Friday, May 21, 2010

April 8th Mtg - Leave policy

Introductions and brief sharing (weaning, biting, cocoon sleep, tantrums, t-ball...)

Judy Bishop, the City's HR specialist for parental leave will be a guest presenter. She shared info about leave policy (not all geared to pregnant moms, but also to "sick child" policy)

Here is the handout on how to keep your time during FMLA/OFLA Leave

  • FMLA was passed in 1993 by Clinton to guarantee job and benefits during maternity leave, also includes rights for taking care of sick family members or yourself.
  • Allows 480 hours, total of 12 weeks full time per calendar year. In general, it is 12 workweeks based on the employee’s workweek (full-time, 40 hours per week employee entitled to 40x12=480).
  • Intermittent or reduced scheduled leave is possible with your manager's approval
  • If you decide to work a reduced schedule when you return, using any remaining leave helps you keep full-time status (which matters for raises and retirement.)
  • Everything needs to be approved ahead of time, so it's best to request the full allowance even if you are planning on a shorter leave, just in case
  • You can reserve or bank up to 40 hours of vacation/comp time. Non-reps and most labor contracts allow employees to reserved up to 80 hours of vacation and comp time combined.
  • OFLA allows for another 12 weeks, but you are not allowed benefits - one mom couldn't take the leave because her husband is a student and the family needs their benefit, another paid for the coverage through COBRA.
  • It’s important to clarify that the additional 12 weeks of OFLA is available to a woman when she takes leave related to pregnancy. If her leave is covered under OFLA only, and is not in paid status for enough hours to be benefits eligible, she will receive notice of to continue coverage under COBRA.
  • OFLA and FMLA cover pregnancy disability for absences related to pregnancy, including routine prenatal appointments, severe morning sickness, pregnancy complications and after child birth - complications or illness are not required to be approved for the disability, a perfectly healthy pregnancy is covered.
  • Postpartum depression is also covered, even if it occurs some time after you've returned to work.
  • We talked a bit about how more fathers are using paternity leave and how that can also be used intermittently to have a reduced schedule for the first several months. It can also be used after the Mama returns to work to help lighten the parenting load. Eligible Moms or Dads are entitled to 12 workweeks of continuous parental leave (bonding time). They would have to get pre-approval from their manager/bureau to take parental leave intermittently or as a reduced schedule. They would need to submit the request, including the proposed schedule prior to the start of the leave.
  • We also had a discussion about sick-child leave. Every parent is allowed 40 hours per year for basic kid illnesses (flu, chicken pox). It's really important to use this first, as it can't be counted against you the same way that prolonged personal sick leave may. Employees may use accrued sick leave (up to 40 hours per calendar year from their sick leave bank) to caring for an ill or injured family member, specifically their spouse, domestic partner, parent, child or other person for whom the employee is legal guardian. Dependent care can also be used to the family member to a routine doctor or dentist appointment. Here’s the confusing part...If a family member has a serious health condition the the dependent care is a protected absence under family medical leave. “Sick child leave”, under OFLA, is different. If a parent has a child under 18, who is sick with a NON-serious illness (such as the flu or chicken pox) they can be off work to provide home care and the absence is covered under OFLA “sick child leave”. The employee would use dependent care leave but it would also be coded as OFLA dependent care leave. If they used up their 40 hours of dependent care they would use their vacation leave but it would be vacation leave coded as OFLA protected as well.
  • FMLA also covers chronic health issues on a intermittent level. One mom realized in the meeting that she could/should have been using this leave for her son's surgeries and monthly check-ups. You would be protected, and allowed up to 25 hours in 180 day period.
  • Courtney point out the obvious "If we all had paid family leave for a year, we wouldn't be having this discussion!"
Thanks Judy for being a warm and knowledgeable resource for working Moms!

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