SPECIAL FMLA RULES FOR SCHOOLS

  • Special Rules Applicable to Employees of Schools

    The special rules affect the taking of intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule, or leave near the end of an academic term (semester), by instructional employees. Instructional employees are those whose principal function is to teach and instruct students in a class, a small group, or an individual setting. This term includes not only teachers, but also athletic coaches, and special education assistants such as signers for the hearing impaired. It does not include, and the special rules do not apply to, teacher assistants who do not have as their principal job actual teaching or instructing, nor does it include auxiliary personnel such as counselors, psychologists, or curriculum specialists. It also does not include clerical staff, cafeteria workers, maintenance workers, or custodians.
     

    Special rules for school employees, limitations on intermittent leave.

    If an eligible instructional employee needs intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule to care for a family member with a serious health condition, to care for a covered service member, or for the employee's own serious health condition, which is foreseeable based on planned medical treatment, and the employee would be on leave for more than 20 percent of the total number of working days over the period the leave would extend, the employer may require the employee to choose either to:

    • Take leave for a period or periods of a particular duration, not greater than the duration of the planned treatment; or
    • Transfer temporarily to an available alternative position for which the employee is qualified, which has equivalent pay and benefits and which better accommodates recurring periods of leave than does the employee's regular position.

    These rules apply only to a leave involving more than 20 percent of the working days during the period over which the leave extends. For example, if an instructional employee who normally works five days each week needs to take two days of FMLA leave per week over a period of several weeks, the special rules would apply. 

    If an instructional employee does not give required notice of foreseeable FMLA leave to be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule, the employer may require the employee to take leave of a particular duration, or to transfer temporarily to an alternative position. Alternatively, the employer may require the employee to delay the taking of leave until the notice provision is met.
     

    Special rules for school employees, limitations on leave hear the end of an academic term.

    There are also different rules for instructional employees who begin leave more than five weeks before the end of a term, less than five weeks before the end of a term, and less than three weeks before the end of a term. Regular rules apply except in circumstances when:

    1. An instructional employee begins leave more than five weeks before the end of a term. The employer may require the employee to continue taking leave until the end of the term if —

         a. The leave will last at least three weeks, and

         b. The employee would return to work during the three-week period before the end of the
              term.

    2. The employee begins leave during the five-week period before the end of a term because of the birth of a son or daughter; the placement of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care; to care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition; or to care for a covered service member. The employer may require the employee to continue taking leave until the end of the term if-

         a. The leave will last more than two weeks, and

         b. The employee would return to work during the two-week period before the end of the
              term.

    3. The employee begins leave during the three-week period before the end of a term because of the birth of a son or daughter; the placement of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care; to care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition; or to care for a covered service member. The employer may require the employee to continue taking leave until the end of the term if the leave will last more than five working days.