Human Resources
Mitchell 1st Floor, MS: 7425
Phone: (509) 963-1202
Fax: (509) 963-1733

FMLA Provisions and Employee Responsibilities

Central Washington University recognizes that during an employee’s career, circumstances may arise which require prolonged or intermittent absence from work. As a result, CWU policy and practice provide for a generous amount of paid and unpaid time away from work for reasons recognized by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Human Resources Office      

Mitchell First Floor
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7425
Telephone: (509) 963-1202
Fax: (509) 963-1733

View Employee Rights Under FMLA (PDF) Poster by the Department of Labor

  • What is FMLA?

    A federal mandate that grants employees unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons and assures continuation of provided insurance coverage. To remain in pay status, appropriate use of sick leave, vacation leave, comp time or personal holiday must be requested and approved. Eligible employees are entitled to:

    1. Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
      • 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;
      • to care for the employee's spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
      • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job (also see Workplace Accommodation);
      • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on "covered active duty;" or;
    2. Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember's spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).
  • Who can take FMLA?

    An employee who, on the date on which any FMLA leave is to commence:

    1. has been employed for a total of at least 12 months by the employer (need not be consecutive), and
    2. has worked for at least 1250 hours of service during the previous 12 months.
  • What are my responsibilities?


    • Notify HR and supervisor of need for time away from work. Provide 30-day advance notice if the leave is foreseeable and such notice is practicable.
    • Submit FMLA Request Form to HR.
    • Meet with an HR Leave Specialist to review other required forms and process overall, (509) 963-1202.
    • Submit completed medical forms as soon as possible.
    • Before your leave starts talk to your supervisor about
      • your anticipated leave duration;
      • when you are expected check-in if your leave is to last more than a week; and
      • anticipated work restrictions on your return to work (if leave is for your own medical condition)
    • While on leave
      • submit your time correctly in MyCWU or by Faculty Absence Request Form;
      • respond to inquiries from HR; and
      • notify HR of change in medical condition, change of address, and date of baby's birth (or placement) for parental leaves.
    • If the leave is for your own serious condition, submit a Return to Work Release (PDF) completed by your medical provider prior to returning to work. If you return to work with restrictions, you may be asked to provide another Return to Work Release when you are cleared to return to full duty with no restrictions. NOTE: Before you can return to work, including light duty or work from home, it is your responsibility to ensure HR has received updated information releasing you to return to work. Failure to ensure updated information has been received will delay your return to work.

    For more information about planning for your leave and return to work, see the Supervisor’s Guide to Employee Return to Work.

  • How are benefits affected?

    The employer portion of your medical insurance coverage continues while you are on approved FMLA. You will need to submit enough paid time (sick, vacation, personal holiday, comp time) to cover your benefits & other deductions each pay period.  If you do not have paid leave balances, you will need to pay by check. However, self-pay of employee monthly premium may be required if you are on leave without pay for one month or more. Vacation (annual leave) or sick leave will NOT accrue during a month in which an employee is in leave without pay status for more than ten days.

  • What are the return to work provisions?

    The department that granted the leave is responsible for ensuring that timely placement occurs when leave is completed. The employee will normally be returned to the last job held or, if necessary, to an equivalent position, unless one of the following conditions applies:

    • Employee's return creates or is affected by a layoff situation.
    • Medical restriction precludes placement.
  • Definitions

    Serious Health Condition:

    According to the Department of Labor, a "Serious health condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

    • any period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or
    • a period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three calendar days from work, school, or other regular daily activities that also involves continuing treatment by (or under the supervision of) a health care provider; or
    • any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care; or
    • any period of incapacity (or treatment therefore) due to a chronic serious health condition (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.); or
    • a period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g., Alzheimer's, stroke, terminal diseases, etc.); or,
    • any absences to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery therefrom) by, or on referral by, a health care provider for a condition that likely would result in incapacity of more than three consecutive days if left untreated (e.g., chemotherapy, physical therapy, dialysis, etc.).

    12-Month Period:

    Any rolling 12-month period in which an eligible employee is entitled to leave.


    A husband or wife as defined or recognized under State law.


    Biological, adopted, or foster child; a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is under 18 years of age or 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.


    Biological, adoptive, stepparent or an individual who stands/stood in loco parentis to an employee.


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