Carnegie Mellon University

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 

POLICY TITLE: Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)
DATE OF ISSUANCE: This policy is from the U.S. Department of Labor, WH Publication 142, issued in June 1993, by the Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division.
ACCOUNTABLE DEPARTMENT/UNIT: Office of the Vice President for Operations. Questions about this policy can be directed to Benefits Office, 412-268-2047. Specific questions about the FMLA should be directed to the Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Government Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210.
ABSTRACT: FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for certain family and medical reasons.
RELATED DOCUMENT: Carnegie Mellon Family and Medical Leave from the Staff Handbook [pdf].
RELATED WEBSITE: Human Resources Time Away from Work

Your Rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (including Military Family Leave)

FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to "eligible" employees for certain family and medical reasons. Employees are eligible if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, and for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and if there are at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

Reasons for Taking Leave

Unpaid leave must be granted for any of the following reasons:

  • to care for the employee's child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care;
  • to care for the employee's spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition;
  • for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee's job; or
  • military family leave as described below.

At the employee's or employer's option, certain kinds of paid leave may be substituted for unpaid leave.

Advance Notice and Medical Certification

The employee may be required to provide advance leave notice and medical certification. Taking of leave may be denied if requirements are not met.

  • The employee ordinarily must provide 30 days advance notice when the leave is "foreseeable."
  • An employer may require medical certification to support a request for leave because of a serious health condition, and may require second or third opinions (at the employer's expense) and a fitness for duty report to return to work.

Military Family Leave

Eligible employees are entitled to take unpaid leave in connection with a covered family member's service in the Armed Forces as described below.  An employee's rights and obligations regarding military family leave are governed by the University's Family and Medical Leave policy except as otherwise required by law.

Military family leave provides eligible employees unpaid leave for any one, or a combination of the following reasons:

  • Military Caregiver Leave: Eligible employees who are family members of covered service members may take up to 26 workweeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious illness or injury incurred in the line of duty on active duty with the Armed Forces that may render the service member medically unfit to perform his or her duties with the Armed Forces. For purposes of this leave benefit only, eligible employees include the spouse, child, parent or next of kin of a covered service member.
  • Qualifying Exigencies: Eligible employees may take up to 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period because of a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, child or parent of the eligible employee is on covered active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty) in the Armed Forces (including the National Guard or Reserves). Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings.

The duration of military family leave is based on the reason for the leave as described below:

  • Leave to care for an injured or ill service member, when combined with other FMLA qualifying leave, may not exceed 26 weeks in a single 12 month period.
  • Military family leave runs concurrent with other leave entitlements provided under federal, state and local law.
  • In cases of a husband and wife using the leave benefits set forth in this section, the leave will be subject to the limitations set forth by the FMLA.

Some states provide additional leave benefits for family members of service members.  It is the university's policy to comply with such laws in any circumstances where they apply.

Job Benefits and Protection

  • For the duration of FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee's health coverage under any "group health plan."
  • Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms.
  • The use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an employee's leave.

Unlawful acts by employers

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.


  • The U.S. Department of Labor is authorized to investigate and resolve complaints of violations.
  • An eligible employee may bring a civil action against an employer for violations.

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.

For additional information contact the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division, listed in most telephone directories under U.S. Government, Department of Labor.