Each eligible employee is entitled to family care and medical leave as provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), as amended. The leaves under FMLA and CFRA will run concurrently to the extent permitted by law.
To be eligible for family care and medical leave, on the date on which leave is to begin, a full-time or part-time employee must have been employed by the County for at least twelve (12) months, which need not be consecutive, and have actually worked at least 1,250 hours of service during the twelve (12) month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave.
22.6.2 Family Care And Medical Leave Entitlement
Subject to the provisions of this MOU, County policy, and state and federal law, including the federal FMLA and the CFRA, an eligible employee is entitled to a total of twelve (12) workweeks of unpaid leave during any twelve (12) month period for any one, or more, of the following reasons:
The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child (FMLA and CFRA);
The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and care for the newly placed child (FMLA and CFRA);
To care for the employee’s child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner (CFRA only) who has a serious health condition. (Child is defined as biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or child of a person standing in loco parentis who is under 18 years of age or an adult dependent child. Parent is defined as biological, foster or adoptive parent, stepparent, or legal guardian. Parent does not include a parent-in-law under this provision.)
Because of an employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee’s position, except for disability on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, which is covered by pregnancy disability leave. (Pregnancy disability counts toward only California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) and FMLA leave.)
Because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a U.S. National Guard or Reserve member on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty status) in support of a contingency operation (FMLA only).
The twelve (12) month period for FMLA/CFRA purposes is determined by a “rolling” twelve (12) month period measured backwards from the date an employee first uses FMLA/CFRA leave.
22.6.3 Family Care And Medical Leave To Care For A Covered Servicemember With A Service Injury Or Illness
Subject to the provisions of this MOU, County policy, and state and federal law, including the FMLA, an eligible employee may take FMLA leave to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the servicemember. This 12 month period used under FMLA/CFRA to determine sick leave eligibility is separate from the “annual period” defined in 22.3.1)
A eligible employee’s entitlement under Section 22.6.3 is limited to a total of twenty-six (26) workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness. The “single 12-month period” in which the 26-weeks-of-leave-entitlement described in this section begins on the first day an employee takes leave to care for the covered servicemember.
During the “single 12-month period” described above, an eligible employee’s FMLA leave entitlement is limited to a combined total of twenty-six (26) workweeks of FMLA leave for any qualifying reason.
22.6.4 Pay Status And Benefits
Except as provided in this Article, the family care and medical leave will be unpaid. The County will, however, continue to provide County contributions toward the health plan premium during the period of family care and medical leave for up to twelve (12) work weeks on the same basis as coverage would have been provided had the employee not taken family care and medical leave. The employee will be required to continue to pay the employee’s share of premiums payments, if any.
Nothing in this Section shall preclude the use of medical or pregnancy disability leave in Section 18.7 (Medical / Pregnancy Disability Leave) when the employee is medically incapacitated or disabled. If an employee does not qualify for continued benefits under this Section 22.6. or Section 18.7 (Medical / Pregnancy Disability Leave) and the employee wishes to continue benefit coverage, then Section 18.8 (Continuation of Health Benefits Coverage) applies.
22.6.5 Relationship Of Family Care And Medical Leave To Other Leaves
Any leave of absence that qualifies as family care and medical leave and is designated by the County as family care and medical leave will be counted as running concurrently with any other paid or unpaid leave to which the employee may be entitled for the same qualifying reason. Section 22.7 identifies accrued paid leave which an employee may be required to use concurrently with unpaid family care and medical leave.
22.6.6 Relationship To Pregnancy Disability Leave
The family care and medical leave provided under this section is in addition to any leave taken on account of disability due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions for which an employee may be qualified under state law.
22.6.7 Notice To The County
The employee must provide written notice to the County as far in advance of the leave as possible and as soon as the employee reasonably knows of the need for the leave. If the need for the leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement of a child for adoption or foster care or planned medical treatment, the notice must be provided at least 30 calendar days in advance of the leave, or if not reasonably known 30 calendar days before the leave, then as soon as reasonably practicable.
The written notice must inform the County of the reasons for the leave, the anticipated duration of the leave and the anticipated start of the leave.
The employee shall consult with the County and make a reasonable effort to schedule any planned medical treatment or supervision so as to minimize disruption to department operations.
22.6.8 Medical Certification
An employee’s request for family care and medical leave to care for a child, a spouse, or a parent who has a serious health condition shall be supported by a certification issued by the health care provider of the individual requiring care. If additional leave is required after the expiration of the time originally estimated by the health care provider, the employee shall provide the County with re-certification by the health care provider.
An employee’s request for family care and medical leave because of employee’s own serious health condition shall be supported by a certification issued by the employee’s health care provider.
As a condition of an employee’s return from leave taken because of the employee’s own serious health condition, the employee is required to obtain certification from the employee’s care provider that the employee is able to resume work.
Employees are required to use the medical certification forms available from the County Human Resources Department to meet the certification and re-certification requirements of this section.
22.6.9 County’s Response To Leave Request
It is the County’s responsibility to designate leave, paid or unpaid, as family and medical leave-qualifying and to notify the employee of the designation.
22.6.10 Dual Parent Employment
Where both parents are County employees, allowable leave for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child or the care of an employee’s ill parent is limited to a total of twelve (12) work weeks in a 12-month period between the two employees. Their family care and medical leave entitlement is not limited or combined for any other qualifying purpose.
22.6.11 Employee’s Status On Returning From Leave
Except as provided by law, on return from family care and medical leave, an employee is entitled to be returned to the same or equivalent position the employee held when leave commenced, or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. An employee has no absolute right to return to the same position. Use of family care and medical leave will not result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an eligible employee’s FMLA/CFRA leave.
22.6.12 FMLA/CFRA Procedures, Definitions, and Forms
A description of the required process and procedures to follow for intermittent leave and reduced leave schedules, forms to use when requesting family care and medical leave, and applicable definitions are included in the County Medical Leave Policy and found on the County Human Resources Department website, and are available from the Human Resources Department. The provisions of this Article 22 are subject to Article 33, Grievance Procedure, of this MOU, but the County Medical Leave Policy is not subject to Article 33, Grievance Procedure, of this MOU.
This Section 22.6 shall be interpreted as the legal minimum family care and medical leave available to eligible employees. The County may grant additional leave without pay under this Section (22.6) provided it is consistent with the applicable provisions of the Sonoma County Civil Service Rules, County leave policies and other provisions of this memorandum.
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