For certain family and medical needs, you are entitled to a total of up to 12 weeks (480 Hours) of unpaid leave during a 12-month period. This is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Important facts about Family and Medical Leave
- It is an entitlement. If you satisfy all eligible conditions, you cannot be denied the leave.
- It provides job protection. When you return to work, you are guaranteed the same position or an "equivalent" job, which means identical to the original job in terms of pay and benefits.
- You can maintain your health insurance while on leave.
How to Request FMLA:
- Employee notifies supervisor of intent to use FMLA for a qualifying medical or personal need. This notification can be verbal or electronic, however for tracking and record keeping purposes, it is recommend it be done electronically (i.e. via email).
Note: The employee need not disclose the specifics of the medical or personal need if wanting to maintain confidentiality. As such, the employee may either submit medical certification directly to his/her leaving approving official or to Occupational Medical Service (OMS) to maintain confidentially. OMS can attest whether the employee qualifies for a FMLA-approved condition and nature of duration for leave granting purposes. While OMS may comment on the existence or nonexistence of a serious health condition that qualifies for FMLA leave, only the leave approving official may approve or disapprove the FMLA leave.
- Employee submits FMLA certification paperwork.
Note: While it is an NIH requirement that employees who wish to use FMLA leave complete certification connected to the purpose of the FMLA leave, the WH-380-E form is not required. The WH-380-E certification form is an optional tool provided by the FMLA for employers to use to request information to support certain FMLA-qualifying reasons for leave. If an employee chooses not to use the WH-380-E form, they can provide the required information contained on a certification form in any format, such as on the letterhead of the healthcare provider, or official documentation issued by the military.
- Once the employee submits the certification paperwork, the employee or timekeeper enter the FMLA leave details in ITAS (up to 480 hours per 12 month period)
Note: Because FMLA is an entitlement to employees who qualify under all conditions of eligibility, notice, certification, usage purpose, usage limits, if an employee satisfies all eligible conditions, an employee may not be denied FMLA leave.
Other leave options
You may be able to:
- Substitute your annual leave and/or sick leave, for unpaid leave under FMLA.
- Use Paid Parental Leave
- Use leave earned from the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program, the NIH Leave Bank, as well as advanced annual and/or sick leave.
For questions, contact your Administrative Officer or email WorkFlex@mail.nih.gov.