Boston College recognizes that its employees sometimes face conflicts in meeting family obligations and work requirements. Therefore, in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the University has established policies governing parental, family, and medical leaves. Following is a summary of the major provisions of Boston College's Family and Medical Leave Policy. The complete policy is available online and from the Benefits Office in Room 140, 129 Lake Street.
Eligibility for FMLA Leaves
An employee is eligible for family and medical leave if he/she has been employed by the University for at least 12 months and has worked at least 1,250 hours during the twelve-month period prior to the time leave would begin. Hours are calculated based on actual hours worked, including overtime. Employees will be advised when requesting leave of the amount of FMLA leave available to them.
Note: In order to qualify for paid leave, employees eligible for FMLA leave must also be eligible for the University's benefit programs. Otherwise, the entire FMLA leave will be unpaid.
Upon the birth of a child, the mother is eligible for FMLA leave for up to twelve consecutive weeks. The first four weeks will be considered paid Birth Recovery Leave, and the employee will receive her regular pay for that period, not charged to sick or vacation time. Following those weeks the mother is also eligible for four consecutive weeks of paid Parental Leave, also not charged to sick or vacation time. These pay periods are not extended by the occurrence of any holidays that fall within the two leave periods. The remainder of the leave, including any approved extension beyond the twelve-week period, will be unpaid unless the employee is medically disabled and is due payments under the University's sick leave policy, or unless the employee has accrued vacation time. Any available vacation time must be applied toward the last four weeks of a 12-week FMLA leave.
Note: An employee who is not eligible for FMLA leave because she has less than one year of service will be eligible for one week of paid Birth Recovery Leave for each full month of continuous service at a minimum of 20 hours per week (maximum four weeks of paid leave) followed by one week of paid Parental Leave for each subsequent month of service (maximum four weeks of additional paid leave).
Also, under the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MLA), an employee with at least three consecutive months of full-time service is eligible for eight weeks of job-protected maternity leave. The MLA leave runs concurrently with the FMLA leave, if applicable.
Full-time Faculty should also see the tab "Maternity and Adoption Leave Policy" below.
Upon the birth of a child, the father is eligible for a maximum leave of twelve consecutive weeks of FMLA leave within the twelve-month period following birth. The first four weeks of the leave will be paid Parental Leave, not charged to sick or vacation time, provided it is taken within 12 weeks following the birth of the child. This pay period is not extended by the occurrence of any holidays that fall within the four weeks. The remainder of the leave will be unpaid unless the employee has accrued vacation time. Available vacation time must be used during the last four weeks of a 12-week FMLA leave.
Note: An employee who is not eligible for FMLA leave because he has less than one year of service will be eligible for one week of paid Parental Leave for each full month of continuous service at a minimum of 20 hours per week (maximum four weeks of paid leave).
An employee who has completed a year of service is generally eligible for a maximum of 12 weeks of FMLA adoption leave. A benefits-eligible employee who is the primary caregiver is eligible for up to four weeks of paid Adoption Placement Leave to be taken immediately following placement of the child in the employee's home, followed by four weeks of paid Parental Leave, not charged to sick or vacation time. [Note: The paid Parental Leave is available to an adoptive parent whether or not the employee is the primary caregiver.] See Boston College's formal Adoption Leave Policy. [Also note that there is an Adoption Assistance Plan, which can provide reimbursement for certain adoption expenses.]
An employee who is not eligible for FMLA leave because he or she has not completed a year of service, and who is the primary caregiver, will be eligible for one week of paid Adoption Placement Leave for each full month of continuous service at a minimum of 20 hours per week (maximum four weeks of paid leave). This may be followed by one week of paid Parental Leave for each subsequent month of service (maximum four weeks of additional paid leave). Paid Parental Leave is available whether or not the employee is the primary caregiver.
Full-time Faculty should also see the tab "Maternity and Adoption Leave Policy" below.
Foster Care Leave
Employees will be eligible for up to twelve consecutive weeks of FMLA leave during the twelve-month period following placement of a child into their foster care. The first week will be paid (and not charged to sick or vacation accruals), provided it is taken within 12 weeks following the placement. The remainder of the leave will be unpaid unless the employee has accrued vacation time.
Employees will be eligible for up to twelve weeks of leave during a twelve-month period to care for a family member with a "serious health condition." (Refer to FMLA Policy.)
Military Family Leave
In 2008, the National Defense Authorization Act established two kinds of Military Family Leave. "Military Caregiver Leave" provides up to 26 weeks of leave to an employee who is the spouse, child, parent, or next-of-kin of a servicemember who is recovering from a serious illness or injury sustained on active duty. "Qualifying Exigency Leave" provides that an employee with a spouse, child, or parent in the National Guard or Reserves may use up to twelve weeks of leave for a "qualifying exigency" arising out of the fact that the military member is on active duty or is called to active duty in support of a contingency operation. (Refer to FMLA Policy.)
Note: Family leaves and military family leaves will be unpaid, with the following exceptions:
- Under the University's sick leave policy, employees may use up to forty hours of sick leave per year to care for ill members of their family. Those forty hours, if not previously used, may be applied toward FMLA leave. [Also see "Family Sick Leave' in the Employee Handbook.]
- The employee's department may require that any accrued vacation time be used as part of the FMLA leave before the unpaid leave begins.
An eligible employee will be entitled to twelve weeks of leave if a serious health condition renders him/her unable to perform his/her job functions. This leave will be coordinated with the University's sick leave and short-term disability policies. Any portion of medical leave not covered by either of these policies will be unpaid unless the employee elects to use accrued vacation time.
Employees are limited to a maximum total of twelve weeks leave for the above purposes (except for Military Caregiver Leave). For example, a person cannot take twelve weeks parental leave and twelve weeks paid sick leave during the same twelve-month period.
Procedures for Requesting Leave
Faculty requesting FMLA leave should submit a written or electronic request to the Vice Provost for Faculties with a copy to the Department chair and/or Dean as soon as possible so that alternative class scheduling arrangements can be made. In the case of a medical emergency, the faculty or a family member should contact the department chair or dean as soon as possible.
For leaves involving serious health conditions, the University may require appropriate verification from a health care provider of the necessity for family or medical leave.
After receiving a request for leave, the Benefits Office will provide a notice detailing specific expectations and obligations of the employee, as well as any additional information that may be required.
Benefits During FMLA Leaves
The University will continue an employee's medical and dental coverage during both paid and unpaid FMLA leaves, provided the employee continues to pay his/her normal portion of the premiums. During the paid portion of an FMLA leave, other benefits, such as retirement contributions, will also continue.
During unpaid FMLA leaves, non-health benefits will be treated the same as they are during other, non-medical leaves without pay (see below).
For more information, see details provided by Human Resources.