Family and Medical Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal regulation that entitles eligible faculty/staff members (employees) to up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave and benefits continuation for certain qualifying events including:

  • Your own serious health condition
  • Your family member’s serious health condition (your spouse, parent, or child under the age of 18)
  • The birth or care of your newborn child
  • The adoption or foster care of your child
  • Qualifying military exigencies
  • Military caregiver leave (up to 26 weeks)


Types of FMLA Leave

There are two types of FMLA leave:

  • Continuous: Leave is for a consecutive number of days
  • Intermittent: Leave is taken in separate blocks of time or you work a reduced schedule

Who is Eligible for FMLA?

In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, you must:

  • Be employed at Penn for at least 12 months
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of your leave

How Does FMLA Work?

If you’re taking FMLA leave for your own serious health condition or pregnancy:

You must submit an application for FMLA that will require information from your physician. The University requires that you substitute available paid leave for unpaid FMLA leave.  If your leave has a duration of ten (10) or more consecutive work days, short-term disability (STD) pay may apply.  Disability resulting from pregnancy is treated like other disabilities with respect to paid leave time.  The normal period of disability from the date of delivery is a maximum of eight (8) weeks.  Employees who elect to remain out of work longer than 8 weeks after delivery will use their remaining PTO unless they notify their business administrator that they want to retain it.  The remaining FMLA leave will be unpaid. Please see below for the applicable STD policy:

Grades 28 and Below and Grades A, B, C and D:

You will use available sick time followed by PTO for the first ten (10) days (the waiting period).  If neither are available, part or all of the waiting period will be unpaid.  Once your medical leave has been approved and you have satisfied the waiting period, you will be paid 100% of your base salary for up to six (6) additional weeks.  Should your approved medical leave extend longer than eight (8) weeks, you will be paid 75% of your base salary for up to an additional eighteen (18) weeks.  If you have a balance of STD days, you will use these days beginning with week nine (9) in order to continue at 100% of pay.  STD balances will expire on 6/30/18.

Grades 29 and Above and Grades E, F, G and H:

You will be required to exhaust all available sick time during the period of disability and 50% of your PTO.  STD will then apply for the duration of your approved medical leave.

University staff members who are covered by collective bargaining agreements should refer to the appropriate contract article.


When will I receive short-term disability (STD) pay?

You will receive STD pay only when you have a continuous, incapacitating health condition or pregnancy that is expected to last 10 days or more which has been certified by a physician and approved by the FMLA Administrator. STD pay cannot be used for intermittent leave or for a leave associated with the care of a family member.

While on STD, you are not eligible for paid holidays; additional sick and PTO days don’t accrue.

The maximum amount of time you can be out on leave is six (6) months or 132 consecutive work days. The time is counted from your last day worked. If you have a disability which is expected to exceed six months, you are eligible to apply for long-term disability.

If you’re taking FMLA leave for reasons other than your own serious health condition or pregnancy:

You may use up to five (5) sick days in a calendar year for approved leaves for reasons other than your own serious health condition or pregnancy (paternity, adoption, foster care and care of a family member with a serious health condition). You must substitute unused PTO for the leave unless you notify your business administrator that you want to retain 50% of your PTO balance.

Payroll Deductions

While you are on paid leave, these deductions continue:

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Life insurance
  • Retirement contributions
  • Other deductions you may have (e.g., parking, fitness, credit union, etc.)

Should any portion of your leave be unpaid:

  • Insurance premiums and other deductions will build up in suspense and will be taken from your paycheck when you return to work.
  • Retirement plan contributions will cease during unpaid leave.