Family Medical Leave Act

Any time an employee will be away from work for an extended period of time (3-5 days), he/she must request and be approved by HR for a leave of absence from the University.

  • FMLA Terms & Definitions
    • Eligible Employee: An eligible employee is defined as any employee (including part-time and temporary) of the University System of Georgia, who has been employed by the University System of Georgia for at least twelve (12) months total (not necessarily the last twelve (12) months), and worked at least 1,250 hours during the twelve (12) month period immediately preceding the leave.
    • Family Leave: Leave as defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act that allows the employees excused absences from their workplace due to: the birth or legal adoption of a child, the employee’s own serious health condition, the serious health condition of a member of the employee’s immediate family, leave due to a call to active duty or caregiver leave to care for a family member in the armed services who is recovering from an injury.
    • Immediate Family: Child, spouse or parent, but not in-laws.
        • Child: The employee’s biological son or daughter under the age of 18, legally adopted son or daughter under the age of 18, and/or foster child, stepchild or ward under the age of 18, legally placed with the employee. Any such child over the age of 18 if the child is incapable of self-care due to a mental or physical disability.
            • “Incapable of self-care” means requiring active assistance or supervision to provide daily self-care in three or more basic or instrumental “activities of daily living,” such as grooming & hygiene, bathing, dressing, eating, cooking, taking public transportation, etc.
            • A “mental or physical disability” is one that substantially limits one or more major life functions as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
      • Spouse: The employee’s legal husband or wife as defined or recognized under State law for purposes of marriage in the State where the employee resides.
        • Parent: A biological parent of the employee or an individual who stands or stood “in loco parentis” to an employee by providing primary day-to-day care and financial support when the employee was a child. Coverage does not include parents-in-law. 
    • Continuous & Intermittent Leave: Leave for one’s own serious health condition, or for the care of a family member with a serious health condition, may be taken on a continuous or intermittent basis in increments as small as one hour if medically indicated. Institutions have the discretion to determine whether to allow intermittent leaves for birth, adoption, or foster placement or whether such leaves must be continuous.
    • Intermittent Leave or Reduced Work Schedule:
      • There must be a medical need for leave which can be best accommodated through an intermittent or reduced work schedule.
      • An employee must attempt to schedule leave or reduced work so as not to disrupt the employer’s operations.
      • The employer may assign the employee to an alternative position with equivalent
      pay and benefits that better accommodates the employee’s intermittent leave or
      reduced work schedule.
      • Intermittent leave may include leave periods of an hour or more, up to several
      weeks.
      • Only the amount of leave actually taken is counted toward the 12 weeks of
      eligibility.
    • Rolling 12-month Calendar:
      • The retrospective 12-month period as measured backward from the date the employee began using FMLA leave.
      • To determine if an employee is eligible for FMLA leave during any given work week* on a “rolling year” basis, one looks back over the 12 months immediately preceding that week. If the employee has not utilized the equivalent of 12 weeks of FMLA-qualifying leave in the 12 months prior to the date in question, then the employee is eligible for that week of leave (assuming all other eligibility criteria are met). In utilizing a rolling year, this analysis may be conducted each week to determine continued eligibility.
      *The fact that a holiday may occur within the week taken as FMLA leave has no effect; the week is counted as a week of FMLA leave. If, however, the institution’s business operations have ceased, and employees are generally not expected to report for work for one or more weeks (e.g., during the winter holiday break), those days do not count against the employee’s FMLA entitlement.
  • FMLA Administration Information

    The University of West Georgia uses a rolling 12-month period (rather than a fixed calendar, fiscal, or academic year) to determine eligibility for, and availability of, leave time under FMLA. The 12-month period during which 12 weeks of family leave may be taken shall begin on the first day such family leave is taken. 

