Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
FMLA is available for your own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a family member. You are eligible for FMLA after you have been in federal government service for one year.
If you meet those conditions then you are eligible for up to 12 weeks (480 hours) of leave without pay (LWOP) during a 12 month period. This time is pro-rated for part-time employees.
You will need to provide medical documentation from your health care provider (usually not required for females for pregnancy). The form can be found here: http://www.dol.gov/regs/compliance/whd/fmla/wh380.pdf
If you are eligible for FMLA, you can submit a request for LWOP under FMLA to your SPE or first line supervisor. There is no form for that, you can do it by email. Definitely do it in writing. At that time you should let your supervisor know if you are taking 12 weeks off or using the time off intermittently (make sure your medical documentation supports your request).
Even though you will need to provide medical documentation, you can start FMLA as soon as you need to while waiting to receive the medical documentation. You should be given 15 days to obtain and submit the medical documentation. If the 15 days is not sufficient and you are making progress in getting the medical documentation then you can ask for an extension up to 30 days from the first request for FMLA.
Once you get the medical documentation from your doctor you should submit that to your supervisor along with a request for LWOP under FMLA (invoking FMLA) if you have not previously started taking FMLA LWOP.
LWOP under FMLA should be requested as you request annual leave, i.e., request before using, don’t just take the time off without informing your supervisor and put it on your WebTA.
Your health benefits will continue while you are on FMLA, even if you have no pay in a given biweek. They will have you catch-up on your premiums when you receive pay again.
You do not need to exhaust all of your annual leave, sick leave, compensatory time or credit hours before being granted FMLA LWOP.
Taking LWOP can affect the timing of promotions. It depends on the amount of LWOP you need to take.
You will continue to accrue annual leave and sick leave as usual until you reach 80 hours of LWOP. Once you accumulate 80 hours of LWOP, or any multiple of 80, you will not accrue any annual leave or sick leave for that biweek.
FMLA is also available for family members of injured service members.