Risk Management & Benefits
Effective January 1, 2005
1. Policy: California employees who become disabled by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions may request Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) in accordance with the guidelines as described in the CSEA & UF agreement. These guidelines are intended to and will be interpreted to comply with all applicable federal and state laws; and in particular, with the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"). Eligibility for PDL may be separate from any leave that employees may be entitled to under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") and the California Family Rights Act ("CFRA").
2. Duration: PDL may be available for the period of actual disability caused by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions up to a maximum of four months. PDL does not need to be taken in one continuous period of time, but can be taken on an as-needed basis. If taken on an as-needed basis, every effort should be made to minimize the disruption to GCCCD business. Time off for prenatal care, severe morning sickness, doctor ordered bed rest, childbirth, and recovery from childbirth, will all be counted against the PDL entitlement.
At the end of the employee's period of pregnancy disability (not to exceed four months), employees who are also eligible for a Family and Medical Leave (FMLA/CFRA), may take a leave up to 12 additional weeks for reasons of the birth of a child. The maximum possible combined leave for both Family and Medical Leave (FMLA/CFRA) and Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) for the reason of the birth of the child is 4 months and 12 weeks. This assumes that the employee is disabled by childbirth or related medical conditions for four months and then requests, and is eligible for, a 12-week family leave for the reason of the birth of a child. Pregnancy-related disability leave may be counted towards an employee's FMLA entitlement, but is in addition to an employee’s entitlement to leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).
3. Pay During PDL: Pregnancy Disability Leave is unpaid, except to the extent an employee has available sick leave, vacation time, or personal holiday time or donated sick time. Employees on a designated PDL must exhaust any accrued but unused sick leave during the period of the leave and may elect to use any accrued but unused vacation and/or, personal holiday time during the period of the leave.
Any portion of a leave that occurs after all paid time off has been exhausted is without pay. Any unpaid or paid portions of a leave shall be added together and will not extend the 4 month total leave period limitation allowed under this pregnancy-related disability leave policy.
Employees are responsible for applying for any applicable state or other disability income benefits. Any vacation, sick leave, or personal holiday time that is paid during a PDL will be coordinated as appropriate with any State Disability benefits in an effort to minimize the impact of a leave of absence for the employee. Claim forms for California State Disability benefits are available through the Employment Development Department’s website at www.edd.cahwnet.gov/diind.htm.
4. Benefits During PDL: Employees who take a pregnancy-related disability leave will be entitled to continue group health insurance coverage on the same terms as an unpaid leave of absence or as a leave covered under FMLA, whichever is applicable.
Additionally, if the employee is in a paid leave status from GCCCD, holidays that falls within the leave period will be considered paid holidays, not vacation, sick leave, compensatory or personal holiday time. Any portion of a leave that occurs after all paid time off benefits have been exhausted will be without pay.
Employees on an unpaid PDL will not accrue additional benefits such as vacation, sick leave or holiday pay. However, employees will retain their employee status during the period of the approved PDL, and their absence will not be considered a break in service for purposes of determining longevity. Once an employee returns from PDL, the employee will be credited with service accrued during the period of the PDL.
5. Procedure: An employee who plans to request a PDL must provide written notice by completing the "Request for Leave" form and submitting it to the Risk Management/Benefits Department. Employees must provide at least 30 days notice when the need for a pregnancy-related disability leave is foreseeable. In the event of an emergency, or when the need for a leave is not foreseeable, notice must be given to GCCCD within seven business days of learning of the need for the leave.
The employee must provide Risk Management/Benefits Office with written medical verification by a certified health care provider of the need for a disability leave.
The certification should include:
The date on which the employee became disabled due to pregnancy;
The probable duration of the period(s) of disability;
If the request is for leave, a statement that, due to the disability, the employee is unable to work at all or to perform any one or more of the essential functions of the position without undue risk to the employee or others, or to the successful completion of the pregnancy;
Medical certification should be provided, where possible, in advance of the leave, but not later than 15 calendar days from Risk Management/Benefits Department request.
6. Pregnancy Disability Leave Risk Management /Benefits
Except in cases of emergency, where prior notice cannot be given, a request for leave may be denied or deferred until appropriate notification and medical verification are given.