    An employee has a right to return to the same position, or an equivalent position in terms of pay, benefits, and working conditions. Certain "key employees" may be denied job restoration if they are among the highest-paid 10% of employees and if such denial is necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury to the operations of the employer.
  • Authorized Reasons

    Consistent with the provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, an eligible employee may be entitled to up to 12 work weeks of leave during any 12-month period.  An eligible employee is defined as any employee (including part-time and temporary) of the University of West Georgia, who has:

    • been employed by the University of West Georgia for at least 12 months total (not necessarily the last 12 months), and
    • worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave.
    Leave under FMLA may be taken for one or more of the following reasons:
    • The employee's own serious health condition, including an on-the-job injury or occupational disease covered by Worker's Compensation, which causes the employee to be unable to perform the functions of his or her job.
    • The care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition.
    • The birth and care of a newborn child.
    • The legal placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
    •  A spouse, son, daughter, or parent being on active duty or having been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces. Leave may be used for any "qualifying exigency" arising out of the service member's current tour of active duty or because the service member is notified of an impending call to duty in support of a contingency operation.

    NDAA creates an additional reason for using family leave and longer job protected
    leave:
    Consistent with the provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993
    and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2008, an eligible employee may be
    entitled to up to 26 work weeks of leave during any 12-month period per service member and per injury or illness, for the following reason:

    A spouse, son, daughter, parent, or nearest blood relative caring for a recovering service
    member. A recovering service member is defined as a member of the Armed Forces who
    suffered an injury or illness while on active-duty that may render the person unable to
    perform the duties of the member's office, grade, rank or rating. Military service FMLA
    runs concurrent with non-military service FMLA. The maximum leave in a single 12-
    month period is 12 weeks for family/medical or 26 weeks for any family/medical/military
    service combination, of which no more than 12 weeks may be for non-military service
    leave.

  • Supervisor Responsibilities

    It is the responsibility of the University of West Georgia to designate leave, paid or unpaid, as
    FMLA-qualifying. UWG has the right to designate any qualifying time off as FMLA leave, even
    if the time is not specifically requested as FMLA leave per se by the eligible employee. It is also the responsibility of the employee's supervisor to notify the employee that such leave has been designated as FMLA-qualified. Supervisors should review employee absences of 3 days or more days and notify Human Resources.
    The University of West Georgia should provide its employees with information regarding the
    FMLA process. Please obtain a poster to place in your break room or other prominent work
    location.

    • A supervisor should be aware of the employee responsibilities under FMLA. Should a supervisor be unfamiliar with the guidelines related to FMLA policy, they should seek assistance from UWG Human Resources.
    • As soon as possible, a supervisor should provide notice to UWG Human Resources when an employee has been absent at least 3 days and the absence may be designated as FMLA-qualified.
    • UWG Human Resources will then initiate contact with the employee.
    • If you have a question regarding whether an employee's leave should be designated as FMLA-qualified, please contact UWG Human Resources.
    • At some later date, UWG Human Resources may request medical certification if there is reason to question the appropriateness of the leave or its duration. In addition, if UWG has reason to doubt the validity of a medical certification, UWG Human Resources may, at the employer's expense, require the employee to obtain a second opinion.
    •  A supervisor may not directly contact a health care provider to request additional
      information, but he/she should consult with UWG Human Resources if assistance is needed. Arrangements may be made for a health care provider representing the institution to contact the employee's provider for clarification and authentication.
    • UWG Human Resources and the supervisor should maintain contact should there be any change in circumstances for which the leave was taken.
    • UWG Human Resources may request an attending physician to indicate when the
      employee may be able to return to work.
    • Two weeks before an employee has exhausted all annual and sick leave, the supervisor should complete and submit a PAR putting the employee on leave without pay. The purpose of this notification is to help the employee make arrangements to pay for health insurance premiums and other benefits premiums while not receiving a paycheck.
    • Please ensure you have provided information to the employee regarding his/her employee rights and responsibilities.
    • If an employee is not able to return to work by the end of the approved FMLA leave, he/she may be eligible to request additional personal leave under other University System of Georgia policies. In no case may all leaves combined exceed 12 months. If an employee does not return to work and is not granted additional leave, his/her employment will end on the last day of the approved FMLA leave. Human Resources must be  consulted prior to terminating an employee who is unable to return to work following FMLA leave.
  • Employee Responsibilities

    FMLA allows employees to balance their work and family lives by taking reasonable unpaid
    leave for certain family and medical reasons. The FMLA seeks to accomplish this in a manner
    that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers, minimizes the potential for
    employment discrimination on the basis of gender, while promoting equal employment
    opportunity for men and women.
    As an employee requesting family leave, you are expected to provide your supervisor with
    appropriate notification and documentation.

