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My wife's about to have our baby. Although I have a good relationship with my managers here @ UCB, they don't want me to take more than two weeks off when my new baby is born. I'd requested three weeks, but the managers don't have a backup for my position. (I am a UC staff employee in the non-union "Professional and Support Staff" series. I have more than a month of earned vacation leave available on the books as well as several months of earned sick leave available.)
Taking a look at UC's booklet,"Balancing Work and Family," (page 3) it states that the under the Family Leave Act, the employer "shall" grant leave up to 12 weeks. Does "shall" mean "must"? And does it make any difference whether I refer to California's act or the Federal act? Any advice for how to handle this situation? Ideally I'd like to be on 3 weeks' *paid* leave while taking care of the new baby and my wife.
We only get to have our first baby once, and don't want it spoiled by this circumstance. Maybe this is too much of a liberated-dad idea? Thanks.
Under the Family Leave Act or California Family Rights Act, if an employee meets the following requirements, and gives the proper notice, the employee is entitled (shall means must) to leave for bonding with a new born child (see Personnel Policies for Staff Employees (PPSM) No. 43. 1. Employee must meet the eligibility criteria: - 12 cumulative months of University service, and - worked 1,250 hours during 12 months immediately preceding the beginning of the leave. 2. Use of leave: - Employee's option to use vacation leave if for *health* reasons. - If not for health, vacation leave *shall* be used. 3. If possible, employee gives at least 30 days advance notice. Failure to give proper notice may postpone the leave. The employee should call their department Employee Relations Specialist for assistance or additional questions.
Hi - an Employee Relations specialist led me to the precise answer at the UC Office of the President HR site at: http://www.ucop.edu/humres/policies/spp43.html which is a subset of http://www.ucop.edu/humres/policies/ The policy is very generous IMHO. It specifically mentions bonding (!) and says, among many other things, that up to 12 weeks can be taken during the 1st year. "...Family and medical leave is provided for an eligible employee's serious health condition, the serious health condition of the employee's child, spouse, or parent, or to bond with the employee's newborn, adopted, or foster care child in accordance with State and Federal law in effect at the time the leave is granted." Like many things, the answer is on the web if only we know where to look...
I recently spoke with Employee Relations about my impending maternity leave, and they were very informative in outlining what I am eligible for in terms of FMLA and State of California provisions. However what is available for delivering moms may be different for new dads. Good luck.
To make sure you are getting the whole story, you may want to consult an outside source (am I paranoid?) There is a family and medical leave act hotline run by the attorneys at the employment law center in SF. It is *** FREE *** and they can answer all your questions and tell you what they must provide.
You can reach them at 1-800-880-8047. Typically, you leave a message and a law clerk calls you back. The more people who know what they are entitled to get, the more the various managers/bosses are educated--It is a relatively new law and so I would encourage you to use it to the maximum.
(BTW: My husband is self employed and took 8 weeks off for the birth of our son and it is some of the best times we ever had as a couple--I also felt more confident when he returned to work because we had so much time just the 3 of us)
re: family leave ... when my second child arrived (I am adopting her older sister and so got a sudden call from the social worker when a birth-sibling was born and placed into foster care) ... I didn't even KNOW I was expecting! :-) So I'd saved no time for maternity leave.
I read the family medical leave act (FMLA) carefully, and it says one is entitled to 90 days but it does NOT say the 90 days must be consecutive. Therefore, I took my time in the following "package:" 3 weeks off followed by taking one day off per week for 6 months. All of that time is without pay, so it helped me to divide up the pay cut (no way could I get through 90 consecutive days without pay) AND it helped my work group by keeping the work flowing along, even if at a slightly slower pace, rather than just abandoning my desk for 3 straight months. This was a creative, win-win solution my supervisor and I worked out which fell within the guidelines of the law.
I encourage other employees to use the FMLA in varied and flexible ways, to educate themselves and their colleagues and supervisors, so that we can all help build an atomsphere where work and family can co-exist harmoniously (WELL, at least be juggled).
For anyone who wants detailed information on the Family & Medical Leave Act, our program, California Public Employee Relations, here at the Institute of Industrial Relations, publishes the Pocket Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act. $8 each.
It explains the federal FMLA of 1993 and the California Family Rights Act of 1993. It lays out the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees under each of the statutes, and gives a detailed, but understandable, summary of the acts' provisions. For each topic, differences between the two laws are pointed out and the reader is advised as to which provision to follow.
Send me an e-mail if you're interested, or stop by the 3rd floor of 2521 Channing Way, just off Telegraph.
It occurs to me after reading about the confusion over Family & Medical Leave, especially on the part of supervisors, that many parents (and supervisors) are perhaps unaware of California's Family School Partnership Act, which was amended 1/1/98. For me it was a real blessing to discover that I needn't feel guilty when asking for time off for important events at my son's preschool. This is the blurb from the "Balancing Work & Family" publication (p.4 in hard copy).
Leave for Day Care and School Activities
The California Family School Partnership Act provides for time off to participate in school activities such as PTA meetings, parent/teacher conferences, and field trips, provided that the child is in a licensed day care facility or kindergarten through grade 12 and the employee is the child's parent, guardian, or custodial grandparent. Leave may be for up to eight hours per calendar month, not to exceed 40 hours per year.
You must give reasonable notice of the planned absence, and your supervisor may require certification from the child's school. The absence will be charged to accrued vacation leave or compensatory time. If you have used up these accruals, the absence will be charged to leave without pay.
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