§2.13
Family Care and Medical Leave

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Revised 1/09

  1. General
  2. Eligibility and Authority
  3. Notification
  4. Certifications
    1. Medical
    2. Familial Relationship
  5. Use of Accrued Paid Leave
    1. Employee's Serious Health Condition
    2. Family Illness
    3. Parental Leave
    4. Catastrophic Leave Sharing
  6. Duration of Leave
    1. Adjustment for Part-Time Schedules
    2. Reduced Work Schedules, Intermittent Leaves, and Temporary Transfers
    3. Workers' Compensation and FMLA Leave
  7. Supplemental Family Care and Medical Leave
  8. Interaction of Family Care and Medical Leave with Pregnancy Disability Leave
  9. Benefits Continuance
  10. Returning to Work
    1. Return to Work
    2. Failure to Return to Work
    3. Medical Clearance

A. GENERAL

The Laboratory complies with the California Family Rights Act of 1991 (CFRA) and the federal Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). The Human Resources Department should be consulted on any questions relating to an employee's request for family care and medical leave.

B. ELIGIBILITY AND AUTHORITY

Employees who have at least 12 months of University/Laboratory service and who have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before the leave are entitled, on request, to up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave in a calendar year for an eligible employee's serious health condition; the serious health condition of the employee's family member (child, spouse, or parent); same- or opposite-sex domestic partner; or the need to care for the employee's newborn, adopted, or foster child (parental leave). A parental leave must be concluded within one year after birth or placement of the child. The cognizant division director or department head, in consultation with the Human Resources Department, will determine whether the employee is eligible and qualifies for a FMLA leave and will notify the employee in writing when the leave is designated as FMLA leave. The duration and terms of the leave and the date of return are determined when the leave is granted.

If the need for leave for the same condition that is in progress continues beyond 12 work weeks, a career employee is entitled to supplemental unpaid leave for an additional 12 work weeks in accordance with Paragraph (G), below.

C. NOTIFICATION

If possible, employees must provide at least 30 days' advance notice for foreseeable events (e.g., the expected birth of a child or a planned medical treatment for themselves or a family member). Failure to provide notice of foreseeable events may result in postponement of the leave. For unforeseeable events, employees must notify their supervisor, at least verbally, as soon as practicable.

D. CERTIFICATIONS

1. Medical

When requesting leave for his or her serious health condition or to care for a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner who has a serious health condition, an employee must support the request with medical certification issued by the health care provider of the individual requiring care.

2. Familial Relationship

At its discretion, the Laboratory may require that an employee requesting leave to care for a family member or domestic partner with a serious health condition or requesting parental leave provide documentation of the familial relationship, proof of birth, or placement for adoption or in foster care.

E. USE OF ACCRUED PAID LEAVE

Family care and medical leave is unpaid.

1. Employee's Serious Health Condition

An employee on leave for his or her own serious health condition must use accrued sick leave in accordance with the University's disability insurance plans or as provided in RPM §2.15(D) (Compensation While Absent Because of Work-Incurred Disability). Employees not eligible for University disability insurance and not on leave because of a work-incurred injury or illness must use all accrued sick leave before taking leave without pay. If sick leave is exhausted, an employee may elect to use accrued vacation time before taking leave without pay.

2. Family Illness

An employee on family care leave for family illness may use either sick leave in accordance with RPM §2.09(D)(4) (Use of Sick Leave for Illness in Employee's Family) or accrued vacation time before taking leave without pay.

3. Parental Leave

An employee on family care leave for parental leave may use accrued vacation time before taking leave without pay.

4. Catastrophic Leave Sharing

Under the provisions of RPM §2.26, an employee may donate vacation time on an hour-for-hour basis, regardless of differing pay scales, to another employee who has exhausted his or her sick and vacation leaves due to a serious medical condition (as defined in Paragraph B, above) affecting him or her or another eligible person, as defined in RPM §2.26(C).

F. DURATION OF LEAVE

Family care and medical leave must not exceed 12 work weeks in the leave year. See Paragraph (B), above. Depending on individual circumstances, the leave may be a combination of accrued paid leave (i.e., vacation and/or sick leave and unpaid leave).