    • To be entitled to FMLA leave, employees must give at least a 30-day advance notice for foreseeable leave, or as much notice as is possible and practical. For unforeseeable leave, you must provide notice as soon as possible.
    • You must document the need for leave by completing and submitting one of the
      appropriate forms listed on the FMLA page. You must provide the requested
      certification (if needed) within the time frame requested (the institution must allow at least 15 calendar days after its request), unless it is not practical to do so despite the employee's diligent, good-faith efforts.
    • Medical re-certification may be required for prolonged illnesses.
    • For a personal serious health condition, you may be required to present a fitness-for-duty clearance from your health care provider before being reinstated to active duty.
    • If you are out of annual and sick leave, you must make arrangements to pay your health insurance premiums. Please contact UWG Human Resources to make these arrangements.
    • You must notify your supervisor of any change of circumstances for which your leave is being taken.
    • You are expected to return to work by the end of the approved FMLA leave. If you do not return, and if failure to return is not due to a continued or newly  documented qualifying serious health condition, we cannot guarantee protection of your position.
    • Once you have reviewed your responsibilities, please consult with UWG Human
      Resources if you have further questions. Please review your FMLA rights and benefits.
  • FMLA and Health Insurance

    Whether utilizing paid or unpaid time, employees may continue their insurance benefits during
    FMLA leave by paying their portion of the premiums. Below is an example of how FMLA can
    impact the payment of your health care premium.

    Definitions
    University Contribution: The portion of your health insurance cost the University of West
    Georgia pays as a benefit for you
    Premium: The portion of your health insurance cost you are required to pay after the UWG
    contribution

    Other Benefits While on FMLA
    Employees on FMLA without pay may also continue participation in other benefits (for example, dental, life, LTD, AD&D) by making arrangements to pay the premiums while not receiving a paycheck.

    If you have any questions about your insurance as it relates to Family & Medical Leave, please contact UWG Human Resources at 678-839-6403.

  • Births and Adoptions

    Intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule may be granted for well-child care after the birth, adoption, or placement of a child.

    Spouses employed by the University of Georgia are jointly entitled to a combined total
    of 12 work weeks of family leave for the birth and care of a newborn child, for the
    placement of a child for adoption or foster care, or for the care of a parent who has a
    serious health condition.

     Entitlement to this feature of FMLA leave expires at the end of the 12-month period that
    began on the date of the birth or placement. Any such FMLA leave must be concluded
    within this one-year period.

 Parental Leave

  • FAQs

    1. When can I begin requesting the use of paid Parental Leave Law?

    The state law establishing paid parental leave for eligible state employees became effective July 1, 2021.  Employees may request Parental Leave for dates July 1, 2021, forward.

    2. Is Parental Leave retroactive?

    Parental leave cannot be granted for absences taken prior to July 1, 2021, the effective date.

    3. Can I request parental leave for a qualifying event that occurred prior to July 1, 2021?

    An eligible employee may request the use of parental leave based on a qualifying event that occurred prior to the effective date of the state law.  However, the employee must meet all eligibility requirements as of the first date of the requested Parental Leave (July 1, 2021, or after) and the leave must be taken within the 12-month period following the initial qualifying event date.

    4. Can a UWG employed couple use up to the maximum of 120 hours of Parental Leave each?

    The state’s parental leave law does not contain a spousal limitation provision.  Therefore, married UWG employees could be eligible for a combined total of 240 hours of parental leave.   As a reminder, parental leave will run concurrently with FMLA as applicable and the FMLA spousal limitation provision of 12-week combined total FMLA leave still applies.

