A common family and medical leave (FML) question is whether a 10-month employee who has a baby late in the spring or over the summer can take family and medical leave (FML) at the beginning of the school year to bond with the baby.
Leave to care for a child following birth or placement for adoption or foster care is a qualifying FML event. This type of FML doesn’t have to be scheduled immediately following the event but may occur anytime in the 12 months following the date of birth, adoption, or placement.
If the event occurs during the summer, parents may take FML at the beginning of the school year as long as they meet the eligibility tests (i.e., months employed and hours worked) and have not used all of their FML entitlement for the year. For example, if the district’s FML year is July 1–June 30, a parent would be entitled to take up to 12 weeks prior to the baby’s first birthday or one-year anniversary of adoption or foster placement.
If the event occurs late in the spring, an employee may take leave to recover from birth at the end of the school year and take bonding leave at the beginning of the following school year. In cases where the baby bonding year (the 12 months following the birth of the child) and the district’s FML entitlement year do not match (See DEC (LOCAL)), the employee may be able to take leave to bond with a healthy child in more than one FML year. The key is to check an individual’s eligibility criteria at the beginning of the duty or FML year.
Policy & Procedure Limitations
Policy DEC (LOCAL) and administrative regulations or procedures may include provisions that impact the amount and scheduling of FML. These include:
- Limiting the use of bonding leave to a combined 12 weeks if the parents are married and both work for the district (see DEC (LOCAL))
- Prohibiting use of intermittent or reduced schedule leave for bonding which would require bonding leave to be taken as one continuous block of time
For more information, check out the HR Library topic, FAQs—Family Medical Leave for Birth or Placement of a Child (member login required).
April Mabry oversees HR Services training services, member library products, and the HRX newsletter. She has provided HR training and guidance to Texas public schools since 1991. Mabry was a classroom teacher for 11 years in Texas and Michigan.
Mabry has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan and certification as a professional in human resources (PHR) and is a SHRM-CP.
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