Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law which provides job protection and benefits coverage to eligible employees.

FMLA may cover employees for up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave from work during the applicable 12-month period because of:

  • An employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of her/his job
  • To care for an eligible family member’s serious health condition
  • The birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care
  • A qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that an employee’s eligible family member is a covered military member on “covered active duty”  or call to covered active duty status.

FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a single 12-month period.


  • You are eligible for FMLA if you have worked for the University for at least 12 months in a benefits eligible capacity; and if you have not previously exhausted your FMLA covered leave for the applicable 12-month period.
  • If you are on a 9-month service period, you are entitled to FMLA during contracted teaching periods, including summer if contracted to work.
  • If you are on a 12-month service period, you are eligible year-round while in active paid status.

FMLA may be taken intermittently, or as part of a reduced work schedule as medical necessary. Contact your AHR Specialist if you have questions about eligibility.

Calculating Leave Availability

The FMLA requires employers to use one of several methods to establish the 12-month period that will be used to assess an employee’s leave availability and to track FMLA leave use.   Effective January 1, 2016, UW uses the “rolling” 12-month period to track FMLA leave usage and availability. For more information, see the FMLA FAQ page.

Pregnancy Disability

You may take pregnancy disability leave for pregnancy-related conditions or childbirth for the period of time certified by your healthcare provider. Pregnancy disability usually runs concurrently with FMLA and paid sick leave. When your pregnancy disability leave ends, you are entitled to up to 12 weeks of additional time off under the Washington Family Leave Act (FLA) for bonding with and caring for your baby. Once your paid sick leave is exhausted, FLA is considered a leave without pay.

Maternity Leave

AHR must adhere to the dates of leave on the leave certification form signed by your healthcare provider. For this reason, AHR recommends turning in required paperwork after your baby is born to ensure accurate dates and timely processing.

Benefits and Pay

You may choose to use paid sick leave, if eligible, while on FMLA leave. Paid sick leave and FMLA usually run concurrently.

The University pays the employer portion of health benefits coverage for up to 90 days during an FMLA leave. You are responsible for any insurance co-payments, extra premiums to cover family members, life insurance, long-term disability insurance, parking fees, or other payroll deductions.

If your leave extends beyond the period covered by FMLA, contact the Benefits Office for information about options to continue your benefits.

Certain academic personnel job titles are “leave bearing” appointments. Employees with any of the following appointments  should consult with their local HR offices for information on paid leave balances and other benefits:

Medical Residents and Fellows

Extension Lecturers



Return to Work

To return early from leave for your own serious health condition, you will be required to submit a new healthcare provider statement authorizing your return to work; use  the Fitness For Duty Certification form for this action.

FMLA Leave Request Process:

  1. The employee notifies the unit of the need for leave.
  2. The employee completes Section 1 of the appropriate leave certification form.
  3. The employee’s healthcare provider completes Section 2 of the leave certification form.
  4. The employee or their healthcare provider forwards the completed form to Academic Human Resources (AHR)
  5. AHR determines leave eligibility.
  6. AHR notifies the employee, unit contact and the Benefits Office when the leave is ready to process, including rights and eligibility for FMLA and/or paid sick leave.
  7. The unit enters the appropriate leave dates in payroll.

All FMLA Forms

Additional Resources