HR - Family Rights Act (CFRA) - CA

Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose of this policy, employees include California faculty and staff unless otherwise indicated in the sections below. All provisions of this policy apply, except that for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, this policy does not create any benefits not expressly provided by that collective bargaining agreement and if there are inconsistencies between this policy and the collective bargaining agreement, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will govern. 

Emerson College recognizes that employees may need time away from work to tend to the serious health condition of the employee’s spouse, child or parent. This policy provides specific information about California Family Rights Act Leave (CFRA). CFRA Leave is similar to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) but has some notable differences. The purpose of this policy is to highlight the main similarities and differences between CFRA and FMLA leaves. 

CFRA and FMLA leaves include the following leave types:

Personal Medical

Employees may be eligible for Personal Medical Leave under both CFRA and FMLA when the “serious health condition” of an employee causes the employee to be unable to perform the functions of the position. For purposes of this policy, a “serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities. Subject to certain conditions, the “continuing treatment” requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive calendar days combined with at least two (2) visits to a health care provider; or one (1) visit and a regimen of continuing treatment; or incapacity due to pregnancy; or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of “continuing treatment.”  

Important Notes:

  • CFRA does not cover pregnancy or giving birth as the employee’s serious health condition. These are covered by California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (See: California Pregnancy Disability Leave Policy). 
  • FMLA defines incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or childbirth as a serious health condition. If a woman is having a difficult pregnancy and needs time off prior to the birth of the child, that time will count toward her 12-week leave entitlement under the FMLA. Emerson College refers to FMLA leave for those pregnant and giving birth as Parental Leave.  Parental Leave under the FMLA runs concurrently with leave under California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Act.

Parental

Employees may be eligible for Parental Leave under CFRA and/or FMLA, to care for a newborn child, adoption of a child or the placement of a foster child with employees during the first 12 months after birth or placement. Parental leave to care for the newborn begins for a new mother when her pregnancy disability leave ends, that is when she is no longer disabled or after FMLA/Pregnancy Disability Leave, whichever occurs first.

Family Care

CFRA and FMLA provide leave to care for the “serious health condition” of employees’ spouses, children or parents.  Important note, although both CFRA and FMLA include same-sex spouses in the definition of family members, only the CFRA allows for leave for registered domestic partners.

Military Caregiver Leave and Qualifying Exigency Leave

FMLA covers Military Caregiver Leave and Qualifying Exigency Leave; CFRA does not.  

Policy Guidelines

Eligibility for CFRA and FMLA Leaves

  • All employees who have been employed for at least one year and who have completed at least 1,250 hours of service during a 12-month period may be eligible for CFRA and FMLA unless otherwise stipulated by an applicable collective bargaining agreement.
  • Eligible employees may request CFRA and FMLA leaves of up to 12 weeks in a 12-month period (measured backward on a rolling basis).
  • Important note: FMLA Military Caregiver Leave provides up to 26 weeks of leave in a 12-month period.

Personal Medical Leave - Pay Continuation

Pay Continuation for Faculty Employees:  

  • Personal Medical Leaves under the CFRA are “unpaid” periods of time eligible faculty employees may take from work for the reasons described above.
  • For information about any applicable pay continuation for faculty employees, please see the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
  • Also see:  California State Disability Insurance (SDI) and California Workers’ Compensation

Pay Continuation for Staff Employees:

  • Personal Medical Leaves under CFRA are “unpaid” periods of time eligible employees may take from work for the reasons described above.
  • Unless otherwise stipulated by an applicable collective bargaining agreement, sick time, personal time, vacation time, California Disability Insurance and California Workers’ are ways in which employees are paid for applicable leaves.
  • Employees must use sick time, vacation time and personal time when not receiving income replacement by the state; However, employees may hold up to five (5) total days of sick, personal and vacation time in reserve. Use of vacation time is optional in the case of pregnancy disability.
  • Use of sick time, personal time, and/or vacation is optional, not required, during periods the employee is receiving any kind of income replacement benefits, such as workers’ compensation, state disability or paid family leave benefits.
  • Also see: California State Disability Insurance (SDI) and California Workers’ Compensation

Temporary Disability Insurance (Workers’ Compensation):

  • Employees on authorized Personal Medical Leaves for work-related illnesses or injuries may be eligible for California Workers’ Compensation during such leaves.

