Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA) / Rhode Island Parental And Family Medical Leave Act (RIPFML)

Federal and/or state law entitles eligible employees to unpaid leave due to:

  • Personal illness or disability;
  • Childbirth and/or care of the employee's newborn;
  • Placement and/or care of a newly adopted or foster child; or,
  • Care of a spouse, same-sex domestic partner*, child or parent with a serious health condition.
  • Assistance for a covered family member's active military service or call to active duty

*Not specified by law; included by the University.
If an employee is entitled to a leave benefit under both federal (FMLA) and state (RIPFML) laws, the leave periods will run concurrently.

This policy explains employees' leave rights in general terms. For additional information, refer to HR Policy # 30.024, Leaves Of Absence policy or contact the Benefits Office.


To be eligible, the employee must have been employed for 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave.

Leave Duration

Federal and state law provide for up to 12 weeks of leave during a 12-month period (FMLA) or 13 weeks of leave during a 24-month period (RIPFML).If FMLA leave is requested for the care of an injured or ill service member returning from active service, the law provides additional leave up to 26 weeks total (Currently not included in the RIPFML.)

Intermittent Leave

Under certain circumstances when the leave is for a serious health condition, an employee may take the leave in smaller increments (i.e., intermittently). An employee must first make every effort to minimize disruption of the department's needs, such as arranging for medical treatment outside of the regular work schedule. If this is not practicable, the employee may take time off in increments of as little as one hour to attend to these medical requirements. Intermittent leave is not available under RIPFML.

Notice Requirements

An employee who wishes to take FMLA or RIPFML must notify his or her supervisor of the intent, and must submit a completed Leave of Absence Request Form. When an employee's need for leave is foreseeable, he or she must give notice of intent to take leave at least 30 days in advance.  In the event that 30 days notice is impossible because of medical emergency, as much notice as is reasonably possible should be given. If an employee fails to provide notice of the leave as required, the University may delay the leave. The University retains the right to designate that an employee's leave is covered by the FMLA or RIPFML.

Medical Certification

When an employee requests leave because of his/her own or a family member's serious health condition, he or she must provide a sufficiently completed certification from a qualified health care provider. The completed form must state the reason for and the anticipated duration of the leave. The Department of Labor provides four different certification forms depending on the leave reason as follows: your own medical condition, a medical condition of a covered family member, to provide assistance for a qualifying exigency or to provide care for an injured or ill service member returning from active duty. An employee will receive further information about certification requirements when a leave is requested. A serious health condition is generally defined as a condition requiring inpatient care or repeated treatment by a health care provider.

Benefits and Pay during Leave

Please refer to HR Policy # 30.024, Leaves Of Absence regarding benefits eligibility during leaves. An eligible employee may, at his/her option, receive pay while taking leave by using accrued vacation or sick time. An employee must comply with the requirements of the vacation and sick time policies. (See Vacation Time #30.021 , and Sick Time #30.022 policies.)

Return to Work and Reinstatement Rights

When an employee requests leave he or she will be asked about when he or she intends to return to work. The employee must inform the Benefits Office and his/her supervisors, as far in advance as possible, if his/her intended return date changes. It is also the employee's responsibility to report in periodically about his or her status and/or any change in his or her status (e.g., a change in his or her return to work date).

Ordinarily, when an employee returns he or she will be reinstated to his or her position or to an equivalent position in terms of pay, benefits and working conditions, including the same or substantially the same duties and responsibilities.

If the leave was for an employee's own serious health condition the employee must provide a return to work authorization from a health care provider before returning to work. If the employee does not provide the department medical clearance, he/she may not perform work and should not return to the workplace until obtaining such document.

Qualifying Exigency Leave/Covered Servicemember Family Leave

Qualifying Exigency Leave: An eligible employee may take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave to handle exigencies related to a family member's active duty military service or call to active duty.
Under the regulations, an eligible employee may take leave for one or more of the following "qualifying exigencies": (1) short notice deployment, (2) military events and related activities, (3) childcare and school activities, (4) financial and legal arrangements, (5) counseling, (6) rest and recuperations, (7) post-deployment activities and (8) additional activities to address other events that arise out of the covered servicemember's active duty or call to active duty status. The employer and employee must agree that such leave shall qualify as an exigency and must agree to both the timing and duration of the leave.

Covered Servicemember Family Leave: An eligible employee may take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave to care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of active duty.

The regulations define "next of kin" of a covered servicemember as the nearest blood relative other than the covered servicemember's spouse, parent, son or daughter in the following order of priority: blood relatives who have been granted legal custody of the covered servicemember by court decree or statutory provisions, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins, unless the covered servicemember has specifically designated in writing another blood relative as his or her nearest blood relative for purposes of covered servicemember leave. Further, the regulations provide that an eligible employee can take more than one 26-week leave if the leave is to care for a different covered servicemember or if the same covered servicemember has a subsequent injury or illness. However, an eligible employee cannot take more than 26 weeks of leave in any single 12-month period.

Intent to Comply With Applicable Law

The University intends to fully comply with applicable law in the administration of these leave provisions including the changes from the National Defense Authorization Act enacted in 2009. In view of the complexity and detail in the various statutes, it is impractical to express the entire body of relevant information in policy documents. In situations where this policy does not contain a specific obligation or right, the University will follow applicable state or federal requirements.