San Francisco Pregnancy, Family and Medical Leave Attorney

Pregnancy, Family and Medical Leave

At Rukin Hyland & Riggin LLP, we help employees who have lost their jobs or who have been treated unfairly for taking medical leave. We also counsel employers on ensuring that their leave policies are up-to-date.

When employees have to miss work because of their own health condition, their family member’s serious health condition, or because of military service, the last thing they should worry about is losing their job. In many cases, where employees request leave because of their own medical condition or to care for their ill family member, California and federal employment laws protect their job. These laws also prohibit employers from terminating or otherwise punishing employees who take protected medical or family leave.

Know Your California Family and Medical Leave Rights

Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), qualified employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid employee leave for:

Eligibility FMLA/CFRA leave: Employees must (1) work for their employer for at least 12 months; (2) work at a worksite with at least 50 employees, or if there are less than 50 employees, a worksite where the company employs at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius of the worksite; and (3) worked at least 1,250 hours in the year prior to the day they begin the leave.

Job and Benefit Protections: While on a protected leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s medical benefits as it would have done if the employee continued working. When returning from an FMLA or CFRA leave an employer must, in most circumstances, give the employee the same job or an equivalent position.

Additional Military Benefits: In 2008, Congress expanded the FMLA to provide up to 26 weeks of leave to spouses, children, parents, or next of kin for a covered service member who is recovering from a serious illness or injury sustained in the line of duty.

California Paid Family Leave (PFL)

California Paid Family Leave (PFL) program provides partial wage replacement for employees taking time off work to care for seriously ill family members or to bond with foster or adopted children. Currently, the PFL defines “family” to include children, spouses or domestic partners, and parents. In September 2013, California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 770, which expands PFL to include caring for seriously ill grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and parents-in-law, effective July 1, 2014. All employees covered by the State Disability Insurance (SDI) qualify for benefits under the PFL. Employees do not need to work for a set period to qualify and even employees of small employers are eligible for PFL.

Know Your California Pregnancy Leave Rights

Even if an employee does not qualify for an FMLA/CFRA leave, for example, if their employer has less than 50 employees, or if they have worked there less than 1,250 hours, so long as the employer has at least five employees, California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (PDLA) provides for up to four months of leave.

See also: What to Expect From Your California Employer When You’re Expecting

California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (PDLA)

Employers may require a medical certification from a health care provider. Generally, for normal pregnancies, providers will certify a leave of up to four weeks before birth, and six weeks after birth. For women who are disabled due to pregnancy or childbirth, employees may take up to four months of PDLA leave.

For individuals who take PDLA leave, employers must continue to pay for health care benefits. An employee generally has the right to return to the same position once her PDL leave is over unless, for legitimate business reasons unrelated to the employee’s pregnancy or leave, the employee would have been laid off even if she had not taken the leave.

Additional Benefits for San Francisco Employees

San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Employers in San Francisco must provide paid sick leave to their employees, including part-time and temporary employees. Employees may take this sick leave for their own illness or medical treatment, or to care for an ill family member.  For more details, download our free eBook.

Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance

Additionally, in San Francisco, where employers have 20 or more employees, any employee who has worked for six months or more with the employer and works at least eight hours per week on a regular basis, has the right to request to flexible a work arrangement. Employees may request such arrangements to assist with care for a child, a family member with a serious health condition, or a parent that is age 65 or older.  For more information, see our blog post.