Allow Family Medical Leave for People in Domestic Partnerships/Civil Unions

While the University has overall fantastic benefits for couples in a Civil Union or Domestic Partnership, Family Medical Leave (FML) does not apply. Even out of state gay marriages are not recognized due to the state's constitutional amendment. We cannot narrow the terms of FML beyond what has been described federally, but the protections can be expanded locally. Bisbee, for instance, "bestows the title of spouse" with a Civil Union, and the FML legislation specifies "spouse."

Private companies have done this. As governmental agencies, the City of Tucson and Pima County both allow FML to couples in Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships, though they are required to file an annual affidavit that their relationship is still valid.

The UA's stance on this is backward. For those out of leave time, Excused Unpaid Leave is available, and those that need to be out full-time for more than 45 days can qualify for compassionate transfer of leave, but being denied FML despite having the right paperwork and a long-term employee in good standing is extremely frustrating during a crisis. Everything else depends on having a supervisor willing to work with you, while FML is widely understood.

(Submitted July 2014)

Notes

The University cannot modify federal laws, but does permits the use of paid sick time for "when absence is the result of serious illness or communicable disease within the employee's immediate family, established household, or in situations which place primary responsibility for care on the employee." There are national conversations regarding changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act and we look forward to the opportunity to modify our policies should the law change. 

Status

Carefully Considered

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