Family & Medical Leave Act

MIT is committed to supporting employees during times when they may need to be away from work due to a life event or medical emergency. 

This website is designed to help employees and managers understand how leave provided under the Family and Medical Leave Act is coordinated with other MIT leave policies.

What Employees and Managers Can Do

Employees can request a leave, and managers may approve or deny a leave request. Learn more about the leave process, or explore the various types of leave below.

What is FMLA?

This information summarizes the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For a full description of MIT's FMLA leave policy, please refer to the MIT Employment Policy Manual.

The Family and Medical Leave Act was enacted in 1993 and amended in 2008 to help employees balance the demands of work and family, and to care for their own and their families’ medical problems, without risking their jobs.

Eligible employees may take unpaid job-protected and benefit-protected leave for any of the following reasons:

  • an employee's own serious health condition (including conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth);
  • the birth and care of the employee's newborn child (leave must be completed within 12 months of the date of birth);
  • placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care (leave must be completed within 12 months of the date of placement);
  • the serious health condition of the employee's child, parent, spouse, or partner, requiring the employee's participation in care
  • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse/partner, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in support of a contingency operation; or
  • to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the spouse/partner, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the servicemember.

Frequently Asked Questions about FMLA

Who is eligible? 

Regular full-time or part-time employees who are working 50% or more of a normal work week, AND who have been employed by the Institute for a least one year. FMLA is reviewed by the MIT Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office (DSMLO). FMLA is triggered after 5 consecutive days of absence or for a chronic condition with less than 5 days. 

Employees must complete a Leave of Absence Request Form and an employee’s treating physician, nurse practitioner, or certified nurse midwife must complete a medical certification form for paid leave if available, and return it to the DSMLO.

How much leave may an employee take?

Eligible employees are entitled to leave of up to 12 weeks in a 12-month period, except for those eligible employees caring for a covered service member who are entitled to leave of up to 26 weeks.

MIT has adopted the “rolling” 12-month period, measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. Under the ‘‘rolling’’ 12-month period, each time an employee takes FMLA leave, the remaining leave entitlement would be the balance of the 12 weeks which has not been used during the immediately preceding 12 months.  

What is the FMLA’s relationship to unpaid leave?

FMLA leave is generally unpaid leave. However, MIT requires that paid sick leave be used in accordance with MIT sick leave policy during the duration of the employee’s serious health condition

How much advance notice must the employee provide?

Employees are required to give at least 30 days advance notice for leaves that are foreseeable. For unforeseeable leave, the employee must provide notice as soon as is practicable.

What are the different types of leave schedules?

Leave may be taken on an intermittent basis or reduced schedule only when medically necessary. Leaves taken for purposes of birth, adoption or foster care must be taken in continuous periods and within 12 months of the date of birth or placement.

What is a serious health condition entitling employee to FMLA leave?

The term "serious health condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves (A) inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or (B) continuing treatment by a health care provider. Note: The common cold, ear aches, minor upset stomach, ulcers, headaches other than migraine, routine dental or orthodontic problems, periodontal disease, etc., are examples of conditions that may not meet the definition of a serious health condition and may not qualify for FMLA leave. 

What medical certifications are needed?

An employee's leave to care for the employee's own serious health condition or that of a seriously ill family member (child, parent, spouse, or partner) must be supported by a medical certification issued by a healthcare provider. Certification must be furnished prior to the beginning of leave. Failure to provide requested medical certification forms in a timely manner may result in the delay or denial of FMLA leave.

Note: The definition of health care provider for unpaid FMLA leave is different from MIT's paid sick leave policy. To receive paid leave benefits under MIT sick leave policy, the employee must provide a medical certification completed and signed by a legally qualified physician.

What happens to employee benefits during a leave period?

Upon return from leave, the employee will be reinstated to the same or equivalent job with the same pay, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment.

Employees on an unpaid leave status must contact MIT Benefits to make arrangements to pay insurance premiums. See a summary of benefits while on unpaid leave.

Have Questions or Need Help?

See an overview of leaves, learn more about the leave process, or contact the MIT Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office (DSMLO).