If an employee requests an extension of the leave beyond the time estimated by the health care provider, the employee must submit recertification prior to the original expiration date. Extensions will not be granted that cause the total period of the pregnancy-related disability leave to exceed the 4-month limitation.
GCCCD requires written medical verification by a health care provider of an employee’s ability to return to the original job duties at the end of a PDL.
California Pregnancy Leave Integrated With The FMLA
CFRA runs concurrently with FMLA, except in the case of PDL
10.9. Pregnancy & Child Care Leave
10.9.1. An employee may use sick leave if she is unable to render service to the District as a result of her pregnancy, as verified by her physician. Pregnancy Leave shall be granted by the District in accordance with the provisions of the California Education Code.
10.9.2. A pregnant employee may continue to work as long as her health will permit, as certified by her physician, and so long as she can carry out her duties and responsibilities. The employee must file a statement from her physician, or District approved medical advisor, not later than the fourth (4th) month of pregnancy indicating the estimated date of delivery, that the employee is in good health, and she can continue to carry out her assigned duties and responsibilities without danger to herself or her unborn child.
10.9.3. The use of sick leave for pregnancy-related disability shall be treated the same as any other disability for which sick leave is granted. In order to use sick leave for pregnancy disability, the employee must have actually rendered paid service to the District immediately prior to the disability.
10.9.4. A pregnant employee who wishes to take a personal leave without pay to prepare for childbirth may request such leave for a time mutually agreeable to the employee and the District. The District will pay all costs of the health and welfare benefits for the first three (3) months of such leave. At the expiration of the three (3) month period, the employee may arrange with the District to continue her health and welfare benefits at her own expense, subject to the insurance carrier's approval.
10.9.5. Child Care Leave after the birth of the child may be granted upon request, as an elective leave for a period of up to twelve (12) months. Such leave shall be without compensation or credit toward service and shall not be considered as personal illness, such leave may be utilized for adoption. Child Care Leave, when combined with a preparation for childbirth leave, other than for disability, shall not exceed one (1) year.
10.9.6. An employee returning from pregnancy leave shall provide a physician's statement indicating that the returning employee's health will permit her to discharge the full responsibilities of her position.
13.11. Family Care Leave
13.11.1. Under the California Family Rights Act of 1991, unit members having more than one year of continuous service with the District and are eligible for at least one employee benefit, have the right to an unpaid Family Care Leave of up to four (4) months in a twenty-four (24) month period for the birth or adoption of their child for the serious health condition of their child, parent, or spouse.
This leave, contains a guarantee of reinstatement to the same or to a similar position at the end of the leave, subject to any defense allowed under the law. If possible, unit members must provide at least 30 calendar days written advance notice for foreseeable events (such as the expected birth of a child or a planned medical treatment of a family member).
For events that unforeseeable 30 days in advance, the District needs notification as soon as one learns of the need for a leave, but in any event, no later than five (5) working days from learning of the need for the leave.
The District shall respond to the leave request as soon as possible and in any event, no later than ten (10) days after receiving the request.
13.11.2. Failure to comply with these notice rules is ground for, and may result in, denial or deferral of the requested leave until compliance with the notice policy.
13.11.3. The District may require certification from the health care provider of a child, parent, or spouse who has a serious health condition before allowing unit members a leave to take care of that family member.
13.11.4. Any family care leave taken must be for at least two weeks, except that unit members may request a shorter leave (from one day to two weeks) on any two occasions during a twenty-four month period. If a unit member is taking a leave for the birth or adoption of a child, they must initiate the leave within one year of the birth or adoption.
Pregnant unit members have certain rights under the Act to Take a Pregnancy Disability Leave and also a Family Care Leave; members should check regarding their individual situation. There are certain exceptions under the act regarding eligibility for a Family Care Leave. The District is legally permitted to deny a request for leave under certain conditions.
13.11.5. Unit members may use accrued sick leave for the period of Family Care Leave if mutually agreed upon by the district and the employee. Unpaid leave impacts unit members' benefits in the same manner as a personal leave without pay.
13.11.6. Contact AFT Guild Local 1931 if you need more information regarding your rights for this type of leave.
Director, Employee and Labor Relations