    5. If an employee qualifies for both Parental Leave and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, what is the total number of weeks that can be taken?

    If an employee is eligible for paid parental leave and is also eligible for unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the paid parental leave will run concurrently with FMLA leave and does not extend the leave period of either.  However, Parental Leave is a separate entitlement from FMLA.

    Parental Leave does not add to or extend an employee’s FMLA entitlement.

    If an employee is eligible for both, they run concurrently (i.e., a Parental Leave Take also counts as an FMLA Take).  An employee may not elect to take one and not the other.

    Eligible employees may use Parental before they are FMLA eligible.

    Eligible employees may also use Parental Leave after they have exhausted their FMLA entitlement.

    6. Can an employee choose to exhaust FMLA then apply PPL within the 12 months? 

    No, FMLA will run concurrently if they are eligible for FMLA.

    7.  For eligibility purposes, will my employment at another USG institution count towards the six (6) months 700-hour work requirement.  

    Yes. An employee could combine service across more than one USG institution to meet the eligibility requirement. However, the employment must be on a continuous basis. 

    8.  Does paid parental leave applies toward the 1,250 hours of work necessary for eligibility for FMLA leave?

    No. the Family and Medical Leave, policy states that “holidays and time spent on paid or unpaid leave or suspension do not count toward the 1,250 hours.”

    9. Is there a limitation on approving Parental Leave to be taken on an intermittent basis?

    Parental leave, whether taken in a continuous block or on an intermittent or reduced-schedule basis, must be taken within 12 months of the initial qualifying event.

    10. Is parental leave prorated for part-time employees?

    No. The state law does not provide that leave for part-time employees must be prorated.  All eligible employees may use up to the maximum of 120 hours of parental leave.

    11. Is an eligible employee limited to a maximum allotment of 120 hours of Parental Leave in a 12-month period if transferring to another institution, or would the 120 hours start over each time an eligible employee transfers?

    An eligible employee is limited to a maximum allotment of 120 hours of parental leave in a 12-month period even when transferring to another institution. As a result, it is the responsibility of the employer to conduct due diligence to ensure that the employee has not used their 120-hour allotment prior to approving the request for leave.

    12. Are temporary (Non-Benefits Eligible) employees eligible for Parental Leave?

    Temporary employees are non-benefits eligible. However, should a temporary employee meet the parental leave eligibility and qualifying life event criteria, they would qualify for parental leave as provided for in the HRAP on parental leave.  Non-Benefited student workers and rehired retirees receiving state pensions are not eligible for parental leave. 

    13. Will Parental Leave count as the 14 days of paid leave before the use of Short-Term Disability (STD)? 

    Yes, the parental leave would be paid (first) during the elimination period before Short Term disability benefits begin.  Once short-term disability benefits start, the employee would receive short-term disability benefits (the employee may not receive both at the same time).  After short-term disability ends, the employee can use the remainder of the parental leave.

    14.  Does an eligible employee have to take paid parental leave for the first two (2) weeks of the STD waiting period and then after the STD ends? Not at their own discretion? 

    An employee should use parental leave during the elimination period before Short Term Disability benefits start (unless there is an extenuating circumstance). An employee may not go unpaid if they have paid leave available. Parental leave pays before sick leave for parental leave qualifying reasons. 

    15. Can an eligible employee take Parental Leave for prenatal medical appointments?

    No. Under FMLA, prenatal care appointments (as well as incapacity due to morning sickness and medically required bed rest) are considered serious health conditions for which the mother is taking time off. The state law establishing paid parental leave specifies only the following three qualifying events:

         (a) birth of the employee’s child,

         (b) placement of a minor child for adoption with the employee, and

         (c) placement of a minor child for foster care with the employee.

    Prenatal care appointments and absences due to medical conditions during pregnancy do not fall under the qualifying event of the birth of a child.

    16. Can the employee use the leave for anything within those 12 months? For example, doctor visits for the child? 

    Yes, the purpose of parental leave is to provide the eligible parent with paid time off for the care and bonding of the child within the first 12 months of the qualifying life event.

