Leaves of Absence
FMLA Leave

Regulation #    4620.2

The St. Louis Public Schools (“the District”) understands the importance of family issues to today’s work force.  The District also recognizes that more of its employees than ever before face conflicting demands of family obligations and work.  Because employees may find it necessary to take leave from their jobs for a temporary period to address certain family responsibilities or their own serious health conditions, and in order to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), the District hereby establishes the following FMLA Leave Policy.  Should an employee wish to exercise his/her rights under this Policy and/or the Family and Medical Leave Act, they should notify the District’s Human Resources and follow the procedures set out in this policy for applying for FMLA leave.
Family and medical leaves of absence will be granted to eligible employees for the following reasons: 

            1.         The birth of the employee’s child or to care for the newborn child.
            2.         The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
3.         The care of an employee’s child, spouse, or parent (“family member”) who has a serious health condition.
            4.         The employee’s own serious health condition.
5.         Because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the active duty or call to active duty status of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent in the National Guard or Reserves, in support of a contingency operation.
6.         The care of an employee’s spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin (usually the nearest blood relative) who is a member of the Armed Forces who suffered serious illness or injury while on active duty that may render the person unable to perform the duties of the service member’s office, grade, rank or rating.

Eligible Employee 

Any employee with twelve (12) months of service and at least 1,250 hours worked in the twelve (12) month period preceding the FMLA leave.

Serious Health Condition 

For purposes of this policy, “serious health condition” means an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves:

(1) in-patient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice or residential care facility; or

(2) any period of incapacity* requiring absence from work of more than three (3) consecutive full calendar days, that also involves continuing treatment by (or under the supervision of) a licensed health care provider and at least (a) two (2) in-person visits to the health care provider; or (b) one (1) in-person visit to a health care provider plus a regimen of continued treatment; or

(3) continuing treatment by (or under the supervision of) a licensed health care provider for incapacity* due to pregnancy or incapacity* due to a chronic or long-term health condition that is incurable or so serious that, if not treated, would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive full calendar days.

*  For purposes of this Policy, “incapacity” means an inability of the employee to perform his or her job duties, or for the employee’s family member, an inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities.

Leave of Absence 

An eligible employee is entitled to a maximum of twelve (12) weeks (twenty-six (26) weeks to care for the recovering member of the Armed Forces) of unpaid FMLA leave within a rolling twelve (12) month period.

For employees employed primarily in an instructional capacity, when FMLA leave is foreseeable based on planned medical treatment and would last longer than 20% of the total number of working days during the FMLA leave period, the District may require the employee to choose either to take FMLA leave for periods of particular duration, or not to exceed the duration of the planned treatments, or to transfer temporarily to an alternative position for which the employee is qualified that has equivalent pay and benefits, and which better accommodates recurring periods of leave than the employee’s regular position. 

An employee taking FMLA leave may not, without permission, engage in other work or employment during the time of the FMLA leave.  If an employee engages in other work or employment during the leave, without specific written permission from the District, the employee will be considered to have violated the terms of the FMLA leave and to have voluntarily terminated his or her employment with the District.

FMLA Leave Near End of Academic Term

For those employees primarily employed in an instructional capacity taking FMLA leave under this policy, the following restrictions apply:

(1)        If the employee begins FMLA leave more than five (5) weeks before the end of the academic term for any reason, the District may require the employee to continue taking FMLA leave until the end of the term if

                        (a) the FMLA leave is at least three (3) weeks and

(b) the employee’s return would take place during the last three (3) week period of the academic term. 

(2)        If the employee begins the FMLA leave less than five (5) weeks before the end of the term for the birth or placement of a child, or for the serious health condition of a child, parent or spouse, the District may require the employee to continue taking FMLA leave until the end of the academic term if

                        (a) the FMLA leave is no longer than two (2) weeks and

(b) the employee’s return would take place during the last two-week period of the academic term.

(3)        If the employee begins FMLA leave less than three (3) weeks before the end of the term for the birth or placement of a child or for the serious health condition of a child, parent or spouse and the leave is for more than five (5) working days, the District may require the employee to continue taking FMLA leave until the end of the academic term.

Military Exigency Leave

An employee who is otherwise eligible for FMLA leave may take FMLA leave for a “qualifying exigency” stemming from his or her spouse, son, daughter or parent’s call or order to active military duty, or notice of an impending call or order.  Military exigency leave applies only to Military Members of the Reserves, National Guard, and certain retirees -- it does not apply to regular Armed Forces personnel.  Similarly, it is based on a federal call or order to active duty; state call-ups do not qualify for military exigency leave.  The term “qualifying exigency” is limited to the following broad categories: 

            (1)        Short-notice deployment (seven (7) or fewer days before deployment);
            (2)        Military events and related activities;
            (3)        Child care and school activities (including alternative child care arrangements; urgent child care needs; enrolling or transferring to new school or daycare; and school/daycare meetings);
            (4)        Financial and legal arrangements;
            (5)        Counseling (by someone other than a healthcare provider);
            (6)        Rest and recuperation (limited to five (5) days per R&R leave);
            (7)        Post-deployment activities within first ninety (90) days following Military Member’s return; and
            (8)        Additional activities not encompassed in the above categories, but agreed to by the District and the employee.

