Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)


The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires that an "eligible" employee must be granted, in total, up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave during any twelve-month period for any of the following reasons:

  1. the birth or adoption of a child or the foster care placement of a child—when used for this reason, the FMLA leave must be concluded within 12 months of the birth, adoption or placement of the child
  2. a leave to care for the employee's spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition
  3. a serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of their job

To be eligible for coverage under FMLA, an employee must have been employed by the University for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave. All periods of time when the employee was on the payroll, including casual and temporary employment, count toward determining whether the employee has been employed for at least 12 months. Only periods of actual work time count toward the determination of whether the employee has worked at least 1,250 hours during the preceding 12 months. Periods of paid or unpaid leave, holidays, etc., which are not work time for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act, are excluded.

Note: The complete Family and Medical Leave Policy available on the HR web site, for samples of the forms to be used, plus additional information on the following topics: an explanation of the job benefits and protection provided by the Act; the 12-month period during which FMLA is calculated; spousal coverage; definitions of "family member," "serious health condition," "health care provider," etc.; how to request leave; proof; confidentiality; substitution of paid leave; benefits; and reinstatement.

Intermittent Leave

An employee taking FMLA leave for their own serious health condition or to care for a seriously ill spouse, child or parent may take leave on an intermittent basis, or by reducing their scheduled work hours. The employee must provide certification from the health care provider caring for the employee and/or family member stating that the leave must be taken in that manner. Intermittent leave must be accounted for in one (1) hour increments, up to 12 times the number of scheduled hours per week. It is incumbent upon the department to keep track of lost work time and to deduct the time from sick leave, vacation, personal days or salary, as appropriate.

Note: Officers should be deemed to work a 35-hour week for purposes of computing the number of hours of leave available.

FMLA Forms

  • WH381 – Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities
  • WH382 – Designation Notice

For an employee’s own serious health condition, non-occupational:

  • WH380E – Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition

For Workers’ Compensation, when a leave of absence is required:

  • WH380E – Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition

For a covered family member’s serious health condition:

  • WH380F – Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition

For Military Related FMLA Leave:

  • WH384 – Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave
  • WH385 – Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Current Service Member for Military Family Leave
  • WH385V - Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of a Veteran or Military Caregiver Leave

Forms for all cases (for department use only):

For any questions regarding FMLA or Leaves of Absence, please contact your HR Client Manager or contact Employment and HR Client Services at 212-851-7008 or via email at  Columbia University Medical Center departments should contact CUMC Human Resources at 212-305-3819.