General Information

Graduate Student Medical & Family Leave


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Passed by the federal government in 1993, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA), enacted by the Oregon Legislature in 1995, provide employees with leave from work for their own or their families’ medical needs, including time off to care for a new child, adoption or foster care placement of a child. Because Oregon State University has had "family friendly" leave policies for many years, the FMLA and OFLA do not provide university faculty and staff with additional time off. They do, however, strengthen employee rights to take such leave without jeopardizing their jobs and guarantee that the university's contribution to health benefits is continued during paid and unpaid leaves.

Here are the most common questions-and-answers followed by scenarios depicting common FMLA and OFLA situations. Because your individual circumstances undoubtedly will differ, we urge you to contact the Office of Human Resources for consultation on your specific situation.

The FMLA and OFLA are only part of the university services, benefits, and policies available to you when you or a family member face a health problem. As you consider your individual situation and needs, be sure to consult the collective bargaining agreement and applicable policies on paid leave such as sick leave and vacation, long- and short-term disability coverage, leave without pay, and so forth.

What is it?

1. What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?
2. Does Oregon have a family and medical leave law?
3. Who should I contact if I need time off for myself or a family member?

Am I Eligible?

4. How do I know if I am eligible for family and medical leave?
5. What family and medical leave reasons qualify?
6. How do I know if I have a serious health condition or a family member has a serious health condition?
7. What is the definition of a family member?
8. What is the definition of a son/daughter?
9. How does the law define a parent?
10. If I have an injury that qualifies under Workers' Compensation, does it qualify for FMLA and OFLA?

How much time can I take?

11. How much time am I eligible to take for a family and medical leave reason?
12. If my spouse also works at OSU, can we both take 12 weeks to care for a new child?
13. Since leave that qualifies as both FMLA and OFLA runs concurrently, does OFLA ever allow me to take more time off than FMLA does, or to take time off for reasons that do not qualify under FMLA?
14. What are some examples of time off that qualify under OFLA, but not FMLA?
15. Can I take intermittent or reduced hour leave for a serious health condition?
16. Can I take intermittent or reduced hour leave to care for a new child?

What happens to my pay and benefits?

17. Will I receive pay while I am on FMLA and OFLA leave?
18. Can I use all of my accrued paid leave before my time off is designated as family and medical leave?
19. What happens to my benefits while I am on unpaid family and medical leave?
20. Do I accrue seniority while I am on family and medical leave?

What kind of notices and medical certification are required?

21. How do I request family and medical leave?
22. Do I have to specifically request family and medical leave to receive job protection for my time off?
23. Who is responsible for designating the leave as family and medical leave qualifying?
24. Do I have to provide a medical certification for my or my family member's

Will I be reinstated to my previous job?

26. Can I return to my job when my leave ends?
27. What if I am hired only for a specific project or a limited duration and that project or job ends while I am on family and medical leave? Am I eligible for reinstatement when my leave ends?
28. If I have a condition that qualifies under family and medical leave and Workers' Compensation (WC), how does this affect my reinstatement rights?


  1. Birth of a Child
  2. Adoption of a Child
  3. Ill Parent
  4. Personal Illness
  5. Ill Child
  6. Personal Illness

Contact Information

For more information or to initiate a request for protected leave, please contact the Benefits Consultant in the Office of Human Resources at 541-737-5946 or

Location: Office of Human Resources, 204 Kerr Administration Building, Corvallis, OR 97331-2132
Mailing: Office of Human Resources, 122 Kerr Administration Building, Corvallis, OR 97331-2132
Fax: 541-737-0553