Family Leave - Know your rights

posted Mar 5, 2012, 3:15 PM by Yuba City Teachers Association   [ updated Apr 22, 2013, 6:06 PM ]

Know your rights for Family Leave. 

There may have been some misinformation from the District.


Did you know that employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave for the birth of a child, the adoption or placement of a minor foster child in their home, or a serious health condition of self, parent, child, or spouse under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) without losing their job or their medical benefits during that time?  I have inserted more general information and details about this below.  And would be happy to answer any questions or help you get to the people that can.


This area of law has confused some of our members and perhaps even the District Office.  YOUR MEDICAL BENEFITS CONTINUE UNDER CFRA and your CFRA leave does not start until after the exhaustion of your own sick leave - at least in the case of pregnancy.


This is fairly straight forward except in the case of new mothers.  So, if you have had a baby in the past three years and been denied medical benefits - this is for you.  Your CFRA leave to bond with your child starts AFTER you have exhausted your disability leave (generally four weeks before birth and 6 or 8 weeks after unless otherwise indicated by physician).  After that period of time you are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of CFRA leave AND YOUR MEDICAL BENEFITS CONTINUE.  If you took an extended leave after the birth of your child and were denied benefits or were asked to pay for them in this 12 week period, please contact me as there may have been an error that we can correct.


For any woman pregnant or who might become pregnant, you need to be aware that you are entitled to 12 weeks of CFRA with benefits after the exhaustion of disability leave.


For any member in need of family leave time to care for a family member or to welcome a new family member (birth or adoption), you should be aware of this option.


If you have any doubts about your right to leave time, your continuation of benefits or disability leave, PLEASE ASK.  YCTA will help to get you the information and expertise to answer those questions and advocate on your behalf when needed.


Please feel free to call or email.  Our goal is be here to advocate for our members in the good times and the tough times.  Please don't hesitate to ask for help or more information.


Some general information about CFRA:


With similar provisions to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the CFRA allows employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave for the birth of a child, the adoption or placement of a minor foster child in their home, or a serious health condition of self, parent, child, or spouse. California family leave must be taken within one year of the qualifying event. 


CFRA does not, however, cover pregnancy-related disability or childbirth-related recovery. However, recent mothers may take CFRA leave for purposes of parent-child bonding in addition to any leave taken under California’s pregnancy disability laws.


CFRA defines a “serious health condition” as an impairment, illness, injury or condition requiring either inpatient care or ongoing treatment by a health care provider. Children whose illnesses spark CFRA benefits must be either under the age of 18 or dependent adults. CFRA applies to registered domestic partners under the California domestic partnership law, though domestic partners are not covered by federal family and medical leave laws.


Covered employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a year, and CFRA requires employers to hold your position during that period. You need not take all of your CFRA leave at once; instead, you can take the time off in increments throughout the year, depending on your circumstances.


Your employer must continue to pay for health and dental plans and other benefits during your CFRA leave. However, you will be obligated to pay back those premiums if you choose not to return to work. Your employer must also continue to allow health benefits and the accrual of seniority, pension and retirement benefits in your absence.


In closing I wish you all good health for you and your loved ones.  May all of your family leave be to allow you the time to form loving relationships with the newest members of your family.  YCTA will be there in those times of joy as well as the tough times, so ask for the help you need. 


Take care and Good health,