University Policies
Policy Contact
Leave and Accommodation Manager Email 401-863-7594

Family Medical Leave Act and Rhode Island Parental and Family Medical Leave

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date

1.0 Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to inform employees about their rights and responsibilities under federal and state leave laws.

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

Employees who have worked at least twelve months and at least 1250 hours within the previous twelve months are eligible for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  

Employees who have worked at least twelve consecutive months and at least an average of thirty hours weekly are eligible for leave under the Rhode Island Parental and Family Medical Leave (RIPFML). Employees whose primary work state is not Rhode Island may be eligible for a leave of absence according to the laws of their primary work state. Please contact University Human Resources for more information.

3.0 Policy Statement

Employees who meet eligibility requirements under FMLA or RIPFML can request an unpaid leave for certain family or medical reasons that guarantees job security.

3.1 Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Employees can be absent from work up to twelve work weeks over a twelve-month period.

Employees can request leave under FMLA for the following reasons:

  • The birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child within one year of the child’s birth or placement
  • To care for an employee's spouse, child, or parent who has a qualified serious health condition
  • For an employee’s own qualifying serious health condition that makes an employee unable to perform their job
  • A qualifying situation that arises when an employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on "covered active duty"
  • To care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if an employee is the service member's spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave)

When it is medically necessary, an employee can request leave intermittently or a reduced work schedule under the FMLA. Intermittent leave is taken in separate blocks of time for a single qualifying reason. Intermittent leave can also be offered by establishing a reduced weekly or daily work schedule. When  a planned medical treatment is necessary, an employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment to minimize disruptions to administrative or  academic operation.

An employee on an approved FMLA leave is entitled to continue group health insurance coverage on the same terms as if they had continued to work. An employee returning from FMLA leave must be returned to their original or an equivalent job.

3.2 Rhode Island Parental and Family Medical Leave (RIPFML)

Eligible employees may take up to thirteen work weeks of leave in a consecutive 24-month period.

Eligible employees may request leave under RIPFML for the following reasons:

  1. The birth, adoption or foster placement of an employee’s child
  2. To care for an employee's spouse, qualifying domestic partner, parent, child, or parent-in-law with a serious illness
  3. An employee’s own qualifying serious illness that makes an employee unable to perform their job;
  4. To attend a child's qualifying school activities (Note: this leave is limited to ten hours in a twelve- month period)

An employee on an approved leave under RIPFML is entitled to the continuation of group health insurance coverage on the same terms as if they had continued to work. Upon the expiration of leave under the RIPFML, an employee is entitled to return to the same or equivalent job. 

4.0 Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the terms below have the following definitions:

Serious Health Condition:

Under the FMLA, this is as an illness, injury, impairment, or a physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider.

Serious Illness:

Under the RIPFML, this is a disabling physical or mental illness, injury, impairment or condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, nursing home or hospice, or outpatient care requiring continuous treatment or supervision by a healthcare provider.

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy. University supervisors and employees with student oversight duties are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure and enforce compliance with it.


    An employee requesting leave must do so at least thirty days in advance of the leave start date when the leave is foreseeable. Additional responsibilities include:

    • An employee is required to formally initiate a leave request.
    • An employee must provide a sufficiently completed Certification of Healthcare Provider form to University Human Resources.
    • An employee is required to provide an expected return to work date. In instances when a return to work date is unknown, the employee should work with his/her healthcare provider and use a best estimate based on medical need or until the next appointment with the healthcare provider. This date may be changed as circumstances and information make the return to work date clearer.
    • When returning from a medical leave, the employee must also provide a return to work note from the employee's healthcare provider to the supervisor prior to or at the time of return.
    • If an employee fails to properly notify Brown University of the need for leave, provide timely and sufficient medical certification, or properly keep the department notified of his or her expected return to work date or need for additional leave, the FMLA/RIPFML designation may be withdrawn.
    • The employee requesting leave is responsible for meeting the requirements of taking a leave and keeping respective parties up to date on any changes to his or her leave status.

    The employee's supervisor should request a leave of absence on behalf of the employee in those rare circumstances when an employee is unable to request leave through Workday (such as a medical emergency requiring hospitalization).

    • The supervisor must approve the leave in Workday.
    • The supervisor must receive a return to work note from the employee's healthcare provider prior to or at the time of the employee's return to work, if the leave was for the employee's own medical condition.
    University Human Resources:

    Review the leave request and notify the employee and supervisor whether the leave meets the requirements of this policy, including the documentation requirements.

    • Perform the administrative duties required during the leave, for example, requesting updated medical information from the employee.
    • Notify the employee and supervisor when the leave ends due to the maximum duration or any other reason such as a change in the leave status.

    6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy

    Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable (e.g., staff, faculty, student) disciplinary procedures. 

    7.0 Related Information

    This policy is not a legal document. This policy does not confer a term of employment, nor is the language intended to establish a contract of employment, express or implied, between any employee and Brown University. The University reserves the right to change, amend or terminate any of its human resources policies at any time for any reason.

    Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with University leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone (877-318-9184).

    Upon the exhaustion of job protected time under applicable state and federal leave laws, employees unable to return to work as a result of a disability may be considered for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws and requirements.

    7.4 Frequently Asked Questions


    7.5 Other Related Information


    Policy Owner and Contact(s)

    Policy Owner: Vice President for University Human Resources

    Policy Approved by: Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

    Contact Information:

    Leave and Accommodation Manager Email 401-863-7594

    Policy History

    Policy Issue Date:

    Policy Effective Date:

    Policy Update/Review Summary:

    Updated Section 2.0 to contact UHR for additional information.

    Previous policy versions superseded by this policy:

    • Family Medical Leave Act and Rhode Island Parental and Family Medical Leave, Effective Date: November 15, 2020
    • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)/Rhode Island Parental Family and Medical Leave (RIPFML) (20.043); Revision Date: December 16, 2019