Skip to Content

Human Resources Department

Employee Resources

4-10 Medical Leave Policy - Section III: Policy

Human Resources Disability Management 750

III. Purpose

It is the intent of the County to comply with federal and state laws and local regulations, rules and agreements that govern medical leaves of absence.

  1. Eligibility for Medical Leave: Federal & State Laws
    FMLA and CFRA provide eligible employees with a right to unpaid, job-protected leave and health insurance benefits. To be an “eligible employee”, the individual must (1) have been employed by the County for at least 12 months (which need not be consecutive); (2) have actual hours worked for at least 1,250 hours during the 12 month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave, and (3) have a qualifying serious health condition or family circumstance that is covered by FMLA/CFRA.

    CPDL provides eligible employees the right to unpaid, job protected leave if you are disabled by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. There are no service time requirements to qualify for CPDL.

    Back to top

  2. Type, Duration, and Reason for Leave
    1. Basic FMLA/CFRA Leave Entitlement
      The FMLA/CFRA provides eligible employees up to 480 hours (12 weeks) of unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons during a 12 month period. This is determined by a “rolling” 12-month period measured backwards from when an employee first uses FMLA/CFRA leave. In some instances, leave may be counted under the FMLA but not CFRA, or CFRA but not the FMLA. Leave may be taken for any one, or for a combination, of the following reasons:
      1. For the employee’s own disability due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition (counts only toward FMLA leave and CPDL entitlements);
      2. Bonding and/or caring for a newborn child. Bonding leave must be concluded within one year of the birth, adoption or foster placement of the child; (counts toward FMLA and CFRA leave entitlements);
      3. For placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child; (counts toward FMLA and CFRA leave entitlements);

        Note: If both parents are county employees and the leave is taken for birth, adoption or foster child placement or the care of an ill parent, the combined leave may be limited to 480 hours (12 workweeks) for Represented employees and 600 hours (15 weeks) for Administrative Management, Confidential and Unrepresented employees;5
      4. To care for the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent (but not in-law) with a serious health condition; (counts toward FMLA and CFRA leave entitlements; time to care for an employee’s domestic partner counts only toward CFRA leave);
      5. For the employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform one or more of the essential functions of the employee’s job (counts toward FMLA and CFRA leave entitlements);
      6. Because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that an employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent is a U.S. National Guard or Reserves (NOT Regular) member on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty status in the U.S National Guard or Reserves in support of contingency operations (counts toward FMLA leave entitlement only);
      7. For military caregiver leave for eligible employees who are needed to care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin who is a U.S. National Guard, Reserve, or Regular member of the U.S. Armed Forces with a serious injury or illness.

      FMLA regulations require the County to provide individual employees with a written summary of the amount of FMLA leave time used and time remaining. Employees must submit a written request to their departmental payroll unit in order to receive this summary.
    2. Military FMLA Leave Entitlement
      An eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of a covered servicemember is entitled to take up to 26 weeks of leave during a 12-month period to care for the servicemember with a serious injury or illness. Leave to care for a servicemember shall only be available during a single12-month period. The single 12-month period begins on the first day an eligible employee takes leave to care for the injured servicemember.
    3. Intermittent Leave and Reduced Leave Schedules
      FMLA/CFRA/CPDL leave usually will be taken for a period of consecutive days, weeks or months. However, employees are also entitled to take these leaves intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary due to a serious health condition of the employee or covered family member or the serious injury or illness of a covered servicemember. Intermittent leave can also be taken for any qualifying exigency.

      Employees are also eligible for intermittent CFRA leave for bonding with a child following birth or placement. Intermittent leave for bonding purposes generally must be taken in two-week increments, but the County permits two occurrences of leave taken for less than two weeks. Bonding leave must be concluded within one year of the birth, adoption or placement of the child.

    Back to top

  3. Additional Medical Leave Provisions
    The County provides continuation of active benefit coverage (including medical, dental, life, vision and, and LTD) for 13 pay periods (26 weeks) of unpaid leave per illness or disability. During this continuation period, the County will continue paying the County portion of the health benefit premiums (including medical, dental, life, vision and LTD) and the employee is responsible for paying the employee portion. Please see Section L for further details.

    Once FMLA/CPDL or FMLA/CFRA leave exceeds 480 hours (for example, in cases of FMLA/CPDL leave followed by CFRA bonding leave), and/or the leave exceeds 26 weeks (13 pay periods), including any designated FMLA/CFRA leave, an employee will be notified of his or her COBRA right to continue group health insurance benefits at the employee’s cost.

    The 13 pay period benefit applies to all regular employees, regardless of length of service or hours worked. Depending on the leave circumstance, the 13 pay period benefit may run concurrently or in addition to FMLA/CFRA if eligible. The 13 pay period benefit applies to the employee’s own medical or pregnancy disability only. There are no additional provisions for family care or qualifying exigencies.

    The Salary Resolution extends all benefits, rights, and obligations of FMLA/CFRA for an additional 120 hours, for a total of 600 hours (15 weeks), to Administrative Management, Confidential and Unrepresented employees covered by the Salary Resolution.

    The Civil Services Rules, under Rule 12, Leaves of Absence, state that the Department Heads may grant leaves without pay, for periods not to exceed six months, at the request of the employee concerned, to employees of their departments because of illness, disability, pregnancy, child rearing, or for educational purposes or for any other reasons the appointing authority deems appropriate. Requests for leaves without pay for periods in excess of six months shall be submitted by the department head, together with a written recommendation, to the Human Resources Director for approval or disapproval. Rule 12 also provides for certain appeal procedures if said leave request is denied.  

    Back to top

  4. Restoration of Employment & Benefits Following a Leave
    At the end of FMLA/CFRA/CPDL leave, subject to some exceptions including situations where job restoration of key employees will cause the County substantial and grievous economic injury, employees generally have a right to return to the same or equivalent positions they held before the FMLA/CFRA leave. Employees on CPDL leave who are not on FMLA/CFRA are entitled to the right to return to the same position or a substantially similar position held before the leave unless the position has been eliminated. The Department, in consultation with Human Resources Disability Management, will notify employees if they qualify as key employees, if it intends to deny reinstatement, and of their rights in such instances. Use of FMLA/CFRA 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.

    Back to top

  5. Coordination of FMLA Leave with Other Leave Policies and Provisions
    FMLA does not affect any federal, state or local law prohibiting discrimination, or supersede any State or local law or collective bargaining agreement which provides greater family or medical leave rights. However, whenever permissible by law, the County will run FMLA/CFRA/CPDL leave concurrently with any other leave provided under state or local law, civil service rule, or an applicable collective bargaining agreement. Additionally, leave may also be provided as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act as determined on a case-by-case basis.

    Back to top

  6. Questions and/or Policy Compliance
    If you have questions regarding this policy, please contact your department’s HR Liaison, payroll staff, or the Human Resources Disability Management Unit. The County is committed to complying with the FMLA/CFRA/CPDL, and shall interpret and apply this policy in a manner consistent with the FMLA/CFRA/CPDL.

    The FMLA makes it unlawful for employers to: 1) interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under FMLA; or 2) discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by FMLA or involvement in any proceeding under or relating to FMLA. If employees believe their FMLA rights have been violated, they should contact the Human Resources Disability Management Unit immediately. The County will investigate any FMLA complaints and take prompt and appropriate remedial action to address and/or remedy any FMLA violation. Employees also may file FMLA complaints with the United States Department of Labor or may bring private lawsuits alleging FMLA violations. Discrimination is also prohibited under the CFRA and CPDL.

5 See County of Sonoma Salary Resolution 95-0926, Section 26.3

Back to top