Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

Date Updated: May 9th, 2012

All full-time or part-time employees who have been employed for at least twelve (12) months and worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period prior to the leave request are eligible for family/medical care leave based on both the Family & Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) as follows:

 

Duration

Up to twelve (12) workweeks in a 12-month period. The 12-month period is measured on a “rolling” system, backward from the date an employee uses any family/medical care leave. California employees may be eligible for additional leave for a pregnancy-related disability. (See Pregnancy Disability Leave policy in the next section.)

An eligible employee who is the spouse, domestic partner, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered military service member who is recovering from a serious illness or injury sustained in the line of duty on active duty may take up to twenty-six (26) workweeks of leave in a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date the employee uses FMLA leave to care for the service member.

 

Reason For Leave

  • Birth of a child.
  • Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
  • To care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition.
  • Employee’s own serious health condition prevents the employee from performing his or her duties. A “serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment, physical or mental condition involving patient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider, as defined under state and federal law.
  • For any “qualifying exigency” arising out of the fact that the spouse, domestic partner, son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call to active duty status, in support of a contingency operation.

 

Leave taken for any of these reasons will be counted as family/medical care leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and applicable California laws. To the extent permitted by law, family/medical care leave shall run concurrently with any other leave to which the employee is entitled.

Leave taken for the birth or placement of a child must be taken within one year of the birth or placement.

 

Intermittent Leave

Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary for planned and/or unanticipated medical treatment of a related serious health condition by or under the supervision of a health care provider, or for recovery from treatment or recovery from a serious health condition. It may also be taken to provide care or psychological comfort to an immediate family member with a serious health condition.

When leave is taken after the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, an employee must take leave in no less than two week increments. Scripps College will, however, grant up to two requests by an employee for such leave to be taken in a period of at least one day, but less than two weeks.   In addition, employees may take leave after the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care on an intermittent basis or reduced leave basis if Scripps College, in its discretion, approves of such intermittent leave.

 

Leave Notice

If the need for a leave is foreseeable, the employee must provide thirty (30) days’ written notice of need for the leave. If the need for a leave is not foreseeable or if it is otherwise not possible to provide 30 days’ notice, notice must be provided as soon as practicable – within one or two days of learning of the need for the leave.

 

Medical Certification

If the leave is due to the employee’s illness or to care for an ill family member, the employee must provide certification from the health care provider. If the leave is needed to care for an ill family member, the certification must contain the following information:

  • date of commencement of the serious health condition;
  • probable duration of the condition;
  • estimated amount of time the employee will be needed to provide care;
  • that the serious health condition warrants the participation of a family member to provide care.

If the leave is needed for the employee’s own serious health condition, the certification must contain the following information:

  • date of commencement of the serious health condition;
  • probable duration of the condition;
  • that the employee is unable to perform any of the essential functions of his or her position because of the serious health condition or must be absent from work for medical treatment.

A leave taken due to the need to care for a service member must be supported by a certification by the service member’s health care provider. A leave taken due to a “qualifying exigency” related to military service must be supported by a certification of necessity. Employees requesting military-related medical leave must provide written documentation demonstrating the leave is related to military service when requesting such leave.

The Certification must be provided within 15 calendar days of the date Scripps College requests the certification unless the employee can demonstrate that, despite his or her good faith efforts, obtaining certification during such period was not possible. Failure to provide a timely medical certification may result in denial of a family/medical care leave.

 

Second and Third Medical Opinion

If the leave is due to the employee’s own illness, Scripps College may require the employee to obtain a second medical opinion from a health care provider selected by Scripps College. In the event the first and second opinions differ, Scripps College may require the employee to obtain a third medical opinion from a mutually agreed-upon health care provider. The third opinion will be binding on both the employee and Scripps College. The second and third medical opinions, if required by Scripps College, will be at Scripps College’s expense.

 

Fitness for Duty Certificate

In addition, if the employee’s leave is due to his or her own serious health condition, Scripps College will require certification by the employee’s health care provider that the employee is fit to return to his or her position before the employee will be restored to his or her job.

 

Reinstatement

With few exceptions, an employee who returns from an approved leave will be restored to the same or equivalent position. If, however, due to business reasons the same or equivalent position ceased to exist during the employee’s leave and, had the employee not taken the leave, the employee would not otherwise have been employed at the time reinstatement is requested, Scripps College may not be required to reinstate the employee.

In certain circumstances, Scripps College may deny reinstatement to an employee who is salaried, and among the highest paid ten (10) percent of the employees working for Scripps College within seventy-five (75) miles of the employee’s worksite, if necessary to prevent substantial economic injury.

An employee who fails to return to work at the end of the approved leave period will be considered to have voluntarily resigned.

 

Benefits

Scripps College will continue the employee’s insurance coverage while the employee is on family/medical care leave under the same terms and conditions as was provided while the employee was working. The employee will still be responsible for the same premiums for his or her insurance benefits as if he/she were at work. If the employee is on an unpaid leave of absence, he/she will need to send a check to the College benefits specialist for his or her portion of the premium within the first five (5) days of each month. Failure to make timely payments may result in termination of coverage.

The maximum length of time that Scripps College will continue the employee’s insurance coverage during any leave of absence is 12 months. At that time, the employee will receive notice of his or her right to continue medical benefits through COBRA. Employees who elect to continue benefits through COBRA will be required to pay all applicable COBRA premiums to continue such benefits.

If the employee fails to return from the leave, or returns to work for less than 30 days, Scripps College may recover from the employee the premiums it paid for maintaining insurance coverage during the leave period.

Family/medical care leave is unpaid; however, if time off is taken for the employee’s own serious health condition the employee must use any available sick leave. Employees may use any accrued vacation days or personal days while on a family/medical care leave in lieu of unpaid leave status. While the employee is on an unpaid leave, vacation will not accrue and the employee will not be eligible for holiday pay.

 

Domestic Partner Coverage

Registered domestic partners are eligible for family and medical leave under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) and are treated as spouses for purposes of family/medical leave.   Because domestic partners are not eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), any time off taken by registered domestic partners for purposes of caring for their partner or partner’s child will not be counted towards their FMLA entitlement.