Human Resources and Payroll



Frequently Asked Questions - Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Employees who have been employed with George Mason University for at least a year, and who have worked at least 1,250 hours during that year, are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under FMLA, the University is required to provide up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for certain family and medical reasons. These reasons include:

  1. Care of the employee's child (birth, or placement for adoption or foster care) within the first twelve months of birth or placement.
  2. Care of the employee's spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition.
  3. A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform his/her job.
Accrued paid leave, such as annual leave or sick leave (as certified medically appropriate), may be substituted for unpaid leave.

Under FMLA regulations, the definition of "serious health condition" has been clarified to include inpatient care in a hospital or similar facility or continuing treatment by a health care provider. With continuing treatment, the period of incapacity must last for three consecutive calendar days. With respect to two chronic diseases, diabetes and asthma, the period of incapacity can be less than three days. Several conditions have been excluded from the definition of serious health condition: flu, common cold, upset stomach and routine dental problems. Stress by itself does not quality, but mental illness resulting from stress may be a serious health problem.

Under FMLA, the employer must notify the employee that it is designating an absence as FMLA within two business days of an employer's learning that leave is being taken for a purpose covered by FMLA. If the employer fails to notify the employee or to designate the absence, the employer cannot do so retroactively. Employers can designate leave as FMLA leave after an employee has returned to work if the employer did not learn of the reason for the absence until the employee's return or the employer made a preliminary decision pending receipt of medical certification.

For FMLA related forms please visit the Workers' Compensation web site