•                                               INTEGRATED DISABILITY MANAGEMENT
                                                     Dawn Watkins, Director

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     Absence Management

     Protected Leaves and Absences 

    This information will help you navigate Protected Leaves and Absences as they are applied at Los Angeles Unified School District with the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA), California Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (PDL), and California Paid Parental Leave (PPL).

    You'll find helpful materials such as forms and publications, frequently asked questions and checklists, and practical tools and resources to gain a better understanding of Protected Leaves and Absences and how they apply to you.  Whether you are an employee who may need to request a leave or an administrator or supervisor who must administer one, here you will find all of the information you need.

The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) requires the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:

  • Birth of an employee’s son or daughter (“bonding” or “parental leave”). Leave must be completed prior to the son or daughter’s 1st birthday.
  • Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care, including time to prepare for the placement, as well as, bonding time after the placement of the child. Leave must be completed within one year of the child being placed with the employee.
  • To care for the employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform one or more essential functions of the employee’s job.
  • To care for an employee’s son, daughter, parent, spouse, or domestic partner (CFRA only) who has a serious health condition, including incapacity due to pregnancy and for prenatal medical care. (See Definitions.)
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the employee’s son’s, daughter’s, parent’s, or spouse’s active duty in the United States Armed Forces (or if such eligible family member has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in support of a contingency operation (FMLA only).
  • To care for the employee’s son, daughter, parent, spouse, or next of kin who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness while on active military duty in the Armed Forces (FMLA only).

 

*The definition of a child is son or daughter: biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis who is either under age 18, or age 18 or older and “incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.”

** The definition of In loco parentis: a type of relationship in which a person has put themselves in the situation of a parent by assuming and discharging the obligations of a parent to a minor child, including persons with day-to-day responsibilities to care for or financially support a minor child.

The California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDL) requires the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to provide up to 18 weeks of job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:

  • A physical or mental condition related to pregnancy or childbirth that prevents an employee from performing essential duties of the employee’s job, or if the employee’s job would cause undue risk to the employee or the employee’s pregnancy’s successful completion.

 

FMLA/CFRA and PDL regulations require that the District identify an employee’s need for FMLA/CFRA and/or PDL protections. The Administrator/Supervisor or Designee is responsible for initiating the required notifications and eligibility checks.

 

An employee may be eligible for FMLA/CFRA and/or PDL protections in the event of:

  • Employee’s condition or employee’s son, daughter, parent, spouse, or domestic partner requires inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential care facility.
  • Incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days and a regimen of continuing treatment.
  • Intermittent absences or reduced work schedule absences for medical appointments, treatment or therapy, or flare-ups of a medical condition.

 

In all instances, the Administrator/Supervisor or Designee may ask additional questions to determine if the leave is FMLA/CFRA, PDL and/or PPL-qualifying. Once the potential need for FMLA/CFRA, PDL, and/or PPL has been established, the Administrator/Supervisor or Designee should issue the FMLA-2 "Employee Eligibility and Employee & Rights and Responsibilities" notice and the appropriate certification form (FMLA-1, FMLA-8, or FMLA-9) within five business days.

Eligibility Requirements

The following are the requirements for FMLA/CFRA Protection:

  • Employment with the District for a combined total of at least 12 months at any time – full or part-time, temporary, probationary, or seasonal employment counts towards the 12 months of employment. Employment periods preceding a break in service of seven years or more need not be counted in determining whether the employee has been employed by the District for at least 12 months.
  • Must have worked at least 130 days during the year immediately preceding the commencement of the FMLA/CFRA absence or leave. (Units A, E, & G; which includes School Police, Skilled Craft Workers, Playground Aides, and Classified Subs/Temps, must have worked at least 1250 hours during the year immediately preceding the commencement of the FMLA/CFRA absence or leave.)
    • To determine the work time requirement:
      • All units except A, E, G, & Classified Subs/Temps: Calculate the sum of the employee’s Regular, Z-Time, Miscellaneous, & Professional Development wage types for the 12 months immediately preceding the commencement of the FMLA/CFRA absence or leave and divide the sum by the employee’s scheduled daily work hours. If the result of dividing the employee’s scheduled daily work hours by the sum of the hours worked equals 130 days or more, the employee meets the worktime requirement.
      • Units A, E, G, & Classified Subs/Temps: Calculate the sum of the employee’s Regular, Z-Time, Miscellaneous, Professional Development, Overtime, & Auxiliary wage types for the 12 months immediately preceding the commencement of the FMLA/CFRA absence or leave. If the sum equals 1250 hours or more, the employee meets the worktime requirement.

Employee eligibility is determined (and notice must be provided) at the commencement of the first instance of absence or leave for each FMLA/CFRA-qualifying reason in the applicable 12-month period. All FMLA/CFRA absences for the same qualifying reason are considered a single leave and employee eligibility as to that reason for leave does not change during the applicable 12-month period.

