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Jan Kunkel Various Temporary Assignments

FMLA (Family & Medical Leave)


The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave.

FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunity for men and women.

FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. These employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:

  • for the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;
  • for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
  • to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. Whether an employee has worked the minimum 1,250 hours of service is determined according to FLSA principles for determining compensable hours or work.

Time taken off work due to pregnancy complications can be counted against the 12 weeks of family and medical leave.

A final rule effective on January 16, 2009, updates the FMLA regulations to implement new military family leave entitlements enacted under the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008.

Special rules apply to employees of local education agencies. The Department of Labor administers FMLA; however, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) administers FMLA for most federal employees.

If you have questions or need to file for FMLA please contact Rosanne Kunkle in Human Resources at 610-495-5200 ext 250.

By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
    A slow, but steady post-recession decline in student population has community colleges around Illinois exploring avenues to rebuild headcount.
    An improving economy, it appears, is putting workers back in the job market — and taking them away from school campuses, causing administrators to rethink their program offerings.
    Statewide, enrollment is way down from the 372,566 fall enrollment of 2011 when America began climbing out of its economic malaise. As of Fall 2015, that number stood at 317,192, a decline of 55,374 or 14.8 percent over four years, according to the Illinois Community College Board.
    In the current fall enrollment, only 12 of 39 community college systems in Illinois gained students. Lewis and Clark Community College, based in Godfrey, was one of the 12.
    “We are 0.9 percent up compared to last fall,” said Kent Scheffel, vice president of enrollment services at LCCC. “In Illinois, the state average was a 5.6 percent drop, so we feel real good about a 0.9 percent (increase),” he said.
    LCCC’s fall enrollment is 7,971, some 68 more students than last fall.
    The region’s other community college, Southwestern Illinois College, based in Belleville, lost 22.2 percent of its student headcount since Fall 2011 — from 12,779 to the current 9,943. The decline in the past year was 5.7 percent.
    SWIC declined to comment for this story, but colleges in general have been addressing the same situation.
    “The economy has made a difference,” Scheffel said. “We’ve seen a drop in the number of 25- to 49-year-old students, and we attribute that to individuals who are finding jobs. That’s not good for us, but it’s still good news. It’s a plus for the region. We’re happy to see them go back to work, and it just means we have to work a little harder on our end to keep our numbers up.”
    Lewis and Clark is actively looking into new programs to tap into change. One is to establish a maritime institute, which would train such professions as barge pilots and deckhands.
    “There are going to be a lot of retirements in the barge industry, and we were approached about creating a program. We are in an ideal location for it obviously,” Scheffel said.
    The board has already approved the idea, but the program is still some time from being established.
    “We’d still have to buy equipment and that sort of thing and still go through the necessary steps with the Illinois Community College Board,” Scheffel said.
    LCCC in some ways is still riding a crest its enjoyed for two decades. Its student headcount has gone up in 19 of the last 20 years, with last year being the one exception — a large exception — when it declined 617 students. The headcount since Fall 2011 is down by 5.7 percent (8,451 to the current 7,971).
    In Illinois, only one community college system has more students today than it had in 2011 — that being the College of DuPage. However, it lost students this fall, down 2.2 percent year over year.
    In a survey conducted as part of the recent fall enrollment count by the Illinois Community College Board, most colleges attributed the decline to the workforce trend.
    Lewis and Clark has managed to keep pace by implementing several programs, including the new 5,000-square-foot St. Louis Confluence Fab Lab opened this November at the Historic N.O. Nelson Complex in Edwardsville. There, students are offered 3D printing, CNC, metalworking, welding, wood/plastic working, clean manufacturing, design, finishing and electronics.
    “It’s modeled after the fabrication labs offered by (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). In fact, there was an MIT representative who provided comments at the grand opening,” Scheffel said. “Somebody who has an idea for an invention can put the whole idea into place and develop a prototype.”

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