Haverhill Public Schools
Human Resource Department

Jennifer Schmidt is the Benefits Specialist for Haverhill Public Schools. 

Please direct all questions and concerns, including physician documentation, medical leaves of absences,  FMLA and Parental Leave to
jennifer.schmidt@haverhill-ps.org or work phone 978-420-1964.

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act? 

The federal law, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees up to twelve (12) unpaid work weeks of job protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to: 

Twelve workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for:

  • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
  • Twenty-six work weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

Who is Eligible for FMLA?

Not all employees who work for a covered employer are eligible for FMLA leave. Haverhill Public Schools is an FMLA covered employer. 

To be eligible for FMLA benefits, an employee must:

  • Have worked for the employer for a total of twelve (12) months (they need not be consecutive); and
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous twelve (12) months prior to the start of the leave.

Hours of Service Requirement

The 1,250 hours include only those hours actually worked for the employer. Paid leave and unpaid leave, including FMLA leave, are not included.

What is considered a serious health condition?

For purposes of FMLA, a “serious health condition” means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider. It must meet at least one part of the FMLA’s definition.

  • Incapacity means the inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities due to a serious health condition (or treatment for or recovery from a serious health condition). 
  • Treatment includes (but is not limited to) examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists and evaluations of the condition. 
  • Inpatient care means an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care. 
  • Continuing treatment by a health care provider includes several distinct definitions and can include conditions with short-term, chronic, long-term or permanent periods of incapacity. ​A regimen of continuing treatment includes, for example, a course of prescription medication (e.g., an antibiotic) or therapy requiring special equipment to resolve or alleviate the health condition (e.g., oxygen). A regimen of continuing treatment that includes the taking of over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, antihistamines, or salves; or bed-rest, drinking fluids, exercise, and other similar activities that can be initiated without a visit to a ​health care provider​, is not, by itself, sufficient to constitute a regimen of continuing treatment for purposes of FMLA leave. 

An employee is not required to give the Haverhill Public Schools their medical records. However, Haverhill Public Schools does have a statutory right to request that an employee provide medical certification containing sufficient medical facts to establish that a serious health condition exists.

Can my employer make me get a second opinion? 

An employer may require a second or third medical opinion (at the employer’s expense) if he or she has reason to doubt the validity of the medical certification. 

Is FMLA paid leave? 

Under the federal law, FMLA is an unpaid leave unless the employee has and is eligible to use their personal leave accruals or is eligible for another program that would allow the employee to be paid while absent due to their serious health condition. An employee must follow the employer’s normal leave rules in order to substitute paid leave. When paid leave is used for an FMLA-covered reason, the leave is FMLA-protected.

Does an employee have to take leave all at once or can it be taken periodically or to reduce the employee’s schedule?

When it is medically necessary, employees may take FMLA leave intermittently – taking leave in separate blocks of time for a single qualifying reason – or on a reduced leave schedule – reducing the employee’s usual weekly or daily work schedule. When leave is needed for planned medical treatment, the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operation.

Leave to care for or bond with a newborn child or for a newly placed adopted or foster child may only be taken intermittently with the employer’s approval and must conclude within 12 months after the birth or placement.

How to Apply?

Employees with a qualifying reason for leave should notify Jennifer Schmidt, Benefits Specialist our medical leave coordinator, thirty (30) days in advance of the leave, if feasible. Otherwise please notify the Benefits Specialist as soon as you become aware that you will need to take a leave.

The Benefits Specialist will review your eligibility, share options with you and the appropriate paperwork if applicable. 

When we learn of a medical leave, it is our responsibility to determine if the employee is FMLA qualified. We process this benefit to make sure the employees rights are protected. This is for all employees who qualify that will be absent for more than three days from work for a serious illness, birth, etc…anything that will make them incapacitated and unable to work per the Department of Labor. 

The Haverhill Public Schools and the City of Haverhill processes all eligible employees union or non-union, with and without accruals. The Department of Labor states we can designate the time as FMLA, regardless of the employee’s preference. 

Additional information can be found at: