Unpaid Medical Entitlement Leaves        ?

(PDL, FMLA, CFRA) By Business Agent Marie Clark



Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) is separate from Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or California Family Rights Act (CFRA).? Employees are entitled to PDL for job-protected and an unpaid leave for pregnancy-related disabilities.?Female employees are entitled to PDL if her employer has at least five employees.?To qualify for PDL, there is no minimum length of service the employee must work to be eligible.?Under California Law, pregnant women may have leave available to them under PDL if they are actually disabled because of pregnancy, childbirth, or health problems associated with pregnancy or childbirth, in addition to leave time to care for and bond with a newborn child under FMLA/CFRA.   Conditions that pose a danger to the unborn child are considered health conditions that may give rise to the right to PDL.?Leave time can include morning sickness or other problems due to a difficult pregnancy. The normal leave period for an expectant mother is four weeks of leave before delivery and six to eight weeks after delivery with an additional two weeks if a C-section is done.?Additional time may be given if the doctor recommends this.


Under PDL an employee is entitled to a reasonable time of leave, up to four months if they are actually disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.?This leave time can be taken intermittently.?California law also requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation, in the form of break time for a nursing mother to express breast milk at a private place at work (other than a toilet stall) and in close proximity to the employee’s work area.?


Leave time taken for PDL does not count as part of the allowable time employees may take for other types of family leave under CFRA.? When the employee returns to work, her employer must offer her the same reinstatement rights as it offers other employees returning from a disability leave of similar length.?


FMLA and CFRA provide up to twelve weeks a year of job-protected unpaid leave for certain employees under certain conditions.?Employees of private businesses, non-profits, and state and local public agencies in California are governed by California Law.?This law must provide, at a minimum, the protections guaranteed by federal FMLA, and may go further and provide additional rights.?Federal employees are governed by the FMLA, not by California law.?To qualify for FMLA or CFRA leave an employee must have a serious health condition or care for a family member with a serious health condition and may be used for bonding with a child or foster child.?Additionally, the employee must have worked for at least one year, and for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months.

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PDL, FMLA, and CFRA, are unpaid leave.?However, there are ways that an employee can get paid during this leave.?The law allows the employer to require the use of sick leave if FLMA/CFRA is used for your own serious health condition.? If you exhaust sick leave you may still use CTO, personal leave, annual leave, or vacation leave for compensation.?This would depend on your contract or MOU.? You may choose to use FMLA/CFRA to care for a family member.?Paid sick leave may be used, but only a certain amount of hours are permissible.?


If an employee pays into California State Disability Insurance (SDI), they can receive up to six weeks of Paid Family Leave Insurance benefits from SDI when they take leave for family leave purposes, including bonding with a newborn.?Under certain situations, an employee may choose, or may be required by the employer to use earned paid time off during unpaid family leave.?This leave may be vacation, personal leave, sick leave or other accrued leave time.?The accrued leave time may be implemented with SDI so that the employee receives close to a full salary.


Leave entitlement is according to State and Federal laws.?In addition to the above mentioned leaves, your contract or the employer rules may provide for other unpaid leaves, but these are not entitlements and require approval of the employer.?It is suggested that you check with the Benefits Manager of your place of employment to make sure you are receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to or contact the Union for answers to your questions.