Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
In compliance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA"), eligible employees may request up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:
To care for the employee's newborn child or a child placed with the employee for adoption or foster care;
To care for the employee's spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or,
For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee's job.
Active Duty Leave: Leave due to a spouse, son, daughter or parent being on active duty or having been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation.
Caregiver Leave: This benefit provides 26 weeks of FMLA leave during a single 12 month period for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or nearest blood relative caring for a recovering service member.

Under the FMLA, a "serious health condition" means an illness, injury, or physical or mental condition involving inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider. Requests for leave to care for other seriously ill family members or members of an employee's household will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Eligible Employees: Employees are eligible to take family or medical leave only if they have worked for the Conservatory for at least 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months.
Length of Allowable Leave: FMLA leaves may be approved for a maximum of 12 weeks in a 12-month period. For purposes of this policy, a "rolling" 12-month period will be used, measured backward from the date an employee uses any family leave. Under this method, an employee's leave entitlement consists of any balance of the 12 weeks that has not been used during the immediately preceding 12-month period.
Spouses who are both employed by the Conservatory are allowed a combined total of 12 weeks of FMLA leave within a 12-month period for the care of a newborn or adopted child, or to care for a parent with a serious health condition. If FMLA leave is requested due to the illness of a child or of the other spouse, each spouse is allowed 12 weeks of leave.
In the case of the serious health condition of an employee or a family member, employees may request leave in continuous periods, intermittent periods, or by a reduced work schedule, to a total of 12 weeks. In cases of reduced schedules or intermittent leave, a department supervisor may transfer the employee temporarily to an alternative position to accommodate the needs of the work area. In such situations, the employee's salary rate and benefits should remain the same.
Leave to care for a newborn or a newly adopted child should normally be taken in continuous periods and must be taken within 12 months of the birth or placement of the child. When leave is taken after the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, an employee may take leave intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule only if the request is approved by the department head.
Requests for leave to exceed the 12 weeks provided under the FMLA will be reviewed in accordance with the circumstances of the request, considerations of work coverage, and the provisions of the Conservatory's general policy on leave without pay.
FMLA leave will run concurrently with leave taken pursuant to the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act and, where applicable, leave taken under the Conservatory's Parental Leave policy. (See below).
Requesting FMLA Leave: Employees are expected to provide as much advance notice to Human Resources and their supervisor of the need for a leave as is possible to allow for planning of coverage in the employee's department.
Where the need for leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement for adoption or foster care, or planned medical treatment for a serious health condition of the employee or of a family member, the employee must provide the Conservatory at least 30 days advance notice before FMLA leave is to begin. If 30 days notice is not practicable, such as because of a lack of knowledge of approximately when leave will be required to begin, a change in circumstances, or a medical emergency, notice must be given as soon as practicable.
Applications for Leave of Absence are available from the Human Resources Office. (The application indicates the necessary documentation required depending upon the type of leave requested.) Certification from a qualified health care provider will be required for approval of a leave due to the employee's own serious health condition or to care for the employee's seriously-ill spouse, son, daughter, or parent. Copies of the U.S. Department of Labor's Form for Certification of Health Care Provider are available in the Human Resources Office for this purpose. Such certification should be provided before the leave begins (or in as timely a manner as possible) and should include:

  • The date on which the illness or condition began
  • The estimated duration of the condition
  • A statement that the illness or condition warrants the participation of the employee to
    provide care
  • In the case of intermittent leave, the dates and duration of treatments to be given.
    The Conservatory may require that a second medical opinion be obtained. This evaluation is done at the expense of the Conservatory and must be obtained from a health care provider who is not employed by the Conservatory. In the event of conflicting opinions, the Conservatory may ask for a third and final opinion (at the expense of the Conservatory) to offer a binding decision.

Additional certification may be requested for any extension of a leave period beyond the dates originally approved.

Continuation of Benefits During FMLA Leave: Health and dental plan coverage (and life insurance coverage for those eligible) continue during FMLA periods. The employee will continue to be responsible for the employee portion of the premium while on FMLA leave.
Under IRS rules, contributions by NEC to pension plans are not allowed during leaves without pay.

Use of Vacation, Sick, or Personal Leave During FMLA Leave: The Conservatory requires that the employee use any accrued, unused vacation leave, personal leave, or (in the case of the employee's own serious health condition, or that of their dependent child, parent, or for whom they are responsible) accrued sick leave as part or all of the 12-week period. An employee will not accrue or be entitled to paid sick leave or paid vacation while on unpaid FMLA leave.

Conditions of Return from FMLA Leave: At least one week prior to their date of return, employees are expected to notify their supervisor and Human Resources. If the FMLA leave was for the employee's own medical condition, the employee must present certification from the employee's health care provider upon return from leave that the employee is able to resume work.

At the completion of the approved leave period, an employee will be reinstated to his or her former position or an equivalent position within the Conservatory. However, this guarantee of restoration shall not apply to certain highly compensated employees, if necessary to avoid substantial and grievous economic injury to the Conservatory's operation.
Questions relating to the provisions and eligibility requirements for FMLA leave should be directed to Human Resources.

Approved Sick Leave, Short-term Disability Leave, Parental Leave and MMLA leave all run concurrently with Family and Medical Leave. At the completion of an approved FMLA leave period, the employee will be reinstated to his or her former position or an equivalent position within the Conservatory. However, the Conservatory does not guarantee positions beyond the 12 week FMLA period.