The University Record, May 24, 1993

Many U policies go beyond requirements of new Family and Medical Leave Act

The new federal Family and Medical Leave Act “will be a great opportunity to highlight the University’s role as the employer of choice,” says Leslie de Pietro, coordinator of the Family Care Resources Program and chair of the University’s Family and Medical Leave Act Task Force.

“It will give us a chance to highlight how many of our existing policies already go beyond the requirements in the new law and allow us an opportunity to evaluate our practices in light of an increasingly diverse workforce,” de Pietro notes.

The 14-member task force is looking into how the federal law will be incorporated into University policy and practices. The law takes effect Aug. 5, except for bargained-for employees, which will be determined by new contract dates.

De Pietro says the committee will not recommend the University offer less leave than employees already enjoy.

Task force recommendations are to be forwarded by the end of the month to Laurita Thomas, assistant personnel director for employment throughout the University. She plans to have new guidelines ready for managers and supervisors by the end of July.

The Family and Medical Leave Act, which will cover full- and part-time workers, will permit employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a serious health condition involving themselves, their child or foster child, a parent, or a spouse or partner. Medical certification may be required.

It will also allow employees to take intermittent unpaid leaves, including working a reduced work week or shorter days, under specific guidelines or restrictions.

The University will continue paying its portion of health care premiums for up to 12 weeks for employees who have worked at the U-M at least 12 months. Employees will be expected to pay their portion of the premium.

The U-M’s current Medical/Child Care Leave policy allows up to six months of unpaid leave for childbirth or adoption and a possible extension of up to six months. Under the new law, leaves for foster care placement also will be allowed.

The task force welcomes questions and comments on the Family and Medical Leave Act and its implications for the University. Call de Pietro at 998-6133.

Other task force members are Jean M. Casey, director of Housing Dining Services, Residence Operations; Martha M. Eichstadt, assistant manager, Benefits Office; Nancy A. Kelly, personnel representative, Medical Campus Human Resources; Susan G. MacDavitt, manager, Faculty and Staff Records; Cheryl L. Reed, administrative associate, Financial Operations; Philip A. Smith, manager of employment and staff development, Schools, Colleges, Institutes and Libraries Service Center; Lucy R. Cohen, administrative manager, University Library; Marc Halman, administrator, Radiation Oncology; Carol A. Lutz, personnel representative, U-M-Flint Personnel; Paul E. McGrath, director of business and finance, School of Dentistry; Wendy N. Powell, personnel representative, Administrative Services Personnel Office Service Center; Kimberly A. Schafer, patient unit services supervisor, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital; Jean Watson, U-M-Dearborn Personnel; Norel C. Tullier, manager, Payroll.