An employee may be on non-FMLA/CFRA absence or leave at the time the 12-month eligibility requirement is met, and in that event, any portion of the leave taken for an FMLA/CFRA-qualifying reason after the employee meets the eligibility requirement would be FMLA/CFRA leave.

 

The following are the requirements for Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) Protection:

  • There is no service or worktime requirement for PDL.
  • Employees who meet the 12 months of employment AND 130 days worked (1250 hours worked for units A, E, G, & Classified Subs) eligibility requirements under FMLA/CFRA and continue to be absent due to disabilities relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions after exhausting the 18 workweeks of PDL, will continue to be protected for up to an additional 12 workweeks under CFRA.

 

The following are the requirements for Paid Parental Leave (PPL) Protection:

  • Employment with the District for a combined total of at least 12 months at any time – full or part-time, temporary, probationary, or seasonal employment counts towards the 12 months of employment. Employment periods preceding a break in service of seven years or more need not be counted in determining whether the employee has been employed by the District for at least 12 months.
  • There is no worktime requirement for PPL. Only classified and certificated employees are eligible. Substitute employees, temporary employees, unclassified employees, and employees who are neither classified nor certificated are NOT eligible.

 

12-Month Period (FMLA/CFRA Year) 

The District’s 12-month period in which the 12 workweeks of leave entitlement under FMLA/CFRA and/or PPL is available to an eligible employee is measured forward from commencement of the employee’s first FMLA/CFRA and/or PPL absence or leave. The next 12-month period would commence the first time the employee takes an FMLA/CFRA and/or PPL absence or leave after completion of any previous 12-month period. 

PDL is per pregnancy. There is no 12-month period, but rather an employee is entitled to up to 18 workweeks per pregnancy. 

PPL can only be utilized during the first year following the birth or placement of a child with the parent through adoption or foster care. Eligible employees are entitled to one 12 workweek period of Paid Parental Leave during any 12-month period measured forward from commencement of the employee’s first FMLA/CFRA and/or PPL absence or leave. PPL runs concurrently with FMLA/CFRA absence or leave.

The District requires that an employee's absence or leave to care for the employee's covered family member with a serious health condition, or due to the employee's own serious health condition, including pregnancy, that makes the employee unable to perform one or more of the essential functions of the employee's position, or to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness, be supported by a certification issued by the health care provider of the employee or the employee's family member.

  • The Administrator/Supervisor or Designee must provide notice in writing (FMLA-1) and request than an employee furnish certification within five (5) business days of identifying the need or the employee giving notice of the need for absence or leave.
  • The employee must provide a complete and sufficient certification or request an extension within 15 calendar days of the request.

 

A Health Care Provider is defined as:

  • A doctor of medicine or osteopathy who is authorized to practice medicine or surgery (as appropriate) by the State in which the doctor practices; or
  • Any other person determined by the Secretary to be capable of providing health care services.

 

The phrase authorized to practice in the State as used in the definition of a Health Care Provider means that the provider must be authorized to diagnose and treat physical or mental health conditions. This includes a health care provider who practices in a country other than the United States, who is authorized to practice in accordance with the law of that country, and who is performing within the scope of his or her practice as defined under such law.

 

The "Health Care Provider Certification Form" must be filled out completely. The Health Care Provider must certify that there is a "serious medical condition" that causes an "incapacity" and that requires "continuing medical treatment". Please make sure that the Health Care Provider has indicated the duration of the medical condition, the frequency and duration of the medical treatment and/or intermittent leave, and has verified that there is a medical necessity for a reduced or intermittent schedule, if applicable.

If medical treatments change, or the employee's absences or leave exceed what is initially outlined by the Health Care Provider, the Administrator/Supervisor or Designee can request recertification.

 

The District requires that an employee’s absence or leave because of bonding with a newborn or child placed with the parent through adoption or foster care be supported by Evidence of Relationship:

  • The Administrator/Supervisor or Designee must provide notice in writing (FMLA-8) and request than an employee furnish Evidence or Relationship within five (5) business days of identifying the need or the employee giving notice of the need for absence or leave.
  • The employee must provide a complete and sufficient information or request an extension within 15 calendar days of the request.

 

Bonding Form/Certification

Description

Health Care Provider Certification of Birth

An original letter obtained from the birth mother’s health care provider or hospital where the birth took place that includes the mother’s name and the child’s date of birth.

Birth Certificate

A copy of the certificate issued by the city or county office in which the child is born.

Foster care Placement Letter

A copy of the letter of foster care placement issued by the county or city department of social services or authorized voluntary foster care agency. New placement of foster care documentation must indicate the date the child was placed in your custody (home).

