INTEGRATED DISABILITY MANAGEMENTDawn Watkins, Director
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
FMLA Eligibility and Entitlement
- 1. What are the qualifying reasons that I can use for FMLA/CFRA?
- 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, domestic partner (CFRA only), sibling (CFRA only), grandparent (CFRA only), or grandchild (CFRA only) who has a serious health condition, including incapacity due to pregnancy and for prenatal medical care. (See BUL-1205 for 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.
- 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 for up to 26 workweeks (FMLA only).
- 2. What are the eligibility requirements to take an FMLA/CFRA leave?
- Employees are eligible if they have worked for LAUSD for at least one year over the past seven years, and worked the equivalent of 130 workdays (or 1,250 hours for school police, skilled craft workers, playground aides and classified subs/temps) over the 12 months prior to the first day of absence due to a serious health condition.
Please note: there is no work-time requirement for Pregnancy Disability Leave. The law provides up to 18 work weeks of job protections.
- 3. How much leave am I entitled to under FMLA/CFRA?
- Eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 work weeks of protected leave and/or absence within any FMLA/CFRA year (12 month period) no matter how many FMLA-qualifying reasons an employee may have.
- For employees taking Pregnancy Disability leave, the employee is entitled to up to 18 work weeks of protected leave per pregnancy.
- Employees who are caring for a family member in the military who has sustained a serious injury or illness while on active duty are entitled to up to 26 weeks of protected leave.
- 4. What is an FMLA/CFRA year?
- An FMLA/CFRA year is the 12-month period that an eligible employee has to utilize their 12 work weeks of protection. It begins with the first qualifying FMLA/CFRA absence that the employee has.
For example, if an eligible employee requests FMLA/CFRA protection beginning with their first FMLA/CFRA qualifying absence on January 4, 2013, then their FMLA year would end on January 3, 2014.
- 5. I am substitute teacher, am I qualified to take an FMLA/CFRA leave?
- Substitute teachers can take a FMLA/CFRA leave if they meet the eligibility requirements of one year of service and 130 workdays in the year preceding the leave. If the FMLA/CFRA leave is for more than one pay period, FMLA/CFRA will protect their health benefits up to 12 work weeks.
- 6. Will I get paid while I am off on FMLA/CFRA protected leave and/or absence for my own serious health condition?
- FMLA/CFRA can be paid, unpaid or a combination of both.
- If the FMLA/CFRA absence is for the employee's own Serious Health Condition, then the employee is required to use any available full-pay illness, half-pay illness or vacation time.
- If the FMLA/CFRA absence is to care for the employee's Family Member, the employee is required to use any available Kin Care, Personal Necessity or vacation time. All other time is unpaid.
- If the employee is receiving benefits under the California Paid Family Leave program, however, the employee is not required to use available Kin Care, Personal Necessity or vacation benefits.
- 7. Will I get paid while I am off on a FMLA/CFRA-protected family care leave?
- If your FMLA/CFRA absence is to care for a family member, District Policy requires you to use any available Kin Care, Personal Necessity or vacation time before taking unpaid time off. However, if you are receiving benefits under the California Paid Family Leave program, you are not required to use available Kin Care, Personal Necessity or vacation benefits before taking unpaid time off.
- 8. Can I request to go unpaid during my FMLA protected leave or absence?
- No, you may not. District policy requires employees to use all benefited time (i.e. illness and vacation) prior to taking an unpaid leave.
- 9. Is Workers' Compensation a protected absence?
- No, Workers' Compensation is not a protected absence. The employee must apply for FMLA/CFRA for Workers' Compensation absences to be protected.
- 10. Can FMLA/CFRA protection be granted retroactively?
- Yes, FMLA/CFRA protection can be granted retroactively, but only in the current fiscal year.
- 11. How are protected absences reported during periods of time when the worksite is shutdown (Spring Break, Winter Break/shut down)?
- FMLA/CFRA/PDL/PPL is not counted during times when a worksite is shut down for breaks.
- No protected absence codes can be used when a location is shut down during breaks.
- 12. Does FMLA/CFRA have an effect on my District seniority or retirement benefits?
- Paid or unpaid FMLA, CFRA and/or PDL leave will not constitute a break in service for the purposes of establishing longevity or seniority, or for layoff, recall, promotion, job assignment, or seniority-related benefits.
- Unpaid FMLA, CFRA and/or PDL leave, however, is not treated as credited service time for permanency, retirement, or benefit accrual, vesting, and eligibility with CalSTRS or CalPERS.
Paid Parental Leave or Baby Bonding
- 1. What is the difference between a child bonding leave and child care leave?
