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Employment Law/FMLA for non-returning teacher at end of semester

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Question
Our private school is subject to FMLA and the regulations indicate that when an employee says they do not plan to return after leave (event if it involves a qualified event) that FMLA doesn't apply. But how is this affected in a teaching situation where there is a natural break between work year contracts? I cannot find any information about what to do when a teacher asks for FMLA for the last part of the Spring semester but clearly indicates (by rejecting the Fall contract offer) that they will not return after summer break.

Usually when we have a teacher who is pregnant she will indicate she is not planning return and finish out the school year after the birth of her baby, so we know that FMLA clearly does not apply. In our current case, however, we have a teacher who will be giving birth only 10 weeks before the end of the school year (10 weeks before the end of her current year teaching contract) and wants to start FMLA leave then. Is the employee eligible for FMLA if she has indicated that she does not intend to return either before the end of the school year OR in the Fall (i.e. she rejects next year's contract offer)? She wants to maintain her benefits until the end of the current school year, but we aren't we are obligated by FMLA when she has already indicated that she plans to separate from employment after the leave period is up.

Answer
FMLA is unpaid leave. You would be bringing in a sub whether she indicated she was coming back or not. FMLA is 12 weeks. Since it is unpaid leave and it will be over before the school year starts again. For 10 of the 12 weeks of FMLA she will be still under the current contract. I believe because she is under the current contract for 10 weeks after the birth of the child she would under the Federal laws be eligible for FMLA leave. I would not want to take the chance on violating the FMLA regulations and being fined or sued.

Shirley

Employment Law

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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR

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I can answer questions about payroll laws and payroll tax laws and Human Resource laws and agencies. I can answer federal payroll and human resource law questions and most states; I do not have a knowledge of the local taxes for cities and counties within the state. If and when I can I will try and send you the website where you can reference the answer and where you can obtain more information as well as a contact number if needed for that particular agency. Some agencies I have worked with are IRS, Department of Labor (federal and state), Revenue Canada (and provincial governments), Inland Revenue, OSHA (0ccupational Safety and Health Administration); Social Security Administration and National Child Support as well as other agencies in Payroll and Human Resources. Some Laws I am particularly familiar with are FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act ) , QDRO's, QMCSO's, and other support orders and garnishments, USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Remployment Rights Act,PPA Act (Pension Protection Act of 2006, As well as most other employment type acts. I am also well versed in the Title V Civil Rights Act and the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Experience

30 years in Payroll and Human Resources

Organizations
SHRM (Society of Human Resources) APA (American Payroll Association) DOLEA (Department of Labor Employers Association) CPA (Canadian Payroll Association) NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) The Mentoring Network

Education/Credentials
PHR Certification in Human Resources CPP Certification in Payroll in U.S. Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification in Canada

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