Family Medical Leave

Responsible office
Human Resources
Responsible party
Vice President for People and Workplace Culture
Last revision
June 2023
Approved by
The Cabinet
Approval date
May 2023
Effective date
June 2023
Last review
June 2023
Additional references
Federal Family Medical Leave Act, Colorado Family Care Act, National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 and 2010


All financial and administrative policies involving community members across campus, including volunteers are within the scope of this policy. If there is a variance between departmental expectations and the common approach described through college policy, the college will look to the campus community, including volunteers to support the spirit and the objectives of college policy. Unless specifically mentioned in a college policy, the college’s Board of Trustees are governed by their Bylaws.



In accordance with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, employees are provided unpaid family and medical leave (FML).  To be eligible, one must have worked at the college for at least 12 months and a minimum of 1,250 hours during the year preceding the beginning of the leave.  FMLA leaves of absence will be granted for the following reasons:

  • For employee’s own qualifying serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform their own job (this could include gender transition-related care that meets the serious health condition definition),
  • For the birth of a child and to bond with the child within one year of birth or placement in cases of adoption or foster care,
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a qualifying serious health condition,
  • For qualifying exigencies related to the foreign deployment of a military member who is the employee’s spouse, child, or parent,
  • To care for a qualified service member with a serious injury or illness who is the employee’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin (this leave may be up to 26 weeks in a single 12-month period).

Colorado College provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees to care for their partners in a civil union or domestic partnership who have serious health conditions, in accordance with requirements of the Colorado Family Care Act (FCA).  Generally, leave under the Colorado Family Care Act is administered consistent with FMLA regulation and will follow these same procedures.

Any request for FML based on a serious health condition (requiring an absence of three or more consecutive days, treatment of two or more times, or a regimen of continuing treatment), whether it involves the employee or a family member, must be supported by the appropriate medical certification.  Recertification by a health practitioner will be required if there is a change in the initial request for leave.  In all cases of leave for serious health conditions of the employee, the college may request other medical opinions at the college's expense. 

Requests for military and family leave will require the employee to submit specific documentations and certifications identified by the FMLA regulations.  Documentation confirming family relationship, adoption, or foster care may be required. 

Length of Leave

Employees may be granted FML for a period of up to 12 weeks per year (a 12-month period measured backward from the date leave was last used).  The college will review 12 months from the date of the FML request, add all FMLA time the employee has used during the previous 12 months and subtract that total from the employee's 12-week leave allotment.

When both spouses/civil union or domestic partners work for the college, they are limited to a combined total of 12 weeks for birth or placement of a child or the care of a parent with a serious health condition. If the leave is necessitated by the serious health condition of the employee, spouse, civil union or domestic partner, or child, this combined limitation does not apply.

Military leave entitlements are up to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid leave during a single 12-month period to care for a service member or veteran. 

Reduced work schedule/intermittent leave 

Although most leaves will be taken in a single block of time, in certain medically necessary circumstances (e.g., care of a sick family member, medical appointments, mental health appointments, chemotherapy, recovery periods), the employee may be permitted to work reduced schedules or take their leave in separate blocks of time.  This time off will be treated in the same manner as other FML.  In these special cases, the college may explore options to transfer the employee to another position with equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates the employee’s periods of leave.  Only the time actually taken will be charged against the employee’s FML entitlement.

Substituting paid leave 

Paid leave shall be used during the 12 weeks of FML and 26 weeks of military caregiver leave if it is available.  In some cases, employees may be required to use all earned paid vacation, sick leave and supplemental sick leave during FML. 

Benefits during FMLA leave 

Employees on FML will receive the same benefits during the leave they received before the leave with the exception of benefits based on pay during a period of unpaid FML.  Employees on unpaid FML will be required to pay their share of benefits premiums through the college’s COBRA vendor.  In the event that an employee is able but does not return from FML, or returns but stays less than 30 days, the employee will be obligated to reimburse the premiums paid by the college to maintain the insurance coverage during the leave.

Vacation and sick-leave benefits will not accrue during unpaid FML.  However, seniority and years of service will not be affected.

Return from leave

An employee returning from FML will be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position.  If an employee was on medical leave, medical certification will be required verifying the ability to return to work.  Failure to return to work after the expiration of the leave may result in termination of employment.




By Whom

Time period

Request FML paperwork from the HR office as soon as you become aware of need for leave (30 days before leave if possible)

Employee requests from Benefits Manager

When need is known – within 30 days of leave if possible

HR provides FML paperwork

Benefits Manager

Within 5 business days or receipt of request

Employee returns completed ‘Leave of Absence Request’ form and forwards medical documentation to medical provider. Medical Provider faxes medical documentation to HR at 719-389-6926

Employee and Employee’s medical provider

Within 15 calendar days of receipt of forms

Employer prepares notification of acceptance/denial

Benefits Manager

Within 5 business days of receipt of medical documentation

Employees must give their supervisors and HR advance notice as soon as need is known, within 30 days of leave if possible, unless unforeseen events occur; then notice must be given as soon as practicable.  Employees requesting leave must complete a ‘Leave of Absence Request’ form and provide appropriate documentation, as may be requested, to verify the need for the leave, including the reasons for the leave, the start date of the leave, and the planned return-to-work date (see chart above for timelines).  Medical documentation form varies based on reason for request and will be provided to employee by HR.


Serious Health Condition – an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider. 

Child – a biological, adopted, or foster child; a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis under the age of 18.  A child is also an individual who is 18 years or older and meets this definition but is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

Parent – biological, adoptive, step, or foster parent or someone who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a child (but not a parent-in-law).

In loco parentis – a relationship in which a person puts themselves in the situation of a parent by assuming and discharging the obligations of a parent to a child; the person assumes day-to-day responsibilities to care for and/or financially support a child.

Spouse – husband or wife as defined or recognized in the state where the individual was married and includes individuals in a same-sex marriage or common law marriage. 

Civil Union and Domestic Partners are covered under the Colorado Family Care Act with protection mirroring FMLA.  A Civil Union or Domestic Partner is a partner with whom an employee has executed a Civil Union or Domestic Partner agreement.   

Service Members Next of Kin – Service member’s nearest blood relative, other than the covered service member’s spouse, parent, son, or daughter in the following priority order:  blood relatives who have legal custody of the service member, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, first cousins, unless the covered service member has specifically designated in writing another blood relative as their nearest blood relative for purposes of the military caregiver leave under FMLA.

A full set of FMLA Fact Sheets is available at:

For employees who have a spouse/domestic partner working for CC, this one might be helpful:

  • Leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for Spouses Working for the Same Employer – Fact Sheet #28L:

For eligible employees requesting FMLA related to exigency leave or service member caregiver leave, these two might be particularly helpful:

Report an issue - Last updated: 06/06/2023