Adoption Placement Letter

A copy of the letter of adoption placement issued by the county or city department of social services or authorized adoption agency. New placement of adoption documentation must indicate the date the child was placed in your custody (home).

Court Documents of Adoption

A copy of the court document finalizing adoption or documentation in furtherance or court order finalizing adoption. New placement of adoption documentation must indicate the date the child was placed in your custody (home).

 

The District requires that an employee's absence or leave because of a qualifying exigency be supported by a certification.

  • The Administrator/Supervisor or Designee must provide notice in writing (FMLA-9) and request than an employee furnish certification within five (5) business days of identifying the need or the employee giving notice of the need for absence or leave.
  • The employee must provide a complete and sufficient certification or request an extension within 15 calendar days of the request.

 

Important Tips:

  • An Administrator/Supervisor or Designee must not ask for a diagnosis nor speak to the Health Care Provider directly regarding the employee's medical condition.
  • If the Administrator/Supervisor or Designee is unsure of what the Health Care Provider has indicated or the certification is unclear, please contact the Protected Absence Program at fmla@lausd.net or call (213) 241-3954 for assistance.
  • In accordance with Title II of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), all medical information received from the employee must be kept confidential and separate from the employee's personnel file.
  • The employee must be given every opportunity (a minimum of 7 calendar days and up to 30 calendar days) to correct any deficiency on the certification form.

There is no need to send the forms to the Protected Absence Program unless requested by the Protected Absence staff. Designations must be done by the Administrator/Supervisor or Designee.

Once the Site Administrator/Supervisor or Designee has reviewed the Health Care Provider Certification, Certification of Qualifying Exigency, or Evidence of Relationship and determined the absence is being taken for a FMLA/CFRA, PDL, and/or PPL-qualifying reason, an Approval Designation Notice (FMLA-3) shall be given to the employee. 

A written designation letter is important because it notifies an employee that their absence or leave will could towards their 12 workweeks of job protection, and makes the employee aware of their FMLA/CFRA, PDL, and/or PPL start and end dates. Designation letters also help the Administrator/Supervisor or Designee keep track of the qualifying period and need for recertification should appointments and treatment and/or episodic flare-ups due to a serious health condition extend to subsequent 12-month period. 

If the Health Care Provider Certification, Certification of Qualifying Exigency, or Evidence of Relationship is not received, is incomplete, or is not for an FMLA/CFRA, PDL, and/or PPL-qualifying reason, the Designation Not Approved Notice (FMLA-4) shall be given to the employee. 

If the employee exhausts their 12 workweeks or FMLA/CFRA and/or PPL (18 workweeks of PDL) leave entitlement, the Exhaustion of Protected Absence (FMLA-5) shall be given to the employee. 

In all instances, the designation notice shall be given to the employee within five (5) business days, absent extenuating circumstances, of determining sufficient information has been provided to support the absence or leave request.

FMLA/CFRA and/or PDL can be paid, unpaid, or a combination of both.

  • If the FMLA/CFRA absence is for the employee’s own Serious Health Condition, the employee is required to use any available full-pay and half-pay illness and/or vacation time before going unpaid.
  • Employees on PDL are allowed, but not required to use any available full-pay and half-pay illness and/or vacation time.
  • If the FMLA/CFRA absence is to care for the employee’s son, daughter, parent, spouse, or domestic partner, the employee is required to use any available Kin Care, Personal Necessity, and vacation time. All other time is unpaid.
    • If the employee is receiving benefits under California Paid Family Leave program, however, the employee is not required to use available Kin Care, Personal Necessity, or vacation benefits. 

PPL is a paid absence or leave.

  • If the absence is for the purposes of bonding with a newborn or a child placed in the parent’s home through adoption or foster care under Paid Parental Leave (PPL), the employee is required to use any available full-pay and half-pay illness. Employees on PPL are allowed, but not required to use any available vacation time.
    • If an employee exhausts all available illness time, including all accumulated illness leave, and continues to be absent from his or her duties on account of PPL, the employee will be compensated at a rate of 50 percent of his or her regular salary (“partial pay”) for the remaining portion of the 12-workweeks of paid parental leave. An employee who does not exhaust all of his or her available accrued illness time is ineligible for, and cannot access, the “partial pay” benefit. 

Absences and leaves requested under FMLA/CFRA, PDL, and/or PPL that has been designated approved should be time reported using the appropriate Protected Absence Codes to ensure employees receive full-pay and half-pay illness, Kin Care, Personal Necessity, Paid Parental Leave, and Vacation time. 

FMLA/CFRA, and PDL absences and leaves for an employee’s own serious health condition and/or the serious health condition of a qualifying family member can be continuous (single, continuous period of time and/or reduced work schedule) or intermittent (appointments/treatment and/or episodic flare-ups).

