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City of Lake Wales, Florida Human Resources Department
Personnel Policies

SECTION 2-219 FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE POLICY

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Secs. 2-219.01 Family Medical Leave Eligibility

(a) Employees who have worked for the City for at least twelve (12) months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the preceding twelve (12) months may take up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave in a twelve (12) month period for the following reasons:

  1. The birth of a son/daughter of an employee and to care for the child;
  2. The placement of a son or daughter with an employee for adoption or foster care (entitlement to leave for birth, placement for adoption or foster care of a son or daughter expires twelve (12) months from the date of the birth or placement of a child);
  3. In order to care for the employee's spouse, son, daughter or parent who has a serious health condition;
  4. A serious health condition which renders the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee's position.

(b) Son or daughter means a biological, adopted or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is: (a) under 18 years of age; or (b) 18 years of age or older and incapable of self care because of a mental or physical disability. return to top

Secs. 2-219.02 Serious Health Condition

A "serious health condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either: (1) in-patient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity (for purposes of this policy defined to mean the inability to work, attend school, or perform other regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment, recovery or any subsequent treatment in connection with in-patient care); or (2) continuing treatment by a health care provider. return to top

Secs. 2-219.03 Intermittent Leave

In the case of unpaid leave for a serious health condition, the leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced hours basis only if such leave is medically necessary. If intermittent or reduced hours leave is required, the City may in its sole discretion temporarily transfer the employee to another job with equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates that type of leave. return to top

Secs. 2-219.04 Verification

(a) The City will require that an employee's leave to care for the employee's seriously ill spouse, son, daughter, or parent, or due to the employee's own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform one or more of the essential functions of employee's position, be supported by a certification issued by the health care provider of the employee or the employee's ill family member.

(b) In accordance with the DOL rules, the City may request, at the City's expense, a second or third health care provider's opinion for leave taken because of a serious health condition. The City may also require subsequent recertification from the employee's health care provider on a reasonable basis, in accordance with DOL rules, which normally will not be more than every thirty days. No second or third opinion will be required upon recertification. return to top

Secs. 2-219.05 Children

In the case of unpaid leave for the birth or placement of a child, or foster care, intermittent leave or working a reduced number of hours is not permitted unless both the City and employee agree. return to top

Secs. 2-219.06 Spouses

(a) If both spouses work for the City, the combined leave shall not exceed twelve (12) weeks in a twelve (12) month period if the leave is taken:

  1. for the birth of the employee's son or daughter or to care for the child after birth;
  2. for placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care, or to care for the child after placement; or
  3. to care for the employee's parent with a serious health condition. return to top
Secs. 2-219.07 Health Insurance Premiums

(a) During family leaves of absence, the City will continue to pay its portion of the health insurance premiums and maintain the employee's coverage under the health plan in the same manner as if the employee had been continuously employed during the entire leave period; provided the employee continues to pay his or her share of the premiums.

(b) Should the employee fail to continue to pay his or her share of the premium, notices of proposed insurance cancellation and the opportunity to pay the premium as required by the FMLA will be provided before the cancellation.

(c) Employees will be advised well in advance of any changes in premiums so they will have ample opportunity to make arrangements to continue to pay their share of the premiums during the FMLA leave. To avoid required reimbursement, appropriate certification from a health care provider may be required if the employee does not return to work because of a serious health condition.

(d) If the employee does not return to work after the expiration of the leave, the employee will be required to reimburse the City for the City's portion of health insurance premiums during the family leave, unless the employee does not return because of the presence of a serious health condition which prevents the employee from performing his or her job for circumstances beyond the control of the employee. return to top

Secs. 2-219.08 Accrual

(a) During leave, the FMLA does not require accrual of employment benefits, such as vacation pay, sick days, seniority, etc. Accordingly, during FMLA leave, accrual of benefits and seniority shall be on the same basis as for any other unpaid leave of absence. Pension benefits will be determined in accordance with DOL rules. Employment benefits to which an employee may be entitled on the day on which the Family and Medical Leave of Absence begins will not be lost because of such leave, except for those paid leave days substituted for leave taken under this policy as described above. Upon return from FMLA leave, employees are entitled to any changes in benefit plans not dependent upon seniority or accrual during the leave period. [See Section 2-221.05]

(b) Employees will not be disqualified from bonuses based upon attendance or safety for which they qualified prior to leave because of the taking of FMLA leave. return to top

Secs. 2-219.09 Relationship to Paid Leave

(a) Employees may elect or may be required to substitute without limitation accrued paid vacation or personal leave for an equivalent portion of FMLA leave.

(b) Employees may elect or may be required to substitute accrued paid sick/medical leave for an equivalent portion of FMLA leave for a serious health condition.

(c) To the extent the City does not provide paid sick/medical leave for a condition covered by the FMLA, neither this policy nor the FMLA entitles the employees to paid leave. However, under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, paid leave and the FMLA leave will run concurrently.