For the purposes of FMLA leave only, 12 work weeks are equivalent to 480 hours of scheduled work for full-time employees who are normally scheduled for an eight hours per day, five days per workweek schedule. Although the use of FMLA leave need not be consecutive, an employee's aggregate use of FMLA leave may not exceed a total of 12 work weeks within the leave year.

When parental leave is combined with leave for pregnancy-related supplemental family medical leave and/or pregnancy disability, the total family care/parental leave may not exceed seven months in the leave year.

1. Adjustment for Part-Time Schedules

For employees who work part-time or other than an eight hours per day, 40 hours per week schedule, the number of FMLA leave hours to which the employee is eligible will be adjusted in accordance with his or her normal weekly work schedule. An employee whose schedule varies from week to week is eligible for a prorated amount of FMLA leave based on his or her hours worked over the 12 weeks preceding the leave.

2. Reduced Work Schedules, Intermittent Leaves, and Temporary Transfers

When medically necessary and supported by medical certification, the cognizant division director or department head, in consultation with the Human Resources Department, will grant an eligible employee's request for a reduced work schedule or intermittent leave, including absences of less than one day. Only the time actually spent on the intermittent or reduced leave schedule will be counted toward the employee's entitlement of 12 work weeks in the leave year.

When the employee requests an intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule, the Laboratory may, at its discretion, require the employee to temporarily transfer to an available alternative position for which the employee is qualified and that better accommodates the employee's recurring period of leave. Such transfers must have equivalent pay and terms and conditions of employment, but they need not have equivalent duties.

3. Workers' Compensation and FMLA Leave

When an employee is on a workers' compensation leave because of an on-the-job injury or illness that also qualifies as a serious health condition under FMLA, the workers' compensation leave and FMLA leave will run concurrently.

G. SUPPLEMENTAL FAMILY CARE AND MEDICAL LEAVE

If the need for a family care and medical leave that is in progress continues beyond 12 work weeks, a career employee is entitled to supplemental leave for up to 12 additional work weeks or until the end of the leave year, whichever is less. The aggregate of pregnancy disability leave, family care and medical leave, and supplemental family care and medical leave may not exceed seven months during the leave year. An employee who has been granted supplemental family care and medical leave will be reinstated under Paragraph (J), below.

H. INTERACTION OF FAMILY CARE AND MEDICAL LEAVE WITH PREGNANCY DISABILITY LEAVE

For eligible employees, federal family care and medical leave runs concurrently with childbearing/pregnancy disability leave, as specified in Paragraph (E), above. On termination of a pregnancy disability leave that runs concurrently with federal family care and medical leave, an employee is also entitled to up to 12 weeks of state family care and medical leave for any covered reason except pregnancy or related health conditions.

I. BENEFITS CONTINUANCE

For an employee on an approved FMLA leave, health plan coverages (medical, dental, and optical) are continued for up to 12 work weeks in a 12-month period if he or she was eligible for them while on pay status. Thereafter, eligibility and benefits under each plan are the same as those provided to Laboratory employees during an approved leave of absence. Specific questions about this policy should be directed to the Laboratory Benefits Office.

J. RETURNING TO WORK

1. Return to Work

When an employee has been granted an approved FMLA leave of absence and returns within 12 work weeks after initiation of the leave, he or she will be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position on expiration of the leave as long as the employee returns to work immediately following termination of the leave. If the position has been abolished or otherwise affected by layoff and an equivalent position is not available, see RPM §2.21(B) (Reduction in Force).

For more information on the Lab’s Return-to-Work Program, go to http://www.lbl.gov/ehs/health_services/pp/index.shtml.

2. Failure to Return to Work

The provisions of RPM §2.21(E) (Medical Separation Policy) apply if all the following conditions are met:

  1. The employee is unable to return to work because of his or her ongoing serious medical condition.
  2. All leave credits provided in Paragraphs (F)–(G), above, have been exhausted.
  3. The employee is unable to perform essential assigned functions.

3. Medical Clearance

In accordance with RPM §2.09(D)(11) (Medical Clearance to Return to Work), an employee must provide Health Services with a release to return to work when he or she has been absent for five or more consecutive work days because of his or her own serious illness or injury unrelated to work. This release must include any information regarding medical restrictions that may affect the employee's ability to perform his or her job as certified by the treating physician.

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