Planning for Your FMLA Leave

For purposes of your own planning as well as your departmental planning, it’s important for you to communicate your anticipated need for FMLA Leave to your manager, Department Administrator and the FAS Leaves Liaison as early as possible, and to provide the information needed to determine whether FMLA applies to your situation. During your FMLA Leave, keep your manager informed of any changes or events that may affect your plans to return. Also, be sure to keep your insurance up-to-date during your leave.

1. Notify your manager, Department Administrator, and FAS Leaves Liaison

Contact your manager, Department Administrator and FAS Leaves Liaison as soon as you learn of an upcoming event that may qualify for FMLA coverage. Give your manager at least 30 days’ written notice, if the leave is foreseeable, or as soon as possible within one or two business days of when you learn of your need to request an FMLA leave. Your notification should indicate whether you are seeking a leave for a Serious Health Condition, parenting, or a military family obligation. The FAS Leaves Liaison will ask you to fill out a written Request for Family or Medical Leave.
Failure to give timely notice may result in the delay or denial of coverage under FMLA.

2. Necessary documentation – before an FMLA Leave

Within five business days after hearing from you about your desire to take FMLA Leave, HR will send you some or all of the following documents depending on your particular situation:

  • Notice of Eligibility Letter – indicating whether, based on your initial notification, you meet the eligibility requirements for FMLA Leave. This letter also indicates the additional information you will need to provide, to determine whether your absence will qualify as an FMLA Leave.
  • Rights and Responsibilities Notice – describing your rights and responsibilities under the FMLA.
  • FMLA Certification – to be completed by the treating health care provider or military unit administrator, as appropriate, where FMLA Leave is requested for a Serious Health Condition, Qualifying Exigency, or serious injury or illness of a Covered Service Member.
  • Designation Notice – indicating whether your request for FMLA Leave is approved or denied, or whether additional information is needed from you. In most cases this document is not sent until after the necessary FMLA Certification is submitted and evaluated.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY: Any required certifications must be completed and returned to the FAS Leaves Liaison, signed, within fifteen (15) calendar days of being requested.

Upon receiving the completed certifications from you, the FAS Leaves Liaison will review the certification(s) and provide you with a Designation Notice, indicating whether your request for leave is approved or denied, or whether additional information is needed.

3. Insurance payments during your FMLA Leave

If your FMLA Leave is paid, regular premiums payments on your health insurance will be deducted from your pay to maintain health benefits while you are on FMLA Leave. If your FMLA Leave is unpaid and less than 30 days, regular premiums will be deducted from your pay when you return to work. If your FMLA Leave is unpaid and extends more than 30 days, or if you are receiving weekly workers’ compensation, you will be billed for the amount of your regular premiums and will have a 30-day grace period in which to make premium payments. The Notice of Eligibility sent to you by the FAS Leaves Liaison will give you further details regarding your insurance responsibilities during and after your FMLA Leave.

4. Additional documents needed during your FMLA Leave

You may be asked to submit medical recertifications at various points during your FMLA Leave. You will receive a letter from the FAS Leaves Liaison with instructions on how, where, and when to provide medical updates. In addition, you may be asked for periodic updates on your plans to return to work.

5. Changing your plans

Please notify your Department Administrator and/or the FAS Leaves Liaison of any changes regarding the circumstances of your FMLA Leave. If you are able to return to work earlier than the date originally indicated, please notify your Department Administrator and/or the FAS Leaves Liaison at least two workdays before the date you wish to return. Notify us also if you wish to request an extension of your leave. You will be notified in writing if your requested changes are approved or denied.

If you do not return to work following your FMLA Leave, then depending on the circumstances of your decision not to return, you may be required to reimburse Harvard for its share of health insurance premiums paid on your behalf during your FMLA Leave.

6. Returning from your FMLA Leave

Upon returning to work after a FMLA Leave for your own Serious Health Condition, you will be required to provide a written Fitness for Duty Certification, which is a signed statement from your treating health care provider indicating that you are able to return to work, and also indicating any restrictions that may apply when you return to work. If this certification indicates any restrictions that may require an accommodation upon your return to work, notify the FAS Leaves Liaison as far in advance of your return as possible so that she can refer your case to the Senior Disability Case Manager who will work with you, your manager and Department Administrator, and your HR Consultant to create a formal return to work plan.