Your rights under FMLA, CFRA, and PDL

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Your Rights and Obligations Under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (PDL)

It is the policy of the University of California to provide family care and medical leave to eligible employees in accordance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act of 1994 (CFRA). This notice is an overview of your rights and obligations under FMLA and CFRA. If you are eligible, and the leave you have requested pursuant to University policy or union contract qualifies as family care and medical leave, you will receive up to 12 work weeks in a calendar year.

For a full review of your rights and responsibilities please read:

Eligibility for Leave

If you have at least 12 months of University employment (all prior University employment counts) and if you have worked at least 1,250 actual hours during the 12 months prior to the requested leave, you are covered by the provisions of FMLA and CFRA.

Reasons for Leave

FMLA and CFRA provide up to 12 work weeks for the following reasons:

  • An employee's own serious health condition
  • Care of a newborn child, newly adopted child, or care of a child newly placed in foster care;
  • The care of a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition.

Time taken to care for a domestic partner is covered by UC Policy and CFRA, but not FMLA.

Disabilities due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions are covered under FMLA, but not the CFRA. In California pregnancy and pregnancy-related disabilities are covered under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (PDL). For additional information, please see the second part of this document that discusses the Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (PDL).

Time Off Under FMLA and CFRA

When medically necessary, you are entitled to up to 12 work weeks of family and medical leave during a calendar year, for your own or another's serious health condition, as well as for "baby bonding."

  • If medically necessary, you may take leave on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule.
  • Leave taken for bonding with a child, whether after birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child with the employee, shall be concluded within one year of the birth or placement of the child. The usual minimum duration of the leave shall be two weeks. However, an employee may take a leave of less than two weeks' duration on any two occasions during the year.
  • Your leave under FMLA and CFRA may not extend beyond an established separation date.

Note: see Family and Medical Leave Act, Questions and Answers, if both you and your spouse work for U.C. Berkeley.

FMLA Coordination with CFRA and Other Leaves

Leave granted under the FMLA runs concurrently with CFRA, California Pregnancy Disability Leave, Workers' Compensation and other leaves as appropriate and sanctioned by law.

Leave beyond the 12 work weeks granted under FMLA and CFRA may be available in accordance with the University's leave policies, union contracts and other state and federal laws.

Employees Covered by PPSM

If the need for a family and medical leave that is in progress continues beyond 12 workweeks, a regular status employee shall be entitled to supplemental leave for up to 12 workweeks or until the end of the calendar year, whichever is less. The aggregate of pregnancy disability leave, family and medical leave, and supplemental family and medical leave shall not exceed 7 months during the calendar year except as required by law. Please refer to the Absence from Work Policy  (PDF) for complete details.

Notice, Certification and Reporting Requirements for FMLA/CFRA

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Advance Notice

To request leave under FMLA and CFRA, 30 days advance notice is required if your need for family care and medical leave is foreseeable (e.g., the birth of child or a planned medical treatment). If you fail to provide 30 days notice for a foreseeable leave, your department may deny leave until 30 days after the date you provide notice. If your need for leave is not foreseeable, you should provide notice within a reasonable time after learning of the need for leave. Written notice is recommended (see the Leave of Absence Request Form), however-verbal notice is acceptable.

Medical Certification

Written certification from a health care provider may be required for your own serious health condition or the serious health condition of your family member (see the applicable personnel policy or union contract). If medical certification is required, failure to provide required certification within 15 calendar days of the date of this notice may result in delay or denial of leave.

When you are requesting leave for your own health condition and medical certification is required, a form will be provided to you by your department, or you can get a copy from the HR website. You will be asked to authorize your health care provider (see Family and Medical Leave Act, Questions and Answers for the definition of health care provider) to certify that your condition is "serious" as defined by law and policy, and that the condition prohibits you from performing the essential functions of your job.

If you wish to take family and medical leave to care for your child, parent, or spouse, certification by their health care practitioner may also be required. Again, please refer to PPSM, APM or the applicable union contract.

Re-certification of your own serious health condition or the serious health condition of your family member may be required periodically.

