The Family Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law which helps employees balance their work responsibilities with their family and medical needs.  The Act sets national standards for employers when providing leave for such purposes. The Act requires that eligible employees be allowed to take job-protected unpaid leave, or substitute appropriate paid leave if the employee has earned it, for up to a total of 12 work weeks during a 12-month period for a family or personal serious health condition which qualifies under FMLA, or a combined total of 26 weeks during a single 12-month period if a service member family leave is taken. WSU is a covered employer under the Act. 

It was intended that the Act accomplish these purposes in a manner that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers.

WSU’s FMLA leave policy is set forth in Section 3.4.5. of the APPM. It does not alter, amend or diminish any leave provisions that may be provided by any Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) entered into by WSU.  WSU will provide leave under and according to whichever statutory provision or CBA provides the greater rights to its employees.

Employees are entitled to FMLA leave under the following situations:

  1. For the birth and care of a newborn child of the employee, anytime within the first 12 months of the birth of the child.
  2. For the placement of a child for adoption or foster care with the employee, anytime within the first 12 months of the placement of the child.
  3. To care for an employee’s spouse/eligible partner, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition.
  4. Because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his/her job.
  5. Because of a qualifying exigency relating to a family member’s active military duty or call to active duty status as a member of the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation.
  6. For military caregiver leave related to care of a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a current covered service member who has, or is recuperating from, a serious illness or injury incurred in military service that renders the service member medically unfit to perform the duties of his or her office, grade, rank or rating. 

FMLASource, a third party administrator (TPA) administers WSU's FMLA policy in accordance with the provisions of the APPM and the applicable provisions of any CBA in effect with WSU.  In all instances relating to administering this policy, the TPA acts as the designated representative of WSU. 

Full details of FMLA, relevant definitions, and the Department of Labor (DOL) regulations can be found at the TPA’s website,, or at

Any employee needing to take a FMLA Leave of Absence should contact the Department of Human Resources, Employment Service Center, at 577-2010.


-- updated April, 2011