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I may not qualify for FMLA Illinois

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  • I may not qualify for FMLA Illinois

    My baby is due january 15 and I qualify for FMLA on January 12, if my baby comes early my human resourse department told me that I would get the standard 6 weeks leave to keep my job, which i was like ok. Then they told me that if i wanted to keep my insurance though i would have to come back after 4 weeks out of those 6 weeks since i only have 4 weeks of vacation time saved up. So I asked what if I want the full 6 weeks off. They told me that i would loose my insurance and have to pay cobra till open enrollement in november. Is this legeal? I am a school teacher in illinois.

  • #2
    Are you a Full Time teacher? Were you a FT teacher last year as well? I ask for a reason.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Yes I am full time paraprofessional. I started working at this school November 2008 as a full time paraprofessional. From then to March 2008 i took a total of 8 days off due to a scheduled leave that i had planned prior to employement. Since then I have not taken any days off. Only what the school has given us due to holidays and teacher institutes.

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      • #4
        OK, that changes things. We will start with federal law. That is easier. Did you work at least 1250 hours last year? This does not count holidays, the 8 vacation days, snow days, or other paid days you were not actually present and working? In my district, under the conditions you describe, you would nt have but every district has slightly different numbers of days Parapros work and number of hours worked in a day.

        If the answer to that question is yes, then you are going to have to explain why FMLA doesn't kick in until January 12. If you started in November of 2008 you would meet the 1 year requirement on your anniversary date in November 2009. Is there something I'm missing here?

        Second and much more tricky, does your district have a union or internal policy regarding leave? If you qualify for FMLA, you get FMLA but if there is an union policy that is more generous, the CBA must be followed as well.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          according to my HR department I did reach the 1 year working there but I dont reach 1250hrs until January 12 at 3pm due to snow days, holidays, and vacation time i used. And your supposed to have both they told me.

          We do have a teachers union but i am not sure what CBA is.

          My other question is if i dont reach the FMLA I am supposed to get 6 weeks right and keep my job and inusrance, right? they are telling me yes for 6 weeks but only 4 weeks for my insurance. So i would have to be back at work after 4 weeks to keep insurance if I dont make FMLA.

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          • #6
            CBA- union agreement. Are you in the union (rare for Parapros but possible)?

            Here is the deal, you don't qualify for FMLA once you have worked 1250 hours total across your entire tenure, the 1250 hours would have to be worked in the past year. It doesn't sound like you meet that requirement. What this sounds like is that your district has an internal policy which grants FMLA like benefits once certain criteria are met. This is very common with school systems. If you go out after January 12, you meet those criteria and if you go out before that, you do not. That is legal.

            You are going to have to look to the district's policy on this one. If 6 weeks of job protected leave is all you get, then that is all you get. If you are responsible for the full premium for health insurance after 4 weeks, then that is what you get.

            I would double check on the COBRA until next November bit as once you return to full time status, that would be a qualifying event and you should be able to resume as you were. Now if there is a waiting period after going off benefits that resets after unpaid leave, you would still have to wait the waiting period. It depends upon how your policy is written.
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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            • #7
              According to my HR i do qualify for FMLA on January 12. They will give me 6 weeks off if i dont qualify but after 4 weeks i would loose my insurance and go to COBRA. But since COBRA is so high i would not be able to pay COBRA till open enrollement in November. So according to you this is legeal I guess if baby comes early I am only taking 4 weeks off. Thank you for all your help.

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              • #8
                Elle,

                Does the fact that she becomes FMLA eligible while on leave matter in school district FMLA?

                I know it is slightly different than normal FMLA, but if she weren't term'd before the 12th, wouldn't see be eligible as of that day and get the full 12 weeks (since she met 1250 hours and has a year of service) after that point?


                "The determination of whether an employee has worked for the employer for at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months and has been employed by the employer for a total of at least 12 months must be made as of the date the FMLA leave is to start. An employee may be on "non-FMLA leave" at the time he or she meets the eligibility requirements, and in that event, any portion of the leave taken for an FMLA-qualifying reason after the employee meets the eligibility requirement would be "FMLA leave."
                from http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/Title_...CFR825.110.htm

                Or does that mean she wasn't eligible at the start, doesn't get the protection of FMLA, but gets that time counted as FMLA?
                Last edited by hr for me; 12-30-2009, 11:45 AM.

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                • #9
                  http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/ESA/Ti...CFR825.600.htm
                  Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                  Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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                  • #10
                    If an employee does not qualify for FMLA at the start of their leave but later during the course of that leave becomes eligible, then that employee at the time they become eligible get FMLA. *Note that if you are reading this after the date I post this, this information may be slightly inaccurate as there is currently a case working its way through the courts which would potentially allow employers to count time taken prior to meeting the minimum qualifications for FMLA toward the 12 weeks. That isn't what we are dealing with here though.

                    In this case, it sounds like the employee will not have worked 1250 in the past year but rather by January 12 will have worked 1250 since being hired. This is not the criteria for qualifying for federal FMLA. Teachers have a different set of criteria but Parapros are treated just like any other non-school system employee.

                    Just calling it FMLA does not mean it is federal FMLA with all the protections and rules that entails. If under the district's own version of FMLA-esque leave, anyone who has worked 1250 ever qualifies for a certain amount of leave, then that is the way it is.

                    As for the COBRA issue, it depends how the plan operates. If those on unpaid leave are offered COBRA (legal), then that can be done here as well. However, once the employee returns and is working in a capacity for which they would otherwise be entitled to health benefits, they should be offered those benefits. For some reason I will never fully understand other than, "it has always been that way", it is very common for Parapros to have a waiting period before benefits kick in, if they are ever even eligible. If someone goes on COBRA then returns to work at the same place, they very well may be required to satisfy the waiting period all over again.

                    Example, my district's waiting period is 2 years for Parapros (not my idea). If we have one go on unpaid leave and or quit and later return to us, they would need to wait another 2 years before they would be eligible to sign up again as an active employee.
                    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Elle!

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