prenatal care.

Required Notice and Medical Certification

If the request for leave is foreseeable, an employee must provide his/her written request for leave to his/her supervisor and copy the Director of Finance at least 30 days in advance, or as soon possible and practicable. Appropriate documentation may be requested to verify the reasons for the leave. The Director of Finance will notify the employee whether the leave is designated as family or medical leave.

Any requested leave based on a serious health condition, whether it involves the employee or a family member, must be supported by appropriate medical certification. The employee must have a “Certificate of Health Care Provider” form completed by his or her health care provider, or the physician of the family member for whose care the employee is requesting leave. Failure to provide requested medical certification in a timely manner may result in denial of leave until it is provided. Launch may require subsequent medical recertification on a reasonable basis.

Employees should provide medical certification directly to the Director of Finance, where confidentiality will be maintained. Supervisors will be advised of any limitations or restrictions or required information for first aid or safety after the employee returns to work. The medical certification will be treated as a confidential medical record and will be maintained separate from the employee’s personnel file.

In the case of medical leave, Launch may require the employee to obtain a second or third opinion from a health care provider, at the firm’s expense. If it becomes necessary to resolve a conflict between the original certification and the second opinion, Launch may require a third health care practitioner, mutually agreeable to Launch and the employee, and Launch will pay for the opinion. The third opinion will be considered final.

Taking Paid Leave

Any PTO time that is available at the time of the request for the leave will be applied concurrently and at the beginning of the leave. In addition, Launch offers paid parental leave and/or disability leave which also run concurrent with this leave. Any leave taken after the available PTO or other paid leaves has been exhausted will be unpaid.

School Holidays and Break during Leave

When a school holiday, break or closing occurs during an employee’s FMLA leave, this time will be unpaid, unless the employee has been approved for paid parental leave or are using their PTO Time.

Intermittent and Reduced Schedule Leave

Under certain circumstances, employees may be eligible to take family or medical leave intermittently or through a reduced work schedule. Such absences will be applied against the leave permitted under this policy. Leave may be taken intermittently or through a reduced work schedule as follows:

  • Serious Health Condition of the Employee or a Family Member
  • Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule if medically necessary. Medical certification to that effect will be required. In all cases, the leave may not exceed the leave entitlement period. While on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule, Launch may temporarily transfer the employee to an alternative position which has equivalent pay and benefits and which better accommodates the recurring leave.
  • Birth, Adoption or Foster Care
  • An employee may not take leave intermittently or work a reduced schedule for the birth, adoption or foster care of a child unless Launch and the employee have mutually agreed to the schedule, or unless there is a medical necessity for the intermittent or reduced hours leave.

Benefits during Leave

While on a leave of absence provided for under this policy, Launch will continue your group health insurance benefits under the same terms as provided to other employees, for up to a maximum of 12 weeks leave during any one year period. If your leave extends beyond 12 weeks, you shall be offered the opportunity to purchase continuing coverage under state and federal COBRA continuation rules. Employees who fail to return to work after expiration of FMLA leave may be required to reimburse the school for health insurance premiums paid during the leave.

Other accumulated fringe benefits such as retirement, service credits and the like, shall be preserved at the level accrued as of commencement of the leave, but shall not be earned or accrue further during any such leave period.

Return from Leave

An employee who takes leave because of his or her own serious health condition (other than intermittent or reduced leave hours) will not be permitted to return to work until the employee provides medical certification that he/she is fit to resume work.

Employment Status during Leave

Except for a temporary employee whose assignment ends while he or she is on leave, an employee who is unable to perform the functions of his or her job, who takes leave under this policy and who meets the conditions of employment according to federal and/or state law will be able to return to the same job or a job with equivalent status, pay, benefits and other employment terms unless legitimate business needs necessitate organizational change that effects the availability of that position. The position will be the same or one which entails substantially similar responsibilities and that requires substantially equivalent skill, effort, responsibility and authority.

An employee who fails to return to work after approved medical or family leave will be deemed to have voluntarily resigned.