  • Continuous absences are counted in weeks.
    • Employees are allowed a maximum of 12 workweeks of protection in an FMLA/CFRA year. This includes time taken under PPL.
    • Employees are allowed a maximum of 18 workweeks of protection per pregnancy.
  • Intermittent absences are counted in days or hours.
    • Days:
      • Employees are allowed a maximum of 60 workdays of protection in an FMLA/CFRA year. This includes time taken under PPL.
      • Employees are allowed a maximum of 90 workdays of protection per pregnancy.
    • Hours:
      • Employees are allowed a maximum number of hours of protection in an FMLA/CFRA year based upon their assigned daily hours. For example, an 8-hour a day employee is allowed a maximum of 480 hours of job protection in an FMLA/CFRA year (8 hours per day times 60 days equals 480 hours).
      • Employees are allowed a maximum number of hours of protection in an PDL per pregnancy based upon their assigned daily hours. For example, an 8-hour a day employee is allowed a maximum of 720 hours of job protection per pregnancy (8 hours per day times 90 days equals 720 hours).

Parental Leave (Bonding or PPL) must be taken for a minimum duration of two weeks. Requests for Bonding or PPL absences or leaves of less than two weeks’ duration shall be granted on no more than any two occasions within the FMLA/CFRA or PPL year. Half days and/or reduced work schedules are not allowed.

Absences and leaves should be tracked using the Protected Absence Tracking Sheet to ensure employees entitlement is designated appropriately. Compare absences to the certification on file and consult Absence Management if the leave usage exceeds the frequency and/or duration of leave indicated by the health care provider. In these instances, a request for additional information may be appropriate.

FORMS FOR DESIGNATING PROTECTED ABSENCES AND LEAVES (Administrators/Supervisors Only):

The Protected Absence Process Guide will guide you in determining if FMLA/CFRA, PDL, and/or PPL leave is applicable and managing protected absences.

When an employee notifies the Administrator/Supervisor or Designee of a need for absence or leave from work, and it may appear to qualify for protection under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), the California Family Rights Act ("CFRA"), the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDL), and/or the California Education Code Paid Parental Leave (PPL) please provide the appropriate forms below to the employee:

Employee Eligibility and Entitlement & Rights and Responsibilities (FMLA-2 Fillable)
Health Care Provider Certification Form (FMLA-1 Fillable)
Evidence of Relationship (EOR) Information Sheet: Newborn, Adoption, or Foster Care Parental Leave (FMLA-8 Fillable)
Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave (FMLA-9 - Fillable)

When the Administrator/Supervisor or Designee has enough information to approve an employee's absence(s) under FMLA/CFRA, PDL, and/or PPL, the Administrator/Supervisor or Designee must give the employee an Approval Designation Notice (FMLA-3 Fillable).

For employees who do not meet the eligibility and/or entitlement requirements under FMLA/CFRA, PDL, and/or PPL, do not submit a complete and sufficient certification in response to their request for a protected absence, or FMLA/CFRA, PDL, and/or PPL does not apply to their request, please give the employee a Designation Not Approved Notice (FMLA-4 Fillable).

To keep track of an employee's intermittent protected absences, please use Protected Absence Tracking Sheet (FMLA-6).

When an employee has exhausted their job-protected, leave entitlement, provide the employee with the Exhaustion of Protected Absence (FMLA-5 Fillable).

ALL PAPERWORK PERTAINING TO EMPLOYEE'S PROTECTED ABSENCE SHOULD BE KEPT IN A CONFIDENTIAL FILE, SEPARATE FROM THEIR REGULAR PERSONNEL FILE.

Please click on the link below to access the Parental Leave Checklist Booklet. To print in booklet form, make sure your printer Page Sizing & Handling is set to:

  • 11 x 8.5 paper
  • Print on both sides of paper
  • Flip on short edge

Once printing in complete, fold the pages in half to achieve the booklet format.

 Parental Leave Checklist Booklet

 

This checklist is provided for informational and discussion purposes only. It cannot modify or change District Policy, Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA), Personnel Commission (PC) Rules, or Federal and/or state laws in any way. The District’s Policy Bulletins, Personnel Commission (PC) rules, and Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) information related to the checklist can be found here: District Protected Absence and Leaves of Absence Information

Please click on the link below to access the PDL Checklist Booklet. To print in booklet form, make sure your printer Page Sizing & Handling is set to:

  • 11 x 8.5 paper
  • Print on both sides of paper
  • Flip on short edge

 

Once printing in complete, fold the pages in half to achieve the booklet format.

 PDL: Pregnancy Checklist Booklet

 

This checklist is provided for informational and discussion purposes only. It cannot modify or change District Policy, Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA), Personnel Commission (PC) Rules, or Federal and/or state laws in any way. The District’s Protected Absence and Pregnancy-Related Policy Bulletins, Personnel Commission (PC) Rules, and Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) information related to the checklist can be found here: District Protected Absence and Leaves of Absence Information