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 partners.

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 employees.

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.

Pregnancy 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 employees.

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
Socal Employment Counsel - Representing Employees in Workplace Disputes Throughout Southern California
Socal Employment Counsel - Representing Employees in Workplace Disputes Throughout Southern California
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