    17.  What documentation is required to substantiate the request and existence of a Parental Leave qualifying life event? 

    Documentation of the qualifying need for paid parental leave may include certification from a healthcare provider for leave requests related to the birth and care of a newborn child or appropriate supporting court documents for leave requests related to the adoption or foster care placement of a minor child; as applicable, any required supporting documentation shall be the same as that required for the use of FMLA for the same qualifying event.

  • Guidelines

    Policy Statement 

    In accordance with the Georgia’s Parental Leave law for state employees, the University of West Georgia (UWG) provides up to a maximum of 120 hours of paid parental leave, during any rolling 12-month period, to eligible employees for qualifying life events as defined in this policy. The purpose of paid parental leave is to enable the eligible employee to care for and bond with a newborn or a newly adopted or newly placed foster child of the eligible employee. 

    Provided that the use of paid parental leave does not unduly disrupt the institution’s operations, no institution shall interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of or the attempt to exercise the provisions of this policy by any eligible employee. No institution shall discharge or in any other manner discriminate or retaliate against any eligible employee for lawfully exercising the provisions of this policy. 

    Institutions may exercise disciplinary action, to include termination, as deemed appropriate against an employee who submits a false or fraudulent document or otherwise provides false or fraudulent information in an attempt to obtain paid parental leave. 

    This policy provides guidance for situations involving paid parental leave for eligible employees and ensures consistency among USG institutions.

    Definitions. These definitions apply to these terms as they are used in this policy: 

    • Eligible Employee. An eligible employee is defined as: 

    1) A full-time regular employee, part time regular employee, or temporary employee who has been employed with UWG for at least 6 months of continuous service and has worked a minimum of 700 hours over the six (6) months immediately preceding the parental leave qualifying event. 

    2) Employees that meet the parental leave criteria are eligible for parental leave regardless of whether the employee is eligible for paid or unpaid leave under other UWG policies and/or federal law (such as FMLA). 

    3) Rehired retirees are not eligible for paid parental leave while receiving retirement annuity payments. 

    • Qualifying Life Events. The following are eligible qualifying life events: 

    1) The birth of a child of an eligible employee. 

    2) The placement of a minor child for adoption with an eligible employee; or 

    3) The placement of a minor child for foster care with an eligible employee.

    • Parental Leave. Parental leave is paid leave which is provided to eligible employees who experience a qualifying life event. 

    1) An eligible employee may take a maximum of 120 hours of paid parental leave in a rolling 12-month period. The rolling period will be measured backward from the first date of leave taken. The amount of leave in a rolling 12-month period cannot exceed 120 hours, regardless of the number of qualifying events that occur during that period and regardless of transfers between UWG institutions. 

    2) Parental leave may be taken continuously or intermittently in increments as small as one hour. 

    3) Unused parental leave that remains 12 months after the qualifying life event will not carry over for future use. 

    4) Unused paid parental leave shall have no cash value at the time an eligible employee separates from the employing institution.

    Process and Procedures 

    Effective July 1, 2021, a UWG employee who meets the established eligibility and qualifying life event criteria as defined within this policy, may request the use of parental leave. 

    The process and procedures section below provides guidance for the consistent administration and use of UWG’s parental leave policy across all USG institutions. UWG employees should seek guidance from the office of human resources should they have questions regarding parental leave. 

    Requests for Paid Parental Leave 

    • The employee must provide their supervisor and the human resources department with notice of the parental leave request at least 30 days prior to the proposed leave start date (or if the leave was not foreseeable, as soon as possible). 

    • The employee must follow institutional leave request procedures and provide all documentation as required by the HR department to substantiate the request and existence of a qualifying life event. Documentation of the qualifying need for leave may include certification from a healthcare provider for leave requests related to the birth and care of a newborn child or appropriate supporting court documents for leave requests related to the adoption or foster care placement of a minor child. 

    • If both parents are UWG employees who meet the eligibility criteria, each parent is eligible to receive up to the maximum 120 hours paid parental leave benefit, provided that the use of such leave does not unduly disrupt the institution’s operations. 

