Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
FMLA guarantees up to 12 weeks of leave (paid or unpaid) in a 12-month period (unless otherwise required by law). It also guarantees you the right to continue participating in the Company's healthcare plans at active Associate rates, not to lose any benefits earned at the time you go on a leave and to be reinstated in your benefits at the end of the leave. FMLA provides you with time off work for one of the following reasons:
  • Birth of your child and/or care of your newborn
  • Placement of a child with you for adoption (including a foster child) and care for your child after adoption
  • Care for your spouse, child, parent or person who acted as your parent while you were a child, who has a serious health condition, or
  • Your own serious health condition.
You must use all available paid time off benefits, unless otherwise required by law, before beginning an unpaid FMLA. If you have Paid Time Off (PTO), My Time Off (MTO), Incidental Time Off, Illness Recovery Time, Puerto Rico maternity or sick days or Texas Worker Injury Plan benefits, some or all of your FMLA period may be paid time off. If you live in a state that provides state or temporary disability insurance benefits, the state or a third party insurer may also provide pay for your time off work.
Continuing Coverage During Leave
While on leave, you may continue Medical, Dental, Vision, Health Care FSA, Associate-Paid Term Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, Disability Insurance and Long Term Care Insurance coverages as long as you pay the premiums through paycheck deductions if you have paid time off benefits available.
When the unpaid portion of your FMLA begins, certain benefit coverages automatically end, others automatically continue and some may continue if you pay the active Associate rate during your FMLA. Your healthcare coverage (Medical, Dental, ABC MedSaver, ABC Dental, Vision and Health Care FSA) may not be cancelled while you are on FMLA. All other benefit coverages may be cancelled if premiums are not promptly paid.
Returning to Work
If you return from FMLA in the same calendar year, you will be automatically reinstated in all the benefits that you were enrolled in at the time you went on leave.
If you return to work in a new calendar year, you will be automatically reinstated in all benefits that are still available. You will be eligible to enroll for coverage if an annual election is required (Spending Accounts) or if your former option is no longer available.
Continuing Coverage After Leaving the Company
If you terminate employment after your FMLA ends, you may be able to continue coverage under some of the benefit options. You will receive information from PowerLine, CNA and the ABC Service Center that explains what coverage you can continue, who can continue to be covered and what you must do to continue your coverage.
Any missed healthcare premiums must be paid before COBRA coverage begins unless you terminate employment due to a disability that was the reason for a leave of absence under FMLA.
If you work at a Company unit that has at least 50 Associates within a 75-mile radius of a Company unit and had at least 1,250 hours of service over the previous rolling 12-month period (unless otherwise required by law), you may be eligible for FMLA.
Can I make changes to my healthcare coverage if I am on leave?
A leave of absence is not a qualified change in status since you do not lose coverage, so you cannot change your coverage election due to a leave. If another qualifying event occurs while you are on a leave, you can call PowerLine and the ABC Service Center to change your coverage level (for example, to add coverage for a newborn or drop coverage for a deceased spouse/DP).
Key Terms:
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – A period of time while you are not working due to specified circumstances during which you are guaranteed benefits and re-employment rights under federal and/orstate laws.
Some Personal Leaves for the care of a spouse, child or parent may qualify for FMLA protections.
  • Spouse – The individual to whom you are legally married under the laws of your home state.
  • Child – Biological, adopted or a foster child, step child, legal ward or child of an Associate where the Associate is in loco parentis (in charge of and has rights and responsibilities over the child acting in place of a parent), who is under age 18 or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.
  • Parent – A biological parent of an Associate or an individual who was in loco parentis (was in charge of and had rights and responsibilities over) an Associate when the Associate was a son or daughter.
  • Some state laws also provide FMLA protection for the care of a Partner or other family member with a serious health condition.
Example: An injury or illness causes you, a non-management Associate, to be off work for an extended period of time and FMLA is approved. The leave would work like this:
Period of Absence
Source of Pay (if any)
Week 1
My Time Off (MTO)
Days 1 - 7 paid from MTO
Weeks 2 through 4
Illness Recovery Time (IRT)
Days 8 - 30 paid from IRT, if approved
Week 5
My Time Off (MTO)
Days 31 - 38 paid from remaining MTO hours
Weeks 6 through 12
Unpaid leave for these weeks
Weeks 2 through 12 would be considered FMLA since paid time off and FMLA run concurrently.