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Benefits & Pay - Leave Benefits - Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

When an employee is unable to work for a period due to specified medical or family reasons the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows them to take a leave of absence without any repercussions. Employees can find information regarding FMLA and how to request it below.



If one of your employees is unable to work for a period of time due to medical or family reasons including; personal illness, maternity/paternity leave, or a spouse who requires medical assistance, they can use the Family Medical Leave Act to take time off of work while maintaining job security. 

Federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act: 

  • Entitles employees to take a leave of absence from work for specified family and medical reasons. 
  • Provides job protection under covered absences.
  • Protects employees from being disciplined or dismissed for absences covered by FMLA. Employers cannot use the taking of FMLA leave as a negative factor in employment actions
Please see Family & Medical Leave for the most up-to-date information on Family & Medical Leave.FMLARequestForm.pdf


An employee is eligible for FMLA when they have been employed by the State of Wisconsin for at least 12 months and worked for the State of Wisconsin for at least 1,250 hours (excluding paid leave time used) in the 12 months immediately preceding the beginning of their leave. 

  • Calendar year for University Staff.
  • Fiscal year for Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited (FAASLI).

Reasons for Leave Covered by FMLA

  • Employee’s serious health condition that makes the employee unable to work. 
  • To care for employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition. 
  • The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth.
  • The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement. 
  • Any qualifying need arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, child, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty” OR
  • To care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin.

Types of FMLA Leave

  • Continuous:
    • Leave is taken all at once in a single block of time
  • Intermittently: 
    • leave is taken in separate blocks of time for a single qualifying reason. This leave is unpredictable based on the medical condition. 
  • A reduced work schedule: 
    • a temporary reduction in the number of hours an employee works for a period of time

FMLA Allotment

  • Employee on FMLA are eligible for up to 480 hours or 12 weeks of FMLA leave. 
  • They can use these “bucket of hours” for either intermittent leave, continuous leave, or a reduced work schedule. 
  • Their “bucket of hours” are based on their FTE.
  • University Staff follow a calendar year.
  • Salaried employees follow a fiscal year


All FMLA leave is confidential: 

  • As a supervisor, any knowledge of employee medical information you have needs to remain confidential. 
  • If an employee shares medical documentation with you, please contact your DDR. You can pass it on to your DDR and then shred your copy. 
  • If employees from your area asks about another employee who is on FMLA leave. You can state that the employee is out on leave, but you cannot specify anything else. 
  • Do not share medical information/diagnosis with other employees. If you are the holder of that information – do not share it.

Request an FMLA Leave of Absence

Request Process

Download the FMLA Request Form

To request FMLA you follow these steps: 

  1. Employee/Supervisor notifies the Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) / Human Resources (HR) and about the need for a medical leave.
  2. Employee fill-outs and submits the FMLA Request Form to the DDR/HR
  3. If eligible, employee will receive an FMLA Medical Certification Form that will go to their medical provider.
  4. Medical provider fills-out the FMLA Medical Certification Form and then faxes the form to the DDR/HR
  5. DDR reviews the FMLA Medical Certification Form and makes  a decision. 
  6. If approved, an FMLA Memo will get e-mailed to the employee and the supervisor. The memo mentions the dates that the employee will be out on FMLA leave.
  7. Return-to-Work Form, from the medical provider will be needed from employee before they are return to the workplace. This letter clears the employee to work. **Not needed for maternity/paternity leave.**

Pay During FMLA

  • FMLA is unpaid job-protected leave 
  • Employees have the choice to use their paid leave or go unpaid during an approved FMLA leave. 
  • While on FMLA leave, employees can use their own accrued leave (Vacation, Personal Holiday, Sick Leave) to get their FMLA leave paid. 
  • They can also choose to get the FMLA leave unpaid, by entering Leave Without Pay (LWOP) on their payroll entries. 
  • Employees can also use Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) while on FMLA, if they have met their elimination period (waiting period). 
  • Salaried employees should report leave in actual hours absent.

Additional Leave Options

  • There may be additional leave options that may apply or be appropriate when an employee is:
    • Not eligible for FMLA
    • Seeking leave for something not covered under FMLA
    • Exhausted their FMLA leave entitlement for the year and needs additional leave
  • It is important that you communicate with your DDR regarding these situations.
  • Other leave benefits

Additional Information

Get Help

  • In all related situations, it is important that you communicate with your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR). 
  • You can contact your assigned DDR by email at
  • If you have any general questions, please contact

KeywordsThe Family Medical Leave Act, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Leave of Absence, Unexpected illnesses, Family Medical Care   Doc ID112567
OwnerNathaniel S.GroupExtension Handbook
Created2021-07-22 11:08:34Updated2024-02-19 11:36:35
SitesExtension Handbook
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