Pay

Family care and medical leave is normally unpaid leave; however, you may request or be required to substitute paid leave (i.e., accrued vacation, sick leave, or extended sick leave) for all or a portion of the unpaid leave in accordance with the appropriate policies and union contracts. If you have requested family care and medical leave for your own serious health condition, you may be eligible during the unpaid portion of your leave for temporary disability payments under the Short-Term Disability Plan and/or the Supplemental Disability Plan or under Workers' Compensation.

Health Benefits

Coverage under any group health plan (medical, dental, vision) will be maintained during any leave covered by FMLA (up to 12 workweeks) to the extent coverage would be maintained if you had been actively at work during the leave period. You are responsible for timely payment of the employee portion of any premiums that are not fully covered by a University contribution. Use the Benefits: Request to Continue/Cancel Coverage form  (PDF) to do this. Complete and return the form along with your payment to the Payroll Benefits Accounting Unit. Failure to pay the employee portion of the premiums within 30 days of the due date will result in cancellation of your enrollment in that plan.

For information on what happens with all of your benefits during FMLA, see the Family and Medical Leave Benefits Checklist  (PDF).

If you do not return to work at the conclusion of your approved family care and medical leave, you will be liable for payment of the health plan premiums (medical, dental, optical) paid by the University during any unpaid portion of your leave. The University may recover its share of health plan premiums by taking deductions, to the extent permitted by law, from your unpaid wages, if any, vacation pay, or other pay due you, or by initiating legal action. However, you will not be liable for the premiums if your failure to return to work is due to continuation of your own serious health condition or other reasons beyond your control. You will be considered to have returned to work if you work for at least 30 calendar days commencing with your scheduled return date.

FMLA/CFRA Leave Approval

You can request time off for any reason covered by the FMLA/CFRA either verbally or in writing. If you wish time off under the FMLA/CFRA, there are forms that should be completed. Timely completion of these forms will help ensure that approval of your leave is not delayed, and that your benefits, pay status during leave, and disability insurance application are processed as you requested.

To start the leave approval process, obtain a copy of the:

  • Leave of Absence Request form (use this form to advise your department if you wish to use any sick leave or vacation during your leave);
  • Medical Certification Form;
  • Return to Work Certification;
  • Benefits Check List;
  • Request to Continue/Cancel Benefits While on a Leave.

If after reviewing the forms you have any questions, you can contact your manager, your department's Human Resource Manager, the Benefits Office or Employee Relations. Once your questions are answered you should:

  • Complete and submit the Leave of Absence Request to your manager.
  • Have your health care provider complete the Medical Certification form, and return the form to your department. The certification must contain:

The date on which the pregnancy-related disability or serious health condition began;

The probable duration of the condition; and

A statement that, due to the serious health condition, the employee is unable to work at all or is unable to perform any one or more of the essential functions of the position.

  • Consult with HR-Benefits to find out how to continue benefits during FMLA/CFRA and how to file for disability insurance if eligible for this benefit.

You will be advised in writing if your leave is approved.

University Designated FMLA/CFRA Leave

Even if you do not specifically request family and medical leave under FMLA or CFRA, the University may designate time away from work as FMLA and CFRA if the leave meets the requirements outlined in policy, an applicable union contract, as well as state and federal law. You will be advised if your leave is designated as time under FMLA/CFRA.

Returning to Work

Under federal law (FMLA) and state law (CFRA) you must be reinstated to the same position you had prior to taking the leave, or to an equivalent position provided that you return to work immediately following the conclusion of family care and medical leave. If your position is unavailable (for example, due to a temporary or indefinite layoff), you have no greater right to reinstatement than had you been continually employed during the FMLA leave period. You are not entitled to reinstatement if your appointment end date occurs before your scheduled return date from family care and medical leave.

The University may require periodic notice of your intent to return to work following family and medical leave. Please notify your manager at least 5 days prior to the conclusion of your leave, or as required by union contract. You must return to work on the date of release provided by your health care provider. In addition, if the FMLA/CFRA leave you have requested is for your own serious health condition, you may be required to present medical certification upon your return stating that you are able to return to work to perform the functions of your job. Return to Work Certification forms are available from your department or on the HR website.