- Child bonding is part of FMLA and CFRA which allow an employee to take up to 12 work weeks of absence to bond with their newborn during the child's first 12 months.
- A child care leave is separate from FMLA and CFRA. It is a contract provision that allows an employee to take additional time off to be with their child. The provisions and time frames of a child care leave are different for Certificated and Classified employees. For more information, please refer to your respective Collective Bargaining Agreement.
- A child care leave is a contract provision and does not protect your health benefits. Thus, your benefits will be terminated if you are in unpaid status for more than one pay period.
- 2. Is the eligibility requirement for a child bonding leave the same as a leave for another FMLA/CFRA reason?
If you choose to take unpaid parental leave (child bonding) the eligibility requirements are the same as for FMLA/CFRA. The eligibility requirement (1 year of service and 130 workdays or 1,250 work hours) is the same for all employees. However, when we measure the 130 workdays (or 1,250 work hours) depends on who is taking the child bonding leave and when they take it.
- If you are a mother who is going directly from your pregnancy disability leave into a child bonding leave without returning to work, then we measure your eligibility from the first day you take off on your long term pregnancy disability.
- If you are a mother and have returned to work immediately after your pregnancy disability and are taking your child bonding leave at a later date, we measure your eligibility from the first date of your child bonding leave.
- If you are a mother who delivered during an off track time (i.e. summer break) and is capable of returning to work at the beginning of the school year, then we measure your eligibility from the first date of your child bonding leave.
- If you are the father of a newborn, we measure your eligibility from the first date of your child bonding leave.
- 3. How long is a child bonding leave?
- An employee is entitled to have up to 12 weeks of child bonding by the baby's first birthday, under the protection of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).
- 4. My spouse is also a district employee, do we each get 12 weeks off to do child bonding?
- Yes, effective January1, 2021 if both parents work for the District they can now take 12 workweeks each to bond.
- 5. I am going to adopt or foster a child, am I allowed to do child bonding?
- Yes, if you are adopting or fostering a child, you are allowed to do child bonding. You get up to 12 weeks of child bonding, from the beginning date of the placement.
- 6. Are fathers of newborns or adoption of a child entitled to a child bonding leave?
- Yes. Fathers will use their FMLA and CFRA concurrently when bonding with a newborn or adoption of a child.
- 7. Can I take a child bonding leave intermittently?
- Yes, you can. You do not have to take the 12 work weeks consecutively. However, District policy requires employees to bond for a minimum of 2 work weeks; two exceptions are allowed for leave of less than 2 work weeks.
Remember: Even if you do your child bonding intermittently, you are still limited to taking the 12 weeks by your baby's first birthday.
- 8. Is a child bonding leave paid or unpaid?
- Child bonding leave can be paid or unpaid.
- 9. Will I still have health benefits if I take an unpaid child bonding leave?
- Yes, FMLA/CFRA will protect your District paid health benefits for up to 12 weeks.
- 10. Can I extend my child bonding leave?
- Please refer to your respective Collective Bargaining Agreement to see what you are eligible for or contact your appropriate HR department for more information.
- For certificated employees, please call HR Certificated Placement and Assignments at (213) 241-5100.
- For classified employees, please call the Personnel Commission at (213) 241-7800.
Pregnancy Leave (also known as Maternity Leave)
- 1. What is the Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (PDL)?
- The Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (PDL) is the State law that gives an employee who is pregnant up to 18 work weeks of protected leave and/or absence. Unlike FMLA and CFRA, there is no work time requirement to be eligible for PDL.
- 2. What does it mean to be disabled by pregnancy?
- 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.
- 3. Will I get paid over the summer if I am on a maternity leave?
- Please refer to your respective Collective Bargaining Agreement to read about your pay. You may also call your appropriate HR department to get more information.
- For certificated employees, please call HR Certificated Placement and Assignments at (213) 241-5100.
- For classified employees, please call Personnel Commission at (213) 241-7800.
Submission of Forms
- 1. Where do I submit my FMLA and/or Leave of Absence documents?
- FMLA Documents are maintained at the worksite except for people working in the following Divisions: Facilities, Food Services, ITD, and Transportation. Documents for people working in these Divisions are submitted to your Human Resources Department.
- Leave of Absence Paperwork for Classified employees is submitted to: Classified Personnel using the address on the LOA form. Contact: 213-241-7800
- Leave of Absence Paperwork for Certificated employees is submitted to: Certificated Assignments and Support Services using the address on the LOA form. Contact: 213-241-5100
- 2. Where do I send my private insurance/state insurance (EDD) forms to be completed?
- Insurance documents from sources outside of LAUSD should be submitted to Payroll to be completed: Payrollsupport@lausd.net