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Congratulations on the new child in your home or the new child you are expecting! The information below will help you understand the leave, pay and benefits that may be available to you as a County employee. If you need more information, please call:

  • The County’s Leave Management Specialist at (650) 363-7882 for questions regarding leave entitlements;
  • The Benefits Division at (650) 363-1919 or email benefits@smcgov.org for questions regarding your benefits;
  • The Controller’s Office at (650) 363-4777 for questions regarding integration of SDI, PFL and Short Term Disability payments.

Leaves Associated with Pregnancy Disability, Child Bonding and Caregiving


Pregnancy Disability Leave

What is it?

California law provides up to four months (a maximum of 17-1/3 weeks) of unpaid, job protected leave for mothers who are disabled as a result of their pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) can be taken for reasons, such as:

  • Prenatal care;
  • Severe morning sickness;
  • Doctor-ordered bed rest;
  • Childbirth;
  • Recovery from childbirth; or
  • Assisted reproductive treatment.

Pregnancy Disability Leave is separate and distinct from any child bonding leave you may be entitled to pursuant to the County’s Parental Leave Policy and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). This means that after you have had your child and finished recovering, you may still be eligible for child bonding leave. (See More information below regarding FMLA and CFRA Child Bonding leave)

Pregnant employees may also be entitled to reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act/Fair Employment Housing Act (ADA/FEHA), such as light duty, reassignment, modified work schedules or additional leave, if required by the pregnancy. Please Contact the County’s Disability Manager at (650) 363-4738, for more information.

Who is Eligible

Employees are eligible for this leave regardless of length of service or hours worked.

How Long is the Leave?

Employees are eligible for up to four months (a maximum 17-1/3 work-weeks) but the amount of leave required is determined by the employee’s health care provider based on the employee’s medical needs.

Is it paid?
  • PDL provides for unpaid leave.
  • However, employees may elect to use their accrued vacation, sick, compensatory leave and/or floating holidays.
  • If you wish to use any of these accrued paid hours during your leave, you must inform your supervisor as soon as possible and indicate the type of hours you would like to use and in what order. If possible, you should inform your supervisor well in advance of your anticipated leave in case your need for leave comes sooner than expected.
  • Please be aware: If you choose not to use any form of accrued paid hours you will likely owe certain costs such as the employee’s share of health insurance benefits.
  • An employee on PDL leave might be eligible for certain forms of salary replacement, including but not limited to:
    • State Disability Insurance (“SDI”);
    • Paid Family Leave (“PFL”); or
    • Short Term Disability Insurance (“STDI”).
PLEASE NOTE: Paid Family Leave (PFL) and SDI (State Disability Insurance)
  • SDI and PFL: The SDI and PFL programs are funded through payroll deductions and administered by the State Employment Development Department (EDD). Most but not all, County employees are covered.
  • Some employees such as Managers, Attorneys, Confidential, and Extra Help Employees and members of DSA, OSS, PDA and SMCCE do not participate in SDI and PFL.

How do I know if I am covered?

Expanded Short Term Disability Insurance:

Some County employees that do not participate in SDI/PFL are eligible to purchase Expanded Short-Term Disability Insurance at any time of the year by creating a “Short Term Disability Change” event in Workday. You can find more information on the County’s website at the following link: https://hr.smcgov.org/short-term-disability-insurance

Union Provided Disability Insurance

Some County employees participate in a disability insurance program through their union. Those employees should check with their union or disability insurance provider for more information.

What happens to my Benefits while I’m on Leave?
  • While Using Accrued Paid Leave Hours
    • If the employee is receiving any pay through the use of accrued paid leave hours (such as sick leave, vacation or compensatory time), the Employee portion of Benefits will continue to be deducted from the employee’s bi-weekly pay in the same manner that it is deducted while the employee is working.
    • The Employer portion of Benefits will continue to be paid by the County, which includes the employee’s health, dental, life, AD&D and vision insurance.
  • Not Using Accrued Paid Leave Hours
    • If the employee is not using accrued paid leave hours during a Pregnancy Disability Leave, the employee is entitled to continue to participate in the County’s group health insurance plans on the same basis as active employees.
    • Therefore, if an employee wishes to continue the coverage, the County will continue to pay the Employer portion of the employee’s health, dental, life, AD&D and vision insurance as if the employee were still working.
    • However, since the County cannot deduct the employee’s portion from the employee’s pay, the County will send the employee a bill on a bi-weekly basis for their contribution. Failure to provide timely payment will result in cancellation of the employee’s benefits.
Reinstatement after leave?

