New Parent Leave

Mary Hao, Director, Human Resources

Congratulations on the new child in your home! This information will help you get ready for the time you will be off work so that you may enjoy your new child without work worries. The laws and policies that apply to you depend on whether or not you are the birth mother of the new child. The table below shows which leave and benefit laws/policies apply to you depending on your situation.

Table of Leave Laws Eligibility and Time Off
 

 

How to Request Leave

Once you know your projected due date you should notify your department and Human Resources 30 days prior to your intended date of leave. The notice should also include your expected return to work date.  

When your leave date is confirmed, two forms need to be completed:

When completed, send both to the Leave Coordinator in Human resources through inter-office mail or email to HRLeaves@marincounty.org.

Leave Laws and County Policy

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

FMLA and CFRA are laws that provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of job protected unpaid leave in a 12-month period for a number of situations which include pregnancy, child birth, or need to bond/care with a new born, adopted or foster child.

If it happens that both you and your spouse work for the County, the 12 weeks FMLA protection is split between the two of you, so you do not receive 12 weeks each of FMLA.

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

In addition to FMLA and CFRA, California has another law, Pregnancy Disability Leave, (PDL) which gives you time off if you are disabled during pregnancy and after the birth of the baby.  The law allows up to four months of job protection and the continuation of the usual County sponsored portion of health benefits should you be off of work due to a pregnancy related disability including prenatal care, and postpartum recovery.

The actual length of time of your disability will depend on your individual condition and must be certified by your licensed health care provider. Also, upon the documented advice of your health care provider, you may request temporary reassignment to a less strenuous or hazardous position before the birth. If the County can reasonably accommodate such a request, it must be granted.

Following PDL which usually runs at the same time as FMLA, you might be eligible to use up to 12 weeks of CFRA leave which allows for 12 weeks within the year for bonding with the new child. This leave does not have to be taken all at once but may be used on an intermittent basis. Contact the Leave Coordinator to find out if this is available to you.

Eligibility

There is no eligibility requirement for a leave of absence under PDL aside from being pregnant. Extra hire and fixed term employees are also eligible. The time off start and expected end date must be certified by your medical practitioner.

Returning to work after PDL - If you were on an extended leave due to your medical condition, be sure to acquire a medical statement indicating any request for accommodations from your physician.

County's Pregnancy Leave Policy on Allowed Time Off - PMR 44.14

The County allows any female employee up to 6 months unpaid leave for pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions.  You may use accrued sick, vacation or other accrued paid leave during this period of time. If you run out of accrued leave time, you will be on an unpaid leave status and will not be accruing any sick or vacation time until you return to work.

Typical Timeline for Birth Mother

The timeline below shows the most typical timeline for a birth mother. It can vary significantly depending on your pregnancy. If you have a particular question because your pregnancy does not follow this, please contact the Leave Coordinator in HR.

Typical Timeline for Birth Mothers Chart 

Lactation Accommodation PMR 44.15

In accordance with state law, the County will provide a reasonable amount of break time for you to express milk. If possible, the break time will be that already provided. If not, the break time will be unpaid.

Please inform your supervisor or the HR Leave Coordinator, of your need for a lactation accommodation location. The County will endeavor to provide an appropriate private location close to your work area with access to a refrigerator to store expressed milk.

Benefit Changes

While on FMLA, CFRA, and PDL the County will continue to pay the customary portion of your benefits. If you run out of accrued leave time and go on leave without pay, you will have to pay out-of-pocket for your portion of benefits while the County continues to pay its portion. Also, if you are out beyond the allotted time given by FMLA, CFRA and PDL, and you are on leave without pay, then you will have to pay the full cost for all of your benefits.  At this time you can choose which benefits you want to keep, as well as make changes to family coverage. Then, when you return to work, your benefits will be reinstated. Contact your Human Resources Benefits Department Representative to make these changes.

Enrolling Your Child in Benefits

After the baby is born or adopted you have 30 days to add him/her to your medical, dental and vision benefits, if you do not enroll your child, you can add the child your medical coverage at any Open Enrollment. They are held each fall.

For dental and/or vision you have until the child is age four to enroll. There will be no enrolling after age four unless there is a family life event. (An example of a life event is when spouse loses their job and cannot keep the child on that company’s benefits).

How You Are Paid While on Leave

The laws and County policy that give you job and benefit protection but are unpaid include FMLA, CFRA and PDL, as explained under the Leave Laws & County Policy section. How you are paid depends on your own leave balances sick, vacation, or other accrued paid leave, as well as your eligibility for income replacement through State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL).

The SDI and PFL programs are funded through payroll deductions. Note: Most but not all, County employees are covered. Check your union’s MOU or call HR to find out if you are eligible to claim SDI or PFL.

How to Register and File a Claim Tutorials

Registration  SDI Online Tutorial Claimant Registration

Filing a Disability Claim http://www.edd.ca.gov/Disability/pdf/SDIOnlineTutorialFilingaDIClaim.pdf

Filing a Paid Family Leave Care Claim  http://edd.ca.gov/Disability/pdf/SDIOnlineTutorialFilingaPFLCareClaim.pdf

Filing a Paid Family Leave Bonding Claim   http://www.edd.ca.gov/disability/pdf/SDIOnlineTutorialFilingaPFLBondingClaim.pdf

Other Questions? – Ask EDD

https://askedd.edd.ca.gov/asp/frmEDDCOMM.aspx

Integration of State Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave

Integration is a method of merging your paid leave time with disability or family leave benefits during a leave of absence. State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL), if you are eligible, provide partial wage replacement during your maternity leave. Throughout the period of integration, the County will continue to contribute toward your benefits as if you were receiving a full paycheck. Likewise you will continue to accrue leave and service credit toward your retirement.

