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Understanding your rights under the Family & Medical Leave Act of 2003

2014 August 28
by HISD Communications

HISD employee Raoul Rodriguez had a lot to think about with the birth of his second daughter last April. So he wanted to make sure he made no mistakes when he applied for time off under the Family & Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).

“I called Human Resources (HR) and they responded right away,” said Rodriguez, who is a senior editor/producer in the district’s Multimedia Department. “They gave me the paperwork and I took it to the doctor taking care of my wife and they faxed it back in.”

Rodriguez, who has worked for the district for 10 years, said he was glad he reached out to HR and got all his paperwork squared away before the birth of Lillian on April 9. Through the FMLA, he took three weeks off to spend time with his wife and their daughters. That time with his infant was extraordinarily special to him and he’d recommend anyone with questions about FMLA get all the facts from HR.

“I was able to take care of my baby and bond with her,” he said.

HISD understands that employees may need to be absent from work for various reasons. The goal of the district’s HR team is to ensure all employees interested in taking leave under the Family & Medical Leave Act have a smooth experience with the application and verification process. The first step, however, is reaching out to Human Resources, which is the only department authorized to evaluate requests for leave.

Teachers and campus-based staff should always take their questions and requests to HR, not principals or secretaries. FMLA requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid and job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:

  • Birth and care of a child
  • An employee’s serious health condition
  • Care of a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition
  • Qualifying exigency or military caregiver leave

For details about absences and leave, including Family & Medical Leave, please visit the Human Resources website or contact

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