The University's responsibility to continue your health plan coverage ends when your total time off for FMLA/CFRA reaches 12 work weeks or upon notice that you do not intend to return to work at the end of the approved leave, even though you are able to work at that time. You may be eligible to continue your health care coverage through COBRA.

Additional Information

For more information about family care and medical leave and related leaves, please call the Employee Relations Consultant for your department in Human Resources or the Academic Personnel Office. Questions regarding employee benefits, including disability insurance should be directed to the Benefits Office.

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) and Coordination with FMLA and CFRA

It is the policy of the University of California to provide Pregnancy Disability Leave to eligible employees in accordance with the California Pregnancy Disability Act (PDL). This notice is an overview of your rights and obligations under PDL. If you are eligible, and the leave you have requested pursuant to University policy or union contract qualifies as PDL, you will receive up to 4 months or 88 working days.

For a full review of your rights and responsibilities please read: Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM), the Academic Personnel Manual (APM), and/or the applicable union contract.

Eligibility and Reasons for Leave

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) is available to you if you are disabled due to pregnancy, for pregnancy-related medical reasons, or for childbirth.

Time Off Under PDL, FMLA and CFRA

PDL allows up to 4 months of leave (88 work days) for pregnancy-related disabilities. The leave time is pro-rated according to your established schedule.

  • If medically necessary you may take PDL on an intermittent or reduced leave schedule.

Once your child has been born and your health care provider has determined that your pregnancy-related disability is ended, you may be eligible for an additional 12 work weeks of leave. This additional leave is granted in accordance with CFRA, applicable university policy, and union contract provisions. It is recommended that you apply for "baby-bonding" leave at the same time you apply for PDL if you think you will want additional time after completing your pregnancy-related leave. In combination, eligible employees may receive up to a maximum of seven months of leave in a calendar year (see appropriate policy or union contract for your maximum time off).

Leave, beyond the time permitted under PDL , FMLA, and CFRA may be available in accordance with the University's leave policies, union contracts and other state and federal laws. Please check with UC policies and contracts for specifics or contact Employee Relations.

PDL Coordination with FMLA and Other Leaves

Leave granted under the PDL runs concurrently with FMLA and other leaves as appropriate and sanctioned by law.

Notice, Certification and Reporting Requirements for PDL

Click on any of the following items for more information:

Advance Notice

If you wish to take leave under PDL, you must give your manager reasonable advance notice. To apply for leave under PDL, 30 days advance notice is required. If you fail to provide 30 days notice, your department may deny leave until 30 days after the date you provide notice. If your need for leave is not foreseeable, you should provide notice within a reasonable time after learning of the need for leave. Written notice is recommended (see the Leave of Absence Request Form), however verbal notice is acceptable.

Medical Certification

Written certification from a health care provider may be required (see the applicable personnel policy or union contract) for PDL. If medical certification is required, failure to provide required certification within 15 calendar days of the date of this notice may result in a delay of your PDL leave being processed.

Re-certification of your own serious health condition or the serious health condition of your family member may be required periodically.

While you will not need to provide medical certification for baby-bonding leave, you will need to apply for the leave. Please refer to the section of this document titled "Family and Medical Leaves.

Pay

PDL leave is normally unpaid leave; however, you may request or be required to substitute paid leave (i.e., accrued vacation, sick leave) for all or a portion of the unpaid leave in accordance with appropriate policies and union contracts. You may be eligible during the unpaid portion of your leave for temporary disability payments under the Short-Term Disability Plan and/or the Supplemental Disability Plan.

Health Benefits

Coverage under any group health plan (medical, dental, vision) will be maintained during any time taken under PDL that runs concurrently with FMLA (up to 12 workweeks) to the extent coverage would be maintained if you had been actively at work during the leave period. You are responsible for timely payment of the employee portion of any premiums that are not fully covered by a University contribution. Use the Benefits: Request to Continue/Cancel Coverage form  (PDF) to do this. Complete and return the form along with your payment to the Payroll Benefits Accounting Unit. Failure to pay the employee portion of the premiums within 30 days of the due date will result in cancellation of your enrollment in that plan.

