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Employer Paid Maternity Leave

We currently have an employer paid maternity leave for up to 8 weeks. We are under 50 employees and are located in CA. Do the employees going on maternity leave need to fill out any paperwork? I am currently have them filling out the DOL form WH-380. Is anything else needed or required?

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provide qualified employees of covered employers up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job protected leave for specified family and medical reasons, including bonding time with a newborn. Covered employers under both the FMLA and CFRA include those who employ 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

An employer who doesn’t meet eligibility criteria is not required to comply with either the FMLA or CFRA. However, employers in California must also consider their obligations under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

Under FEHA, employers with 5 or more employees must provide up to 4 months of job protected pregnancy disability leave (PDL). Employees disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions are able to take PDL either all at once or intermittently. Every woman working for a covered employer is eligible for PDL, regardless of full- or part-time status or length of service.

Upon return from PDL, the employee must be returned to her previous position or to a comparable position with similar pay. Additionally, if an employer provides group healthcare coverage, the employer is obligated to maintain such coverage for up to 4 months while the employee is on PDL leave.

Under California law, employers are obligated to inform employees of their right to request pregnancy disability leave. A notice must be posted conspicuously at the place of employment and provided in the employee handbook.

Also, under California law, employers are required to provide the Paid Family Leave, DE 2511, brochure to new employees and employees who request leave to care for a seriously ill family member or bond with a new child.

There is no requirement to use Form WH-380-E, even if you were covered under the FMLA. Though using the DOL forms is recommended and offering FMLA entitlements even if not legally required to do so is permissible, it’s important to have a clear maternity leave policy. You don’t want employees to think they’re covered under the FMLA when they’re actually not. So, it may be better practice to create a form similar to WH-380-E and omit any mention of the FMLA.

Just to note, under the FMLA, employers may require employees to submit a certification from a healthcare provider to support the employee’s need for FMLA leave to care for the employee’s own serious health condition i.e. complications during pregnancy, prenatal care, or hospital stays. However, the employer may not request such certification for leave solely to bond with a newborn child.

This entry was posted on Sunday, July 12th, 2015 at 7:38 pm and is filed under
Benefits, Labor Laws.
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