There are a myriad of different types of leave which are available to employees in California. Leave laws were originally created to allow people time off from work while being able to keep their job. Some of the most commonly administered types of leave in small businesses are Sick Leave, Paid Time Off and Medical Leaves of Absence.
California mandates that every employee (including part-time and temporary employees) who works for 30 or more days for an employer is entitled to Sick Leave. Sick leave can be administered all at once at the beginning of the year, or it can be earned as the employee works, pro-rated per number of hours worked.
**Under the Expanded Paid Sick Leave instituted in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, there are special provisions for employers with less than 500 employees. For more information on these expanded laws, go here. Paid Time Off
Employers with full time staff typically give those staff a predetermined number of paid days off each year, Paid Time Off. These days are are typically accrued as the employee works and have an accrual cap where employees must use their PTO before they can earn any more. The accrual cap is typically 1.5 times the number of days issued annually.
Medical Leave of Absence
Employees typically request medical leaves of absence for extended time away from work for medical reasons. This leave can be used for the employee's personal health or for the care of qualifying family members.
Often when we start working with a company, the employer does not have a standardized process for receiving and processing leave requests. It is best to set up a standard process so that all requests for leave are treated the same way. Typically employers require at least two week's notice for a leave request (with the exception of Sick Leave). The request should include the dates that the employee would like to be away from work and any pertinent details about the leave. If the employee is requesting Medical Leave, there are some additional steps to take.
FMLA and Sick Leave Administration (includes COVID-19)
Leave of Absence Request Form
Once an employee knows that they would like to request a Leave of Absence, they should submit the Leave of Absence Request form as soon as possible. The Company must respond to this request within 5 days.
Notice of Eligibility Rights and Responsibilities
Typically, if an employee has not worked 1250 hours in the past 12 months of employment with the company, they do not qualify for FMLA Leave. In this case, the company can decide whether or not they will grant the Leave of Absence.
Typically, if an employee has worked 1250 hours in the past 12 months of employment with the company, they qualify for FMLA Leave. In this case, the company must supply the employee with the Notice of Eligibility Rights and Responsibilities within 5 days.
**Under the Expanded FMLA instituted in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, there are special provisions for employers with less than 500 employees. For more information on these expanded laws, go here.
If an employee is requesting FMLA leave, they must also be supplied with the following notices:
FMLA Notice A
FMLA Notice B
Certification of Healthcare Provider
Certification of Healthcare Provider
It is typically best practice to require the employee to submit a Certification from their Healthcare Provider in order to approve Medical Leave. In emergency cases, and cases involving COVID-19 it may be best to remove this requirement. The employee will have two weeks from receiving the Notice of Eligibility Rights and Responsibilities to submit the Certification of Healthcare Provider. The Certification must include the employee’s Job Description.
Within five days of receiving the Certification of Healthcare Provider, the Company will provide the employee with the Designation Notice. This form will indicate whether or not the leave will be designated FMLA leave.
Fitness For Duty Certificate
In order for an employee to return to work from Medical Leave (regardless of FMLA status), it is best practice to require them to submit a Fitness for Duty Certificate referencing their job description at least three days before they are expected to return to work.
If you do not have templates for these documents, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will provide them to you.
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