Long-Term Disability:

  • Staff employees may be eligible for continued benefits under the College’s Long-Term Disability (LTD) plan if their illness or injury continues beyond one hundred and eighty (180) consecutive calendar days or as stipulated by applicable collective bargaining agreement. Refer to the Long-Term Disability (LTD) policy for additional information.

Parental Leave (CFRA) – Pay Continuation

Pay Continuation for Faculty Employees:

  • Parental Leaves under CFRA are “unpaid” periods of time eligible faculty employees may take from work for the reasons described above.
  • For information about any applicable pay continuation for faculty employees, please see the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Pay Continuation for Staff Employees:

  • Parental Leaves under CFRA are “unpaid” periods of time eligible employees may take from work for the reasons described above.
  • Unless otherwise stipulated by applicable collective bargaining agreement sick time, personal time, vacation time, California Disability Insurance and California Paid Family Care Leaves are ways in which eligible employees may be compensated during applicable leaves.
  • Employees must use sick time, vacation time and personal time when not receiving income replacement by the state. However, employees may hold up to five (5) total days of sick, personal and vacation time in reserve.  Use of vacation time is optional in the case of pregnancy disability.
  • The use of sick time, personal time, and/or vacation is optional, not required during periods the employee is receiving any kind of income replacement benefits, such as California Disability Insurance and California Paid Family Care Leaves

Family Care Leave (CFRA) – Pay Continuation

Pay Continuation for Faculty Employees:

  • Family Care Leaves under CFRA are “unpaid” periods of time eligible faculty employees may take from work for the reasons described above.
  • For information about any applicable pay continuation for faculty employees, please see the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
  • Also see:  California Paid Family Leave policy

Pay Continuation for Staff Employees:

  • Family Care Leaves under CFRA are “unpaid” periods of time eligible employees may take from work for the reasons described above.
  • Unless otherwise stipulated by an applicable collective bargaining agreement, Emerson College also provides eligible staff employees with paid time off in the form of sick, time, personal time and vacation time to cover leaves from work. Staff employees on Family Care Leave must use available paid sick time, up half of their annual accrual, and then use any available personal time and vacation time when not receiving income replacement by the state. However, employees may hold up to five (5) total days of sick, personal and vacation time in reserve. 
  • Use of sick time, personal time, and/or vacation is optional, not required, during periods the employee is receiving any kind of income replacement benefits, such as workers’ compensation, state disability or paid family leave benefits.
  • Also see:  California Paid Family Leave policy

Use of CFRA and FMLA

CFRA and FMLA run concurrently, except where leave is taken under FMLA for disability due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition.  Leave for pregnancy or pregnancy-related disability counts only toward the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement, as well as toward Pregnancy Disability Leave, and not toward the leave rights under CFRA.  (See: California Pregnancy and Parental Leave Policy.)

When supported by appropriate documentation, CFRA, and FMLA Leave may be taken as blocks of time, intermittently or on a reduced schedule basis (such as specific days or hours). Under the CFRA, time off to care for a newborn, newly adopted child or placement of a child for foster care can be taken in 2-week blocks of time. Employees needing intermittent or reduced schedule leave must make reasonable efforts to schedule leave to minimize disruption of the department’s and the College’s operations.

Other Information

Protections

The College will not interfere with, restrain or deny the exercise of any right provided under the CFRA and FMLA; or discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by the CFRA and FMLA or for involvement in any proceeding under or relating to the FMLA. The College will comply where other Federal, State or collective bargaining agreements provide greater rights than CFRA and FMLA. 

Related Policies

Key Offices to Contact 

Please contact the Leave of Absence Administrator (Human Resources) for further information regarding this policy and its implementation.  

Links to Procedures or Forms

Contact the Leave of Absence Administrator (Human Resources) for assistance.

Definitions

Not applicable 

 

The contents of this policy are informational only and are not conditions of employment.  This policy does not create any contractual obligations or alter the at-will employment of the College’s at-will employees. Emerson College reserves the right to modify, revoke, suspend, terminate, or change any and all policies and procedures at any time, with or without notice, as consistent with state and federal law.

 

Policy Effective Date:  May 2019