At the end of leave, an employee is entitled to reinstatement to the position the employee held when they went out on leave, or to an available comparable position. However, if an employee remains on leave beyond their entitlement under the PDL, the employee forfeits the right to reinstatement. In addition, employees have no greater rights to reinstatement, benefits and other conditions of employment than if the employee had been continuously employed during the PDL period. (e.g. no right to reinstatement if position was eliminated through layoff.)

How do I request Pregnancy Disability Leave?

Employees should notify their supervisors or managers of the need for leave as soon as possible and request the leave in Workday.

Employees will be required to provide certification of a need for the leave from a healthcare provider.

To request a leave in Workday, visit the Leave of Absence Quick Reference Card (QRC) on the Workday Connect resource site.

Additional Information

For more information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions about Pregnancy Disability Leave from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) at the following link: https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/resources/frequently-asked-questions/employment-faqs/pregnancy-disability-leave-faqs/


County Parental Leave Policy (Child bonding)

What is it?

The County has its own policy which provides for a leave of absence without pay for the purpose of fulfilling parenting responsibilities after the birth or placement of a child.

Who is eligible?

New parents, during the period of one (1) year following the child's birth, or one (1) year following the placement of a child with an employee in connection with the adoption or foster care of the child by the employee.

How Long is the Leave?

The leave is for a maximum of 13 bi-weekly pay periods and is at the discretion of the Department. It runs concurrently with FMLA/CFRA bonding leave.

Is it paid?
  • The County Parental Leave Policy provides unpaid leave.
  • An employee may use but is not required to use accrued vacation, compensatory or holiday hours. Employees are not required to use sick leave but may use up to 30 days of sick leave for Parental Leave.
What Happens to My Benefits While I’m on Leave?
  • If the employee is receiving pay due to the use of accrued leave, the County continues to cover its portion of the employee’s health, dental, life, AD&D and vision insurance and the employee’s normal contributions will be taken from the employee’s pay as usual.
  • Employees on County Parental Leave may also qualify for PDL, FMLA or CFRA. If so, the employee is entitled to continue to participate in the County’s group health insurance plans on the same basis as active employees even if the employee is in an unpaid status. Please see the sections on PDL and FMLA/CFRA leave for more information.
How do I request County Parental Leave?

Employees should notify their supervisors or managers of the need for leave as soon as possible and request the leave in Workday. To find out how to request leave in Workday, visit the Leave of Absence Quick Reference Card (QRC) on the Workday Connect resource site.


FMLA and CFRA: Child Bonding Leave

What is it?

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA) requires that the County provide eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for bonding with a newborn, adopted child, or child placed for foster care.

Who is Eligible?
  • Employees who:
    • Have been employed by the County for 12 months; AND
    • Have worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave; AND
    • Have a child born or placed with them for adoption or foster care within the last 12 months.
How Long is the Leave?
  • FMLA and CFRA generally run concurrently and provide up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during the calendar year for child bonding. However, for employees giving birth, the 12 weeks of CFRA bonding is a separate and distinct period of leave on top of any time the employee might be entitled to for pregnancy and child birth related disability under the FMLA and PDL.
  • Child bonding leave may be taken intermittently. However, the minimum duration of child bonding leave will be two weeks, except the County will grant intermittent child bonding leave of less than a two week duration on any two occasions. When the child bonding leave is taken in less than full week increments, the 12 week period is converted to an equivalent number of work hours. Full-time employees may take up to 480 hours of protected leave (based on a 40-hour workweek).
  • Leave taken for child bonding must be taken within 12 months of the child’s arrival.
Is it paid?
  • FMLA/CFRA provides for unpaid leave.
  • However, employees may elect to use their accrued vacation, sick, compensatory leave and/or floating holidays. As explained more in the section on County Parental leave, employees may only use up to 30 days of sick leave for child bonding.
  • Employees are not required to use any accrued paid leave during FMLA/CFRA child bonding.
  • An employee on FMLA/CFRA child bonding leave might be eligible for certain forms of salary replacement, including but not limited to:
  • Paid Family Leave (“PFL”)
PLEASE NOTE: Paid Family Leave (PFL)
  • PFL: The PFL program is funded through payroll deductions and administered by the State Employment Development Department (EDD). Most, but not all, County employees are covered.
  • Some employees such as Managers, Attorneys, Confidential and Extra Help Employees and members of DSA, OSS, PDA and SMCCE do not participate in SDI and PFL.

