Military Caregiver Leave

Purpose

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), staff members and instructional faculty members can request a Military Caregiver Leave to care for a military service member who is the staff/faculty member's spouse, domestic partner/civil union partner, child or parent with a serious illness or injury incurred in the line of active duty as a member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard or Reserves, and is:

  • Undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy
  • Assigned as an outpatient to a military medical treatment facility
  • Assigned to a unit providing command and control of Armed Forces' members who are receiving outpatient medical care, or
  • On the temporary disability retired list.

Provisions

If the Military Caregiver Leave is approved, the University will grant up to 26 weeks of leave during a single, 12-month period to eligible staff members to care for the service member in their family as described above. Staff members who do not take all 26 weeks of leave during the single, 12-month period will forfeit the remaining part of the leave.

How to Apply for Military Caregiver Leave

Staff members and instructional faculty members are expected to contact The Hartford a minimum of 30 days prior to the start of a Military Caregiver Leave.

Benefits While on Military Caregiver Leave

A staff member or instructional faculty member on a Military Caregiver Leave to care for a family member may use Incidental Sick Time, personal floating holidays, and vacation time as available, but must exhaust all applicable paid time off before taking an unpaid leave. A staff member or instructional faculty member on an FMLA Leave also may continue certain benefits while on leave. Commuter benefits cannot be accessed or changed when on an unpaid leave of absence. The deadline to make changes to commuter benefits is the 5th of the month prior. Please make any necessary changes prior to that deadline. For additional question on the commuter benefits, visit http://www.northwestern.edu/hr/payroll/payment/pretax-transit/.

Returning from Military Caregiver Leave

The 26 weeks of Military Caregiver Leave can include leave taken for other FMLA-qualifying reasons. A single, 12-month period begins on the first day staff members take leave to care for seriously ill or injured service members and ends 12 months after that date, regardless of which method is used to determine other types of FMLA leave.

If the leave needs to extend longer, the staff member must request this extension prior to the expiration of the leave by contacting The Hartford.

The employment of staff members or instructional faculty members who do not return from a Military Caregiver Leave and who do not request and receive an extension may be subject to termination.