It is not lawful to receive disability benefits plus a full paycheck. In other words, your total compensation (paycheck + disability) cannot exceed 100% of your standard base salary.

Your Responsibilities

As soon as you receive any SDI or PFL benefit payment notice (debit card, statement or check), please fax or email a copy of the payment notice to your department payroll technician. Typically you will receive a new statement every two weeks, so this will be a recurring responsibility during your leave of absence.

*** If individual circumstances prohibit you from carrying out these responsibilities, please call the County's Leave Manager, at (415) 473-6598 or email to HRLeaves@marincounty.org to make other arrangements.

Maternity Leave in a Nutshell

Two forms must be sent to Human Resources Leave Coordinator: the Request for Family Leave and the Physician's Certificate of Serious Medical Condition (or comparable medical document).

When possible, put in your leave request to your department a minimum of 30 days before leave begins. While you are on leave, you are encouraged to periodically stay in touch with your supervisor. Please give notice if there is a foreseeable change to your return to work date. Although the County gives you up to 6 months maternity leave, it is your responsibility to make sure the return date is known so that the department can plan for assignment coverage.

Returning to work after Pregnancy Disability Leave - If you were on an extended leave due to your medical condition, be sure to acquire a medical statement indicating your return to work date and any request for accommodations from your physician

Leave Time Off - Laws and County Policy

The County allows 6 months unpaid pregnancy leave.

If eligible, Family Medical Leave (FMLA), provides a maximum time off of 12 weeks and runs concurrently with Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) which provides a maximum time off of 4 months. If you have used the full 12 weeks of FMLA while on Pregnancy Disability Leave, then you may take 12 weeks of California Family Leave (CFRA) to bond with your baby. Everyone's situation is a bit different so the timeline for these leaves are dependent on your particular situation.

Benefit Changes

Should you drop your dependents (if any) from coverage while you are on an unpaid leave of absence, they will be notified of their rights under COBRA. If you drop your dependents, you must re-enroll them within 30 days of your return to work or either lose the opportunity to re-enroll them (dental and vision) or wait until open enrollment (medical).

Baby Benefits - must sign up for medical benefits within 30 days of birth or wait until open enrollment in the fall.

How You are Paid

You will use your own leave accruals, sick, vacation and other leaves to pay for your time off.

If eligible, you may be able to receive SDI:

  • 4 weeks prior to birth
  • 6 weeks normal delivery
  • 8 weeks C-section

If eligible, you may be able to receive PFL for another 6 weeks to bond with your new child.

The County will pay its customary amount toward your benefits while you are on FMLA, CFRA and PDL. If you go on leave without pay during this time, you will be responsible for your portion of benefits. Failure to pay within 30 days of the date that a payment is due will result in loss of coverage.

Integrating SDI and PFL with County pay will extend your leave accrual.

Resources

HR Leaves Coordinator – (415) 473-6598
HRLeaves@marincounty.org

Department of Finance – (415) 473-4135
DOF-Payroll@marincounty.org

Women Infant Children Program (WIC)
Breast Feeding Support – (415) 473-6889
MarinCountyWIC@marincounty.org

Information for Spouse, Domestic Partners, Adoptive Parents, and Guardians

As a new parent you have two laws that were designed to make life a bit easier for the time that you are off to bond with your new child. They are the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) if you are a domestic partner, and Paid Family Leave (PFL) through the Employment Development Department (EDD). 

Non Birth Mother Family Medical Leave and Parent Medical Leave Diagram

Protective Time Off Laws FMLA or CFRA

FMLA or CFRA  – if you are eligible this law provides you with up to 12 weeks of job protected, unpaid leave and the continuation of the usual County sponsored portion of your health benefits to bond and care for a new born, adopted or foster child. Since FMLA and CFRA only provide you with the protected time off work, how you are paid comes from your own accrued vacation and other accrued leave time. Note: You may only use up to six (6) days of your accrued sick leave and the rest will come from vacation or other leave time accrued. If you do not have enough leave accruals it will be an unpaid leave.

  • Eligibility - You must have worked for the County 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours in those 12 months.
  • Both you and your department need to coordinate your leave time so that it is not a hardship for either side.
  • If it happens that both you and your spouse work for the County, you get the 12 weeks FMLA protection between the two of you, not 12 weeks each.

Wage Replacement Law 

Paid Family Leave (PFL) – Is California’s insurance, through the Employment Development Department (EDD), that provides eligible employee’s partial income replacement for up to 6 weeks. Check your MOU to see if you are eligible. PFL will pay approximately 55% of your normal income, and begins after a 7 day waiting period. Once you are out on leave, EDD usually takes two to three weeks before you receive your first PFL debit card, during which time you will be using your own sick or other leave time. When you do get your statement of pay from EDD you must give a copy to your department payroll person so that they can give back what is owed to your leave balance.

 

See Panels Above for Information on: How to Request Leave; How to Apply for Paid Family Leave; Integration of PFL Payments; and Enrolling your Child in Benefits and Benefit Changes.