Medical and Pregnancy Leave
Family Medical Leave
What conditions does FMLA/CFRA medical leave cover?
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides medical leave for each
of the following conditions: (1) birth of a child for purposes of
bonding; (2) placement of a child in the employee's family for adoption
or foster care; (3) for the serious health condition of the employee's
child, parent or spouse; and (4) for the employee's own serious health
condition. The CFRA is similar to the federal Family Medical Leave Act
(FMLA) but is generally more pro-employee and inclusive of domestic
Which employers are subject to the CFRA?
Employers are subject to the CFRA if they do business in California and
employ 50 or more part-time or full-time employees. Non-profit
religious organizations are covered by the CFRA. Covered employers also
include the State of California and any of its political and civil
subdivisions, and cities and counties, regardless of the number of
How do I know if I am eligible for CFRA leave?
To be eligible for CFRA leave, an employee must be either a full-time
or part-time employee working in California, have more than 12 months
(52 weeks) of service with the employer, have worked at least 1,250
hours in the 12-month period before the date the leave begins, and work
at a location in which the employer has at least 50 employees within a
75 mile radius of the employee's work site.
What is the total amount of leave provided for under the CFRA?
Leave under the CFRA may total up to 12 workweeks in a 12-month period.
It does not need to be taken in one continuous period of time.
Does my employer have to provide paid leave under the CFRA?
Except in San Francisco, where a paid leave law exists (see below), an
employer is not required to pay an employee during a CFRA leave, except
when the employee elects, or the employer requires, the employee to use
any accrued vacation time or other accumulated paid leave other than
accrued sick leave.
Does my employer have to continue my health benefits during medical leave?
If your employer provides health benefits under any group health plan,
it has an obligation to continue providing such benefits during an
employee's CFRA leave. This obligation commences on the date leave
first begins and continues for the duration of the leave, up to a
maximum of 12 work weeks in a 12-month period.
An employer must also continue other benefits during an employee's CFRA
leave. During the period of CFRA leave, the employee is entitled to
accrual of seniority and to participate in employee benefit plans,
including life, short-term or long-term disability or accident
insurance, pension and retirement plans, and supplemental unemployment
benefit plans to the same extent and under the same conditions as would
apply to any other leave granted by the employer for any reason other
than CFRA leave.
What amount of pregnancy leave can I take?
An employee disabled by pregnancy is entitled to up to four months
disability leave under the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law.
If an employer provides more than four months of leave for other types
of temporary disabilities, the same leave must be made available to
women who are disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related
medical condition. In other words, if your employer has a short term
temporary disability policy that provides leave for injuries such as a
bad back, then it must extend that same disability policy to pregnant
Leave can be taken before or after birth during any period of time the
woman is physically unable to work because of pregnancy or a
pregnancy-related condition. All leave taken in connection with a
specific pregnancy counts toward computing the four-month period.
Pregnancy leave is available when a woman is actually disabled. This
includes time off needed for prenatal care, severe morning sickness,
doctor-ordered bed rest, childbirth, recovery from childbirth, or any
related medical condition.
Is there any additional leave I can take after my pregnancy leave is finished?
Employees are entitled to take pregnancy disability leave in addition
to any leave entitlement they might have under the CFRA. For example,
an employee could take four months pregnancy disability leave for her
disability, and 12 weeks CFRA leave to bond with the baby; to bond with
an adopted child; or to care for a parent, spouse, or child with
a serious health condition. CFRA leave may also be taken for the
employee's own serious health condition.
After I finish my pregnancy leave does my employer have to return me to the same position?
After a pregnancy disability leave or transfer, employees are
guaranteed a return to the same position and can request the guarantee
in writing. If the employee's same position is no longer available,
such as in a layoff due to plant closure, the employer must offer a
position that is comparable in terms of pay, location, job content, and
promotional opportunities, unless the employer can prove that no
comparable position exists.
Does my health insurance coverage have to be extended during my pregnancy leave?
Employers who provide health insurance coverage for employees who take
leave for non-pregnancy-related, temporary disabilities must provide
coverage for employees who take leave for pregnancy, childbirth
or related medical conditions. An employer may require an employee to
use her accrued sick leave during any unpaid portion of her pregnancy
disability leave. The employee may also use vacation leave credits to
receive compensation during an otherwise unpaid portion of her
pregnancy disability leave. An employer may not require an
employee to use vacation leave or other accrued time off during
pregnancy disability leave.
San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
What are an employer's obligations under the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance?
Since 2007, San Francisco has required that all employers
provide paid sick leave to each employee (including temporary and
part-time employees) who performs work in San Francisco.
For every 30 hours worked, an employee accrues one hour of paid sick
leave. Employees of employers for which fewer than 10 persons
(including full-time, part-time and temporary employees) work for
compensation during a given week may have up to 40 hours of accrued
paid sick leave saved at any time. Employees of other employers may
have up to 72 hours of accrued paid sick leave saved at any time.
Employers may chose to provide greater sick leave benefits. An
employee's accrued paid sick leave carries over from year to year.
Employees are entitled to paid sick leave for their own medical care
and also to aid or care for a family member or designated person