    • Parental Leave must be appropriately entered and documented into the system to ensure proper tracking and reporting.

    Coordination with Other Leave and Benefits 

    • Other Paid Leave. Employees may not concurrently use vacation, sick leave, holidays, or another Paid Time Off (PTO) while receiving paid parental leave. 

    • FMLA. Paid parental leave taken under this policy will run concurrently with unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Thus, any leave taken under this policy that also qualifies for FMLA leave due to the birth or placement of a child or due to adoption or foster care, will count towards any available FMLA leave. In no case will the total amount of leave—whether paid or unpaid—granted to the employee under the FMLA exceed 12 weeks during the 12-month FMLA period. Please refer to the HRAP on Family and Medical Leave Policy for further FMLA guidance. After the paid parental leave is exhausted, the balance of FMLA leave may be compensated through, accrued sick, vacation, or other eligible accrued leave, if approved by the employing institution. 

    • Short Term Disability. In the event of a female employee who herself has given birth, she must coordinate between the short-term disability leave benefit and any requested paid parental leave. An employee may not receive paid parental leave or any other type of paid leave while receiving short term disability benefits.

    • Benefits. The institution will maintain all benefits for employees during the paid parental leave period just as if they were taking any other paid leave such as vacation leave or sick leave. 

    • Holidays. If a holiday or emergency closure occurs while the employee is on paid parental leave, such day will be charged to holiday pay or unscheduled closing instead of parental leave. 

    Usage and Overtime 

    • Paid parental leave hours for nonexempt employees are not added to hours worked in calculating overtime.

  • Request Form

Military Leave

  • What is Military Leave?

    An employee who receives orders for active military duty shall be entitled to absent himself or
    herself from his or her duties and shall be deemed to have a leave of absence with pay for the
    period of such ordered military duty, and while going to and returning from such duty, not to
    exceed a total of eighteen (18) workdays in any one (1) federal fiscal year (October 1 -
    September 30). After an employee has exhausted his/her paid military leave, an institution may pay the employee for his/her accumulated annual leave. At the expiration of the maximum paid leave time, continued absence by the employee shall be considered as military leave without pay.

    The employee shall be required to submit a copy of his or her orders to active military duty.
    Notwithstanding the foregoing leave limitation of eighteen (18) days, in the event the Governor
    declares an emergency and orders an employee to State active duty as a member of the National Guard, such employee while performing such duty shall be paid his or her salary or other compensation as an employee for a period not exceeding thirty (30) days in any one (1) federal fiscal year.

  • Employee Responsibilities and Rights

    Upon receiving military activation orders, an employee must advise his/her employer.
    Unless precluded by military necessity, advance notice must be provided. Employees are
    encouraged to provide documentation of military duty prior to activation.

    Upon re-employment, an employee will be required to present the institution with a copy
    of his/her completion of military assignment orders that specify the dates/duration of
    ordered military service.

    Generally, benefits will continue while an employee is on full time ordered military duty.
    However, such action constitutes a qualifying event and permits an employee to make a
    change in his/her healthcare plan coverage. While an employee is on a paid leave status,
    to include military leave pay and payment of accrued annual leave, employee and
    employer retirement plan contributions should continue to be paid.

  • Returning to Work

    The cumulative length of time that a returning service member may be absent from work for
    military service, and retain his/her re-employment rights is five years. A returning service
    member is to be reemployed in the position that he/she held, or that he/she would have attained had he/she not been order to active military duty.

    USERRA regulations specify return to work or re-employment time frames that an employee
    must follow upon completion of active military service. They are:

    •  Less than 31 days: An employee should return to work the first day following the
      completion of his/her active military service.
    • 30 – 180 days: An employee must request reinstatement of employment within fourteen (14) days following the completion if his/her active military service.
    • Over 180 days: An employee must request reinstatement of employment within ninety (90) days following the completion if his/her active military service.
    • A service member convalescing from injuries during military service or in training may have up to two (2) years to return to his/her position.

FMLA Forms

Schedule an Appointment

er@westga.edu