Frequently Asked Questions
What is University Family Medical Leave (UFML)?
University Family Medical Leave provides eligible employees leave to care for a registered same-sex domestic partner with a serious health condition or for a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a covered military member is on active duty (or called to active duty status) in support of a contingency operation. UFML leaves are granted by the department/unit. Eligible employees are entitled to up to twelve workweeks (26 weeks to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness) of unpaid family medical leave during each consecutive twelve-month period for which eligibility criteria have been met. Employees may substitute accrued sick leave, vacation, and personal leave for unpaid UFML.
What is a registered same-sex domestic partner?
For the purpose of UFML, the University defines domestic partners as two persons of the same gender, age 18 or older, who have been residing together for at least 6 months and are jointly responsible for each other's common welfare and shared financial obligations. Domestic partners must register with the University through completion and submission of the University of Illinois Affidavit of Domestic Partnership.
Who is eligible to apply for University Family Medical Leave (UFML)?
To be eligible for UFML benefits, a University of Illinois employee must:
- have worked for the University of Illinois for at least twelve months; and
- have worked at least 1250 hours of service during the previous twelve months; and
- have completed, and submitted to the campus Benefits Service Center, the University of Illinois Affidavit of Domestic Partnership; and
- have not previously exhausted their eligibility for leave under UFML or Federal FMLA for the applicable current 12-month period.
Why must I apply for University Family Medical Leave (UFML) instead of Federal FMLA leave to care for a registered same-sex domestic partner?
According to FMLA regulation 29 C.F.R. 825.701(a)(5), FMLA leave cannot be granted for the care of a registered same-sex domestic partner. For this reason, the University of Illinois has established the University Family Medical Leave (UFML) program, which provides employees with FMLA-like leave to care for a registered same-sex domestic partner.
How do I apply for University Family Medical Leave (UFML)?
If you have not done so already, complete and submit to the campus Benefits Service Center the University of Illinois Affidavit of Domestic Partnership. Next, complete the TO BE COMPLETED BY EMPLOYEE portion of the UFML Application (PDF| Word) and submit it to your supervisor. Your supervisor will then complete the TO BE COMPLETED BY DEPARTMENT portion and return to you.
The associated Serious Health Condition Certification (PDF| Word) or Covered Servicemember Certification (PDF| Word), issued by your registered same-sex domestic partner's health care provider, is required to support the UFML leave. Your department may have you provide the opinion of a second health care provider designated or approved by the University, but not employed by the University. The opinion of a third provider may be required when there are differing opinions. The opinion of the third provider shall be considered final and shall be binding on the University and employee. Any expenses associated with obtaining second and third opinions shall be the responsibility of your department.
If taking leave for a qualifying exigency, a Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave form (PDF| Word) is also required in addition to the UFML application.
Why are the requirements for same-sex domestic partner Health Insurance different than for University Family Medical Leave (UFML)?
The State Central Management System (CMS) manages employee health benefits and defines domestic partners as "unrelated, same-sex individuals who reside in the same household and have a financial and emotional interdependence consistent with that of a married couple for a period of not less than one year and continue to maintain such arrangement. The minimum age of a domestic partner is 19 years old." CMS requires that employees complete and submit the CMS Domestic Partner Affidavit, Domestic Partner Enrollment Form, and supporting documentation in order to enroll a domestic partner in health insurance. Please see the CMS Enrollment and Information Packet.
UFML is instead managed by the University, which defines domestic partners as two persons of the same gender, age 18 or older, who have been residing together for at least 6 months and are jointly responsible for each other's common welfare and shared financial obligations. Domestic partners are recognized by the University through completion and submission of the University of Illinois Affidavit of Domestic Partnership.
If I have registered my same-sex domestic partner through CMS, why must I also submit the University Affidavit of Domestic Partnership?
The University of Illinois Affidavit of Domestic Partnership focuses specifically on ensuring that you understand the importance of providing complete and accurate information to the University and explains the associated consequences if you fail to do so.
The University does accept registration in the State of Illinois Group Insurance Program (CMS) Domestic Partner Registry in lieu of the supporting documents indicated in the University of Illinois Affidavit of Domestic Partnership. No proof of registry is required - the Benefits Service Center will verify registration with CMS.
Can I use UFML for the birth or adoption of a child by my registered same-sex domestic partner?
UFML may only be used for the care of a registered, same-sex domestic partner. However, you may apply for Federal FMLA leave to care for your registered same-sex domestic partner's child, or for the birth or placement of your registered same-sex domestic partner's child for adoption or foster care, as long as the child meets the federal FMLA definition of a son or daughter. Federal FMLA regulations define a son or daughter as "a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is either under age 18, or age 18 or older and "incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability." (29 C.F.R. 825.113(c))
What other benefits are available for my registered same-sex domestic partner and his/her children?
Please visit the Domestic Partner page for further information on Domestic Partner benefits.
During a period of unpaid UFML leave, why must I pay both the state and employee contribution towards the insurance premium?
Because UFML is a University leave and not a State leave, Central Management Services (CMS) will recognize this leave as a personal leave of absence, not as UFML leave. Regulations state that, during a period of unpaid personal leave, you will be billed both the state monthly contribution as well as the premium that would have been deducted from your pay had you remained on payroll. The State portion may be reimbursed through the University Family Medical Leave Reimbursement Plan. If required payments are not made during the leave period, insurance coverage will be DISCONTINUED and you will be ineligible for the UFML reimbursement plan. You are encouraged to contact the Benefits Service Center within thirty days following the last day of paid employment to understand your billing obligations and discuss the reimbursement process.
If I have utilized unpaid UFML leave, how do I receive reimbursement for the employer-paid portion of the CMS insurance premium?
Please see the University Family Medical Leave Reimbursement Plan page for this information.
I am concerned about the confidentiality of this request. What measures have been taken to protect my privacy?
Every attempt has been made to ensure that your privacy is protected through the UFML administration process. As with any employee data, the information gathered through the UFML leave process will be treated with the utmost confidence by everyone involved.
Who should I contact with further questions about UFML leave?
Please direct questions about University Family Medical Leave (UFML) to your departmental supervisor or designated leave contact. Should questions remain the central/campus Human Resources office will provide assistance.