(as pertaining specifically to Southwestern Bell Telephone and current as of September, 2000)

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You are entitled to up to 12 weeks of job-protected absence annually for certain family and medical reasons (either for yourself or a family member). For an employee to be eligible, the following criteria must be met:

  • you must have at least one year's service with the AT&T
  • you must have worked at least 1250 hours during the past 12 months. Time worked does not include vacation, excused work days (EWP, EWN) or holidays.

This 12 week entitlement may be taken all at once or intermittently throughout the year in increments as small as 15 minute (the smallest payroll unit AT&T allows).

Reasons for Using FMLA
Reasons for using FMLA absence include:

  • to care for the employee's child following birth, placement for adoption, or foster care
  • to care for the employee's spouse, child (under 18 years of age) or age 18 or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability, or parent who has a serious health condition
  • for the employee's own serious health condition*, as certified by a health care provider, that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job.

*Serious health condition means an absence of more than 3 days; e.g. 3 days, 4 days, etc. These are calendar days, not work days--Saturdays, Sundays and holidays count. It could also include anyone who has a chronic health condition such as asthma or diabetes; in this instance, you would not have to meet the 3 day rule. You can take FMLA time in as small as a 15 minute increment if your absence qualifies as a chronic or long term condition.

Providing Notice for FMLA Absences
The employee may be required to provide advance notice and medical certification. Taking an FMLA absence may be denied if the following requirements are not met:

  • you must provide at least 30 days advance notice when the absence is foreseeable
  • an employer requires medical certification to support a request for an absence of a serious health condition, and may require second or third opinions (at the employer's expense) and a fitness-for-duty report to return to work
  • the employee must provide medical certification to the FMLA Processing Center for a protected absence within 15 calendar days after the request (see above paragraph).

Paid Time vs. Non Paid Time
At the employee's option, contractual time may be substituted for unpaid absence (e.g. vacation time, EWP/EWN). Contractual time can be broken down into increments as small as the company's payroll will allow (for AT&T, it's 15 minutes).

Deductions in Your NCS Date
You must also be aware that, if you take unpaid time (other than for yourself), your net credited service will be affected; e.g., once you reach 8 hours of unpaid time, your NCS date can and will have a full day deducted from it. This is an option the federal law allows which AT&T has chosen to utilize. This rule does not apply to AT&T employees who take a leave of absence that is less than 31 days in length.

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