For information on what happens with all of your benefits during the FMLA portion of your PDL and CFRA, see the Pregnancy and Newborn Child Factsheet, and/or the Family and Medical Leave Benefits checklist  (PDF).

If you are on unpaid leave and your time under PDL or CFRA extends beyond time available to you under the FMLA, you can elect to continue your health care benefits through one of two programs as follows:

The first program available to you is the U.C. Direct Pay program. Unlike benefits continuation under the FMLA, you will be responsible for the full premium payment. If you will miss one or more paychecks during your leave, you must complete and return in a timely manner, the Benefits: Request to Continue/Cancel Coverage form  (PDF).

Failure to pay premiums within 30 days of the due date will result in cancelation of your enrollment in that plan.

The second benefits continuation program available to you is COBRA (UCnet).

For information on what happens with all of your benefits during PDL, see the Pregnancy and Newborn Child Factsheet.

If you do not return to work at the conclusion of your approved leave, you will be liable for payment of the health plan premiums (medical, dental, vision) paid by the University during any unpaid portion of your leave. The University may recover its share of health plan premiums by taking deductions, to the extent permitted by law, from your unpaid wages, if any, vacation pay, or other pay due you, or by initiating legal action. However, you will not be liable for the premiums if your failure to return to work is due to continuation of your own serious health condition or other reasons beyond your control. You will be considered to have returned to work if you work for at least 30 calendar days after your scheduled return date.

Pregnancy Disability and Related Leave Approval

In applying for a Pregnancy Disability Leave obtain a copy of the:

  • Leave of Absence Request form
  • Medical Certification Form
  • Return to Work Certification
  • Benefits Check List
  • Request to Continue/Cancel Benefits While on a Leave

As with other Family Care and Medical Leaves, you can request time off either verbally or in writing. Once again, there are forms that should be completed. Timely completion of these forms will help ensure that approval of your leave is not delayed, and that your benefits, pay status during leave, and disability insurance application are processed as you requested.

Complete and submit the Leave of Absence Request to your manager. As mentioned above, it is recommended that you apply for "baby-bonding" leave at the same time you apply for PDL if you think you will want additional time after completing your pregnancy-related leave.

Medical certification may be required for the pregnancy-related portion of your leave. The certification must contain:

  • The date on which the pregnancy-related disability began;
  • The probable duration of the condition; and
  • A statement that, due to the pregnancy-related disability, the employee is unable to work at all or is unable to perform any one or more of the essential functions of the position.

Please have the Medical Certification form completed by your health care provider, and returned to your manager.

Consult with HR-Benefits to find out how to continue benefits during FMLA/CFRA and how to file for disability insurance if eligible for this benefit.

University Designated PDL Time Off

The University may designate time away from work as PDL if the leave meets the requirements outlined in policy, an applicable union contract, as well as state law. Designated time off will also be deducted from you PDL balance (88 work days).

Returning to Work

Under law, you must be reinstated to the same position you had prior to taking Pregnancy Disability Leave, or to a substantially similar position provided that you return to work immediately following the conclusion of PDL leave. If your position is unavailable (due to, for example, a temporary or indefinite layoff), you have no greater right to reinstatement than had you been continually employed during the PDL leave period. You are not entitled to reinstatement if your appointment end date occurs before your scheduled return date from pregnancy disability leave.

If you extended your leave beyond PDL, and return to work immediately following the conclusion of baby bonding leave taken under FMLA and/or CFRA, you must be reinstated to the same position you had prior to taking the leave, or to an equivalent position. As noted above, if your position is unavailable you have no greater right to reinstatement than had you been continually employed during the FMLA/CFRA leave period.

The University's responsibility to continue your health plan coverage ends (except under Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) continuation coverage) upon notice that you do not intend to return to work at the end of the approved leave, even though you are able to work at that time.

Additional Information

For more information about family care and medical leave and related leaves, please call the Employee Relations Consultant for your department in Human Resources or the Academic Personnel Office. Questions regarding employee benefits should be directed to the Benefits Office.