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New DFEH Notice and Certification Related to Medical Leaves and Parental Leaves under California Law

Posted in FMLA and Other Leaves of Absence, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations

California employers covered by the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) and/or the California New Parent Leave Act (“NPLA”) should take note that California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) has issued two new documents that are relevant to the administration of an employee’s leave under these laws.

  1. Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave Notice.

The DFEH’s new Notice provides notice to employees that under the CFRA they can take up to 12 workweeks within a 12 month period for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of their child or for their own serious health condition, or that of their child, parent, or spouse, if they meet the eligibility requirements for leave under the statute – which are: more than 12 months of service; 1,250 hours in the 12-month period before the date leave begins; and are employed at a worksite where the employer has 50 or more employees at that worksite or within a 75 mile radius.  So far, nothing new right? 

The Notice then goes on to advise employees that if the employer employs less than 50 employees, but at least 20 employees, at the worksite or within a 75 mile radius, the employee may have a right to take leave for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child under the NPLA. Unfortunately, the Notice is a little vague in that it does not expressly notify employees that the NPLA also requires that they meet the other two eligibility requirements (more than 12 months of service with the employer and 1,250 hours of work in the 12 months prior to the date the leave is to begin). Instead, the Notice only refers to the CFRA when outlining those two eligibility requirements.  Nevertheless, that NPLA is clear that such eligibility requirements must be met before an employee can take protected leave under the NPLA.

A copy of the DFEH Notice can be obtained here: https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2017/06/CFRA_PregnancyLeave_English.pdf

  1. Certification of Health Care Provider [for California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)]

The DFEH’s Health Care Provider Certification is straight forward and can be used for the serious health condition of the employee or if the employee needs CFRA/FMLA leave for the serious health care of his/her family member.  IMPORTANT:  California employers should use the DFEH’s Certification form (or another similar form) instead of the federal DOL FMLA-Medical Certification form because, unlike under the FMLA, employers are not entitled to obtain information about an employee’s (or their family members’) medical diagnosis under CFRA.

A copy of the DFEH Certification can be obtained here: https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2017/12/CFRA-Certification-Health-Care-Provider_ENG.pdf

The Employment attorneys at Weintraub Tobin have years of experience assisting employers in preparing compliant and effective leave of absence policies and administration practices.  Feel free to reach out to one of them today if we can be of assistance.