Human Resource Services

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Family Caregiving Leave FAQs

Family Caregiving Leave FAQs

Information and Support for Faculty and Staff


Employees are expected to make every reasonable effort to attend work regularly and consistently; however, we recognize the complexity of family circumstances and healthcare services. UNI supports employees in their family responsibilities during an immediate family member's illness or injury by offering employees the option to use a designated portion of their sick leave accruals to care for family members.

What is Family Caregiving Leave?

Family Caregiving Leave is the portion of accrued sick leave that employees may use to assist with responsibilities in the care and necessary attention of an ill or injured immediate family member which cannot take place outside of normal work hours, or for the birth of their child.

What is the definition of "immediate family"?

Immediate family means the employee's spouse/domestic partner, children, grandchildren, foster children, stepchildren, legal wards, parents, grandparents, foster parents, stepparents, brothers, foster brothers, stepbrothers, sons-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters, foster sisters, stepsisters, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, first cousins, corresponding relatives of the employee's spouse/domestic partner and other persons who are members of the employee's household.

How much Family Caregiving Leave is available to employees?

  • Staff members may use up to 40 hours of family caregiving leave (prorated for part-time positions) per their work anniversary year or FTE change date.
  • Staff members may carry over up to 40 hours of unused family caregiving leave to the next anniversary year for a maximum utilization of 80 hours in an anniversary year (prorated for part-time positions).
  • Family caregiving leave hours cannot be taken in excess of available accrued sick leave as those designated hours are taken from employee sick leave balances.
  • Staff members who need additional time to care for ill or injured family members beyond their available hours of family caregiving leave may request vacation, compensatory time, or unpaid time (if vacation and/or comp time accruals are unavailable).
  • Faculty members may use up to fifteen (15) days of family caregiving leave per academic year. Review the Faculty Handbook for more information.

What is the difference between Family Caregiving Leave and the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

  • Family Caregiving Leave reflects the designated portion of sick leave an employee may use toward the care of an ill or injured family member, or the birth of their child.
  • The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave per year to eligible employees for certain family, medical, and military-related reasons.
  • Not all family caregiving leave situations will qualify under the rules of the FMLA as eligibility criteria must be met by employees to utilize FMLA leave.
  • Family member relationships covered by the FMLA include an eligible employee’s parents, spouse, and child whereas the family caregiving leave benefit allows for care of a broader range of family members.
  • When leave reasons for family care meet criteria for both family caregiving leave and FMLA entitlement, they will be administered by Human Resource Services (HRS) concurrently.

How do I know if my situation qualifies as Family Caregiving Leave?

Examples of care and necessary attention for ill or injured family members that meet the definition for use of family caregiving leave include:

  • Transportation to and/or from medical appointments related to your family member's illness or injury.
  • Facilitate communication with your family member's healthcare provider.
  • Help your family member understand healthcare recommendations and make decisions.
  • Coordinate your family member’s healthcare treatment and follow-up.
  • Provide information to healthcare personnel regarding insurance/sources of payment.
  • Monitor and/or administer treatments, therapy, or medications to your family member.
  • Provide direct care to your family member to help them meet personal needs that cannot be met during non-work hours.

Can I use Family Caregiving Leave for the birth of my child?

  • If you are an expectant parent who needs to care for your spouse or domestic partner during labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery for the birth of your child, you may use family caregiving leave hours on an intermittent or continuous basis.
  • Eligible expectant parents may also qualify for FMLA leave entitlement to care for your spouse or domestic partner due to this qualifying event and/or to bond with your healthy newborn child. Contact HRS for more information at 319.273.6164 or

Can I use Family Caregiving Leave for childcare?

  • Family caregiving leave should not be used if you are unable to work due to the need to care for your healthy/well child or grandchild when the usual childcare provider is unavailable or when school is closed.
  • If you are unable to report to work for childcare reasons, you will need to use vacation leave, comp time earned, or unpaid time (if you have no vacation/comp time available). You may also choose to work with your supervisor to determine if it is feasible for you to make up missed work time.

Can I use Family Caregiving Leave to take my family member to a wellness exam or annual physical?

  • Family caregiving leave should not be utilized for absences to cover routine dental visits, well-baby/child exams, and annual physicals.
  • If you need to miss work for this reason, you need to use vacation, comp time, or unpaid time (if you do not have vacation/comp time accruals available). You may also choose to work with your supervisor to determine if it is feasible for you to make up missed work time, if appropriate.

Is travel time included when I need to use Family Caregiving Leave?

  • Travel time will be included in use of family caregiving leave if the travel occurs during the employee's work schedule and is required to transport the ill or injured family member to receive necessary care.

Does care for an elderly family member qualify for Family Caregiving Leave?

  • Family caregiving leave may be used to care for an aging parent or relative. See definition of immediate family member.
  • The aging parent or relative must meet the criteria of being ill or injured and you must be needed to provide care and necessary attention.
  • The illness or injury may include chronic conditions and the event may be a scheduled appointment for treatment or monitoring of their chronic condition(s).

Do I need to provide documentation in order to use Family Caregiving Leave?

  • Departments may request verification of your family member's illness or injury and your needed presence, as applicable.
  • If your family care situation might also qualify for FMLA protected leave, you should contact HRS at to inquire about your eligibility.
  • For eligible employees with a qualifying family member situation, HRS will provide you with the necessary FMLA paperwork to be completed by your family member's healthcare provider.

Where do I find my Family Caregiving Leave balance and how do I complete my timecard?

To find your balance of family caregiving leave hours, you will need to login to MyUNIverse →E-Business Suite → UNI Employee Self-Service → Leave Balances.

  • Choose the desired "Time Period" from the dropdown box and click “Go” to bring up your Leave Balances and Usage Report.
  • On the bottom row of each month, you will see the number of "Sick Leave Hours Eligible for Family Caregiving Leave".
  • When completing your timecard in the UNI Time Management System located in E-business suite, select the hours type "Family Caregiving Leave" from the dropdown box. In the FAMIS timecard system, the "EL" paycode should be selected.
  • Do not select the "FMLA Family Caregiving Leave" hours type or the "FEL" paycode unless you have been in contact with HRS regarding your situation and have received notification of FMLA approval.

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