How do I know if I am covered?

Expanded Short Term Disability Insurance:

Some County employees that do not participate in SDI/PFL are eligible to purchase Expanded Short-Term Disability Insurance at any time of the year by creating a “Short Term Disability Change” event in Workday. You can find more information on the County’s website at the following link: https://hr.smcgov.org/short-term-disability-insurance

What happens to my Benefits while I’m on Leave?
  • While Using Accrued Paid Leave Hours
    • If the employee is receiving any pay through the use of accrued paid leave hours (such as sick leave, vacation or compensatory time), the Employee portion of Benefits will continue to be deducted from the employee’s bi-weekly pay in the same manner that it is deducted while the employee is working.
    • The Employer portion of Benefits will continue to be paid by the County, which includes the employee’s health, dental, life, AD&D and vision insurance.
  • Not Using Accrued Paid Leave Hours
    • If the employee is not using accrued paid leave hours during an FMLA/CFRA child bonding Leave, the employee is entitled to continue to participate in the County’s group health insurance plans on the same basis as active employees.
    • Therefore, if an employee wishes to continue the coverage, the County will continue to pay the Employer portion of the employee’s health, dental, life, AD&D and vision insurance as if the employee were still working.
    • However, since the County cannot deduct the employee’s portion from the employee’s pay, the County will send the employee a bill on a bi-weekly basis for their contribution. Failure to provide timely payment will result in cancellation of the employee’s benefits. As explained more in the section on County Parental leave, employees may also use up to 30 days of sick leave for child bonding. Employees are not required to use any accrued paid leave during child bonding.
Reinstatement after leave?

At the end of leave, an employee is entitled to reinstatement to the position the employee held when they went out on leave, or to an equivalent position. However, if an employee remains on leave beyond their entitlement under the FMLA and/or CFRA, the employee forfeits the right to reinstatement. In addition, employees have no greater rights to reinstatement, benefits and other conditions of employment than if the employee had been continuously employed during the PDL period. (e.g. no right to reinstatement if position was eliminated through layoff.)

How do I request FMLA/CFRA child bonding leave?

Employees should notify their supervisors or managers of the need for leave as soon as possible and request the leave in Workday. To find out how to request a leave in Workday, visit the Leave of Absence Quick Reference Card (QRC) on the Workday Connect resource site.


Intersection of all of these types of leave

When do the leaves start?
  • Generally, an employee will be eligible for PDL and FMLA leave prior to the birth of a child if there are any medical complications associated with the pregnancy. Examples include severe morning sickness or healthcare provider ordered bed rest. The maximum time allowances for FMLA and PDL would run concurrently during this time.
  • For adoptive or foster parents, FMLA also includes absences before the placement if required for the placement to proceed (e.g., counseling sessions, court appearances, attorney consultations, consultations with the doctor(s) of the birth parent and medical examinations)
After the birth of the child

Once the child is born, the mother will likely be unable to work due to her medical condition for some time. FMLA and PDL would run concurrently to provide this leave up to the maximum time allowances. A note from a healthcare provider will be required to document the length of leave needed due to medical necessity. If the mother is medically unable to resume work once FMLA & PDL are exhausted, the mother may be eligible to extend her Leave under the County’s Medical Leave policy.

Bonding with the Child
  • Once a child is born or placed with a parent employee, the employee’s department head (or their designee) may grant the employee up to 13 bi-weekly pay periods of parental leave.
  • If an employee qualifies for baby bonding leave under the CFRA, then they would be entitled to 12 weeks of child bonding time to be taken within one year of the birth or placement of the child. CFRA bonding leave is not discretionary like County Parental Leave and with CFRA leave the County continues to pay its portion of the employee’s benefits even if the employee is in an unpaid status.