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Ellen delivered her baby two weeks after the FMLA/Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) expired. What do you do?

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Question:

An employee in California, Ellen, was having complications with her pregnancy. She was placed on Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)/FMLA, and then she had her baby two weeks after her PDL expired.

How do we handle the time between her PDL expiring and the day she had the baby? How much more time can she have off work?

What kind of documentation is required? What if she continues to have medical issues after the baby is born?

Answer:

Ellen is eligible up to 17 1/3 weeks of leave for pregnancy-related medical issues (PDL). 12 weeks of FMLA runs concurrently to PDL, so we start by assuring we have designated the PDL/FMLA leave formally with written notification.

Once PDL (and FMLA post 12 weeks), has exhausted, Ellen is now eligible to take CFRA Baby Bonding Leave, whether she has had the baby or not.

Once PDL is exhausted, if Ellen has a medical condition impacted by the pregnancy, and she has not had the baby yet, she will be eligible for protection under ADA/FEHA. Ellen could choose to use CFRA baby bonding or ADA/FEHA if eligible. ADA/FEHA does not protect her medical benefits.

Once the baby is born the medical provider should confirm Ellen’s estimated recovery time.  The typical vaginal birth will require 6 weeks of recovery time, however, rely on the medical provider’s notification regarding the recovery time each woman needs based on her situation.

Additionally, once the baby is born, if Ellen requires additional leave as a result of a medical disability (related to the pregnancy or not), that qualifies under the ADA/FEHA, Ellen may be eligible for additional leave under the ADA/FEHA – IF it is not an undue hardship.

Make sure you explain to Ellen,  that if she needs additional leave for a medical condition once PDL has expired that she has the choice between ADA/FEHA (if eligible) or CFRA, which protects her health care benefits. At all times, if the employee has exhausted their PDL prior to having the baby, and your organization determined it is an Undue Hardship to provide leave as an accommodation under the ADA/FEHA, make sure you are providing the employee the opportunity to take the leave under CFRA Baby Bonding, even if they have not had the baby yet.

Want to learn more? 

Leave Management Solutions also has all the forms, checklist, flowcharts, directions and resources you need to respond to and designate CFRA leave (and ADA/FEAH and PDL with or without workers’ compensation) in your organization.  We have been working with FMLA and ADA for over 27 years and provide expert testimony in this area.  By HR for HR, let us be the experts so you dont have to. We will also be conducting a deep dive 3 – 1/2 day training, March 3-5, to specifically review simple, step by step strategies for implementing the new CFRA, specifically if you are a small employer and have never been challenged with this compliance requirement before.

 

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