(d) Leave covered by workers' compensation and/or long-term disability by the City will run concurrently with the FMLA leave when the reason for the leave is covered by the FMLA; however, the City will not require nor will it allow the use of a paid leave under paragraphs (a) or (b) above at the same time. return to top

Secs. 2-219.10 Return from FMLA

With the exception of certain key employees, employees who return to work from Family Leave of Absence within or on the business day following the expiration of the leave are entitled to return to their job or an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment. Designation of key employee status and whether such status will affect the employee's right of reinstatement will be made at the time the employee requests leave, or at the commencement of leave, whichever is earlier, or as soon as practical thereafter if such determination cannot be made at that time. return to top

Secs. 2-219.11 Application

Applications by the employee for family leave must be submitted in writing at least thirty (30) days before the leave is to begin if the need for the leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement for adoption or foster care, or planned medical treatment for a serious health condition of the employee or of a family member. If thirty (30) days notice is not practicable, such as because of a lack of knowledge of approximately when leave will be required to begin, a change in circumstances or a medical emergency, notice must be given as soon as practical. return to top

Secs. 2-219.12 Counting FMLA Leave

To the extent allowed by law, in the event an absence is for a reason covered by the FMLA, the City reserves the right to count it as FMLA whether the employee has applied for it or not. When this occurs, the employee will be promptly notified as required by law. return to top

Secs. 2-219.13 Coordination

Absences due to sickness or injury, whether paid or unpaid, including absences for work-related sickness or injury that are also covered by the FMLA will be considered as FMLA leave. return to top

Secs. 2-219.14 Employee Obligations

During FMLA leave, employees must periodically report on their medical status and intent to return to work. Upon taking such leave, the employee will be advised of the reporting requirements. When the employee gives unequivocal notice of his intent not to return to work, the employment relationship will be terminated, and the employee's entitlement to continue leave, maintenance of health benefits, and reemployment will cease. return to top

Secs. 2-219.15 Medical Evidence Upon Return to Work

All employees of the City whose FMLA leave was taken because of the employee's own serious health condition must obtain and present certification from his health care provider that he is able to resume work before being allowed to return to work. return to top

Secs. 2-219.16 Failure to Cooperate

Employees who fail to provide required information to the City, may have their leave delayed and be subject to discipline up to and including discharge as permitted by law. return to top

Secs. 2-219.17 Domestic Violence Related Leave

The City will provide eligible employees with up to three (3) working days of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for domestic violence-related reasons.

In calculating the 12-month period under this policy, the City uses a "rolling, backward-looking" method. Under this method, a rolling twelve month period is measured backward from the date the employee uses any leave under this policy, such that each time an employee takes leave under this policy the remaining leave entitlement would be any balance of the 3 days’ of leave which has not been used during the immediately preceding 12 months.

(a) Eligibility. To be eligible for leave under this policy, the employee must be employed by the City for at least three months.

(b) Circumstances Where Domestic Violence-Related Leave is Available. Leave may be taken under the terms of this policy if the employee or a family or household member of the employee is a victim of domestic violence and the leave is necessary to:

  1. Seek an injunction for protection against domestic violence or an injunction for protection in cases of repeat violence, dating violence or sexual violence;
  2. Obtain medical care or mental health counseling, or both, for the employee or a family or household member to address physical or psychological injuries resulting from the act of domestic violence;
  3. Obtain services from a victim-services organization including, but not limited to, a domestic violence shelter or program or a rape crisis center as a result of the act of domestic violence;
  4. Make the employee’s home secure from the perpetrator of the domestic violence or to seek new housing to escape the perpetrator; or
  5. Seek legal assistance in addressing issues arising from the act of domestic violence or to attend and prepare for court related proceedings arising from the act of domestic violence.

(c) Exhaustion of Paid Leave Required. Prior to receiving leave under this policy, the employee must exhaust any available paid leave.

(d) Notice and Supporting Documentation Required. Except in cases of imminent danger to the health or safety of the employee or a family or household member, advance notice of the need for leave is required. Where advance notice is required, the employee is required to provide notice to the City as soon as the need for leave becomes known. Where advance notice is not required due to the imminent danger to the health or safety of the employee or a family or household member, the employee must inform the City that the leave was taken pursuant to this policy as soon as he or she returns to work. Documentation supporting the need for the leave under this policy must be submitted with the request for leave. In cases of imminent danger to the safety of the employee or a family or household member, supporting documentation must be submitted as soon as the employee returns to work.

(e) Confidentiality and Prohibition of Retaliation.

  1. All information relating to leave under this policy shall be considered confidential and will not be disclosed to any other individuals unless required for legitimate business or otherwise compelled by law.
  2. Leave taken or requested under this policy will not result in any adverse action against the employee. Employees who believe they have been subjected to retaliation as a result of leave taken or requested under this policy must initiate a complaint in the same manner as required by the City’s harassment and discrimination complaint procedure.

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