Pregnancy and Child Care Leave Information
Congratulations! Now that you have made the big announcement, there are some things that need to be done so that you can be assured to receive all the benefits you are entitled to given your situation.
Step 1: You should contact Lena Bryant in the District’s Human Resources Department (522-2230), and let them know you are pregnant. Lena will schedule an appointment for you to meet with Paula Robinson, Coordinator of Human Resources. Letting your site principal know is NOT sufficient.
Step 2: You must send Lena Bryant a doctor’s note indicating estimated due date. This should be done at your earliest convenience.*
If you would like to fax the document, the Human Resources fax # is: 408-245-8548. All faxes should be put to the attention of Human Resources.
*“earliest convenience” is rather vague in that different people choose to announce their pregnancies at different stages. Therefore, it is difficult to mandate a particular time frame. However, after consulting with several mothers, perhaps “by week 24 of the pregnancy” would be an appropriate suggested guideline.
Step 3: Later on in your pregnancy (at least two weeks before leave is scheduled to begin), request a note or letter from your physician indicating the beginning date of your pregnancy disability (or last day of work to put it another way). The length of time you are on pregnancy disability varies from pregnancy to pregnancy. The “two weeks before; six weeks after” is just a guideline – It is the physician’s note that is the determining factor for how long you are out on pregnancy disability. Human Resources needs this note to ensure that extended sick leave and income protection benefits are not delayed.
Illustrative example: Suppose you are due to give birth on October 15, 2013. You announce this news on March 15, 2013. Shortly after March 15, you should notify Human Resources indicating your pregnant status, and due date. A doctor’s note indicating the estimated due date should accompany this notification. Then, after consulting with your physician, request a second note from your physician that indicates when you will be out on pregnancy disability. This usually happens several months into the pregnancy. Your physician may write a letter indicating that you are expected to be off work from October 1 through November 28. Make a copy of this doctor’s note for your own records, and send (or fax) the note to Human Resources. NOTE: Oftentimes, the dates of pregnancy disability may change. As these changes occur, it's important to send updated physician’s notices to Human Resources to ensure that your compensation and benefits are fully protected as allowed by contract.
Step 4: Returning to work: Approximately six weeks after giving birth, your doctor will release you to return to work. A note from your doctor needs to be submitted to Human Resources with the date you are able to return to work. If you are returning to work, you will resume your duties on the day of your release from disability. The work day preceding the date of release will be the last paid day unless the member returns to work.
Before returning to work, you must be cleared by Human Resources. Please contact Human Resources at 408-522-2230 to confirm that no further information is needed. This is to ensure that your salary and benefits are correct.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We must receive a note indicating when you are medically able to resume work, even if you choose to take unpaid child care leave following your pregnancy disability. Failure to comply with this provision leads to payroll issues which can lead to overpayment and then collection of future wages.
Step 5: Choosing to take Child Care leave: Certificated employee's, under Article 7 in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, you shall be granted unpaid Child Care leave if you request it for the academic school year in which your child is born, and the subsequent year. Forms for Unpaid Child Care Leave are available on-line, at the school sites, and at the Human Resources office. Classified employee's, under Article 9 section 4 in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, you are also entitled to unpaid Child Care leave for a period of up to 1 year.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (the answers)
Pregnancy disability: This is the physician-determined amount of time that one is not able to work due to your having a baby.
Child care leave: This is unpaid leave that you have a right to take advantage of if you wish. This type of leave often occurs after the physician has medically cleared you to be able to work, but you voluntarily choose not to work.
When you first go on pregnancy disability, you use up all your sick leave first. This is full-pay/full benefits. Once sick leave is exhausted, you go on disability pay, which comes to 75% pay (50% paid by the District, 25% paid by our income protection insurance plan administered currently by The Standard.)
Income protection is a part of the health and welfare package. For disability purposes (including pregnancy), this benefit will bring your pay to 75% of your current per diem level of pay. To calculate your per diem pay, take your annual salary on the salary schedule, and divide by number of required duty days. This is known as your per diem. For example, if you earn $60,000 in contracted salary, your per diem is just over $326. 75% of this amount is $244.50. This is how much pay you will receive for each school day you are out on disability. $163 will come for our District (50% of $326), and $81.50 (25% of $326) will come from income protection, currently managed by The Standard.
*There are some additional amounts of compensation that income protection provides. For example, you will receive an additional $12.50 for each work day that you are out on disability for which you used sick leave. In addition, you receive a small additional payment for each day you are hospitalized. Feel free to call The Standard for more details on this additional payment structure at 1(800) 522-0406.
Once Human Resources is informed of the amount of time you will be on Pregnancy Disability via your physician’s note, you will be ready to submit (begin) your disability claim with The Standard Disability Insurance Company. Contact The Standard at 1-800-522-0406, you will be sent a packet for completion. You the claimant will fill out one portion and your physician will complete another. Payroll will complete the final portion. To see sample forms, click here.
These forms must be mailed to the address provided on the forms. Certified mail is recommended, and allow 10 days to process this information. Once the information is processed, you will receive a check based on the number of work days you are out. Note: At the end of the calendar year, you will receive a W-2 for this amount and you are subject to all applicable taxes.
Whenever you are out on disability, all accumulated sick leave is used up first, before any disability (income protection) payments apply. When you return from pregnancy disability leave during the same school year, you may be out of sick leave. This means that if you take any additional sick days that same school year, you will be docked full per diem pay.
Throughout your pregnancy disability, you are fully covered*. Once you are medically released to return to work, and if you choose to take unpaid child care leave, you will receive an additional 12 weeks of paid coverage, per the California Family Rights Act. After that 12 week period, you will no longer be on district-paid coverage. NOTE: You do have COBRA rights, which allow you to purchase into your employer-sponsored benefit plan at your own expense. If you are interested in pursuing this option, there are important time frames and deadlines to consider, so please contact Benefits Analyst Sherill Panelo at 408-522-2214.
*fully covered implies that you continue to be on the same plan that you subscribed to at the time of pregnancy. If you chose to decline coverage, you will continue to remain without District-sponsored coverage.
Certificated employee's can find out the details of your coverage by going to our health care website: www.vitacompanies.com. There, click on “login” (upper right corner). Click on "Benefits Employee Login”. User ID = fremont; password = fremont. Once there, you can read all about your plan summaries, depending on whether you