The employee shall provide the District with a copy of the Military Member’s active duty orders (or other official documentation) to substantiate the call to active duty. 

The District will provide the employee seeking military exigency leave with a Military Exigency Certification form to be completed, along with the Eligibility Notice and Notice of Rights and Responsibilities (see below).  The employee will be expected to complete and return the Certification form within fifteen (15) days of receipt.

Intermittent Leave or Reduced Work Schedule 

An eligible employee may take FMLA leave in twelve (12) consecutive weeks, may use the leave intermittently (i.e., take days periodically when needed over the twelve (12) month period) or, under certain circumstances, may use the leave to reduce the workweek, as described in this policy.  In all cases, the FMLA leave may not exceed twelve (12) weeks during the rolling twelve (12) month period, except for military family caregiver leave.

(1)        If an employee needs intermittent or reduced schedule leave for planned medical treatment for the employee, a family member or covered servicemember, the District may temporarily transfer an employee to an available alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits, if the alternative position would better accommodate an intermittent or reduced work schedule.

(2)        For the birth, adoption or foster care of a child, the Human Resources Department and the employee must mutually agree to the schedule before an employee may take intermittent leave or work a reduced schedule.  The District is not obligated to allow intermittent leave or a reduced leave schedule for the birth, adoption or foster care of a child.  Leave for the birth, adoption or foster care of a child must be taken within one (1) year of the birth or placement of a child.

Substitution of Paid Leave 

An employee taking FMLA leave due to the employee’s own serious health condition may use, at his-her option, accrued PTO days, vacation days or any other previously accrued paid time off that the employee has available, before continuing leave on an unpaid basis.  Any leave whether paid or unpaid or a combination thereof, for any reason that would qualify for leave under the FMLA will run concurrently with and will be counted towards the employee’s twelve (12) weeks of entitlement.

Employee Notification Requirement 

All employees requesting leave under this Policy are required to provide written notice at least thirty (30) days in advance of the leave, whenever possible.  Absent unusual circumstances, notice of the need for leave must be made by completing the District’s Leave Request Form and submitting the form to the District’s Human Resources Department.  If thirty (30) days’ notice is not possible, such as because of the lack of knowledge of when leave will begin, a change in circumstances, or a medical emergency, notice must be given as soon as practicable.  The written notice must contain:  (a)  Sufficient information for the District to determine whether the leave may qualify for FMLA protection (e.g., information that the employee is unable to perform his/her job functions, the family member is unable to perform daily activities, the need for hospitalization or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider); (b) the anticipated duration of the leave; and (c) the anticipated start of the leave.   Employees must also inform the District if the requested leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave was previously taken or certified. 

If the employee fails to provide thirty (30) days’ notice for a foreseeable leave, with no reasonable excuse for the delay, the leave request may be denied until at least thirty (30) days from the date the employee reasonably should have provided notice. 

Upon receipt of the written notice from the employee requesting leave, the District shall information the employee, generally within five (5) business days, as to whether or not they are eligible for FMLA leave.  Along with that notice of eligibility, the District will also notify the employee of his/her rights and responsibilities under the FMLA.  If the District needs additional information in order to determine whether or not a request for leave qualifies under the FMLA, that request for information shall accompany the notice of rights and responsibilities.  If the employee is not eligible, the District will provide a reason why (e.g., the employee has not worked for the District for a total of twelve (12) months). 

Planned Medical Treatment

An employee undergoing planned medical treatment must make reasonable efforts to schedule the treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the operations of the employee’s department or School. 

Medical Certification

An employee who takes leave under this Policy to care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition, or because of the employee’s own serious health condition, or to care for a family servicemember with a serious illness or injury, must provide written medical certification.  The District will provide a medical certification form to the employee to be given to the treating health care provider, generally within five (5) days after the employee returns the Leave Request Form.  The certification must be returned to the District’s Human Resources Department within fifteen (15) days, or the employee must provide a reasonable explanation for the delay. 

Certification of a serious health condition must include the following: 

                        (1)        the date the serious health condition began;
                        (2)        the health care provider's judgment concerning the probable duration of the condition;
                        (3)        the relevant medical facts of the employee’s or family member’s serious health condition;
                        (4)        a description of the nature of any recommended course of treatment;
                        (5)        an indication of whether in-patient hospitalization is necessary;
                        (6)        a statement that the employee either cannot perform any type of work or cannot perform the essential functions of the employee's job (when the leave is for the employee's own serious health condition); and
                        (7)        a statement that the family member needs assistance or that the employee's presence would be beneficial or desirable for the care of the family member (when leave is taken to care for a family member with a serious health condition).
If the employee plans to take intermittent leave or work a reduced schedule, the certification must also include dates and duration of treatment and a statement of medical necessity for taking intermittent leave or working a reduced schedule.  While on leave, the employee may be asked to periodically report on his or her status or the status of the family member and whether the employee intends to return to work. 

The District reserves the right to require, at the District's expense, that the employee obtain the opinion of a second healthcare provider (approved by the District).  In the case of conflicting opinions, the District reserves the right to require, at the District’s expense, a medical opinion from a third healthcare provider, approved jointly by the employee and the District, which will be final and binding on the District and the employee. 

Failure to provide medical certification as requested will result in the delay of the leave until such certification is provided, or denial or termination of leave if no certification is provided.

Return to Work

An employee on a FMLA leave due to the employee’s own serious health condition must provide medical certification of fitness to return to work before the employee will be reinstated to active service.  Failure to provide this certification may result in delay or denial of job restoration.

Designation Notice

Within five (5) business days after receiving sufficient information to make the determination that the employee is eligible for FMLA leave, the District will provide the employee with a Designation Notice.  This form will confirm whether or not the requested leave is FMLA qualifying or ask the employee to provide any additional information needed.  If the leave will be designated as FMLA qualifying, the District will inform the employee of the amount of leave that will be counted against the employee’s leave entitlement (if known at the time). 

When an employee takes paid time off (e.g., PTO days or sick pay benefits), which would otherwise qualify as leave under this Policy except that the employee has not specifically requested FMLA leave under this Policy, the time spent on such a leave will be designated as FMLA leave and be counted towards an employee's total number of weeks to which the employee is entitled under this Policy.

Military Family Caregiver Leave

An eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered servicemember who is recovering from a serious illness or injury sustained in the line of duty on active duty is entitled to take up to twenty-six (26) weeks of leave in a single twelve (12) month period to care for the servicemember.  “Next of kin” usually means the closest blood relative of the injured or recovering servicemember.  This caregiver leave is available during a “single twelve (12) month period” during which an eligible employee is entitled to a combined total of twenty-six (26) weeks of all types of FMLA leave.  The recovering servicemember must be a member of the Armed Forces (including the Reserves and National Guard) who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy, is on out-patient status, or is otherwise on a temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness.  A “serious injury or illness” is one incurred while on active duty in the Armed Services that may render the person unable to perform his/her military duties. 

Benefit Continuation 

The District will continue to provide medical and other benefits to employees on FMLA leave who were receiving said medical and other benefits at the commencement of the FMLA leave.  The employee will be required to pay his/her employee contributions from any pay earned during the FMLA leave.  To the extent the employee receives insufficient compensation to pay his/her required employee contributions during the FMLA leave, the District will maintain the benefits for the employee; however, the employee will be required upon return from the FMLA leave to reimburse the District for any employee contribution not paid by the employee during the FMLA leave. 

If at the time of applying for FMLA leave or during the leave, the employee intends not to return to work or decides not to return to work after completion of the FMLA leave, the employee will be required to reimburse the District for the cost of payments made to maintain the employee's benefits during the leave.  This provision shall not apply if the failure to return to work is due to the continuation, recurrence or onset of a serious health condition or other circumstances beyond the control of the employee. 

Use of FMLA leave will not result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an employee’s leave. 

Job Restoration 

The employee will be returned to the same or equivalent position with no loss of benefits accrued prior to the commencement of his/her leave.  Any employee who does not return to work at the end of an authorized FMLA leave is subject to immediate termination of employment.  subject to such rights that the employee may have under the law. 

Prohibited Conduct

FMLA makes it unlawful for any employer to:

  • Interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under FMLA;
  • Discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by FMLA or for involvement in any proceeding under or relating to FMLA.



An employee may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or may bring a private lawsuit against an employer.

FMLA does not affect any Federal or State law prohibiting discrimination, or supersede any State or local law or collective bargaining agreement which provides greater family or medical leave rights.

Questions About FMLA

If you have any questions about your benefits or responsibilities under this Policy, contact the Human Resources Department. 


Regulation approved:  March 12, 2009

  In the case of a request for military exigency leave, the employee must provide sufficient information to put the District on notice that a covered Military Member has been called to active duty and that the leave is for one of the enumerated qualifying exigencies, and the expected duration of the absence. 
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