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Your rights and responsibilities

The Federal Family Medical Leave Act and the King County Family Medical Leave ordinance provide qualified employees with job protection during a medical leave of absence.  Under FMLA/KCFML, you are entitled to a leave of absence for your own or a qualifying family member’s serious health condition.

To qualify:  For FMLA leave, you must have 12 months employment with King County and have worked 1250 hours in the past 12 months. For KCFML, you must have 12 months of employment with King County, have worked 1040 hours in the past 12 months. You or a qualifying family member must have a serious health condition.  For both FMLA/KCFML, any hours used in the prior 12 months must be subtracted from your current balance.  You must submit the FMLA Leave Request form and the doctor must submit the FMLA Medical Certification form as soon as you learn the need for the leave or 30 days in advance of a planned leave.

You may also be eligible for FMLA, KCFML or leave under the Washington Family Leave Act, the Washington Family Care Act to care for a newborn child, a newly adopted child or a sick minor child.  A medical certification form is not needed for this type of leave.

Some factors to consider about FMLA or KCFML leave include:

  • It shall be the “employee’s responsibility to notify the Department when submitting their required Leave Request forms if the leave is a Family Medical Leave qualifying event”. This means that when you have been certified for leave under FMLA or KCFML that you must check the "serious health condition" box on section 4 of the absence request form and note if the absence is for yourself or family member. If its for a family member then please also write the relationship in the appropriate line.

  • You have job-protection rights, which means that being in a no-pay status for this condition is not subject to discipline if you are within a qualifying FMLA/KCFML leave before the time period and your hours run out.

  • You receive your medical, dental, and vision benefits during your certified leave. When in a no pay status, you can choose to purchase your life, accidental death and dismemberment and/or long term disability insurances by contacting Benefits at 206-684-1556.

  • You can use vacation, holiday and compensation leave, even if the leave slots are not available on the schedule. 

  • FMLA and KCFML begins immediately upon certification of your leave as qualifying for FMLA/KCFML. 
     
  • You have several elections as to how to use your leave – these are outlined on the FMLA/KCFML form (self, family member or for a workers' compensation claim). 
  • Once you have made leave elections, they will be followed. They can only be adjusted via written notification.

Per the King County Personnel Guidelines, if you are in a no pay status greater than 30 days, the entire time you are in a no pay status you are not accruing seniority (union or King County) or service credits.  The only exception to this is if the leave is for a work-related injury/illness, then you continue to accrue seniority.

Benefits while in a leave without pay status:  If your leave is 31 days or more, your county coverage may end the first day of the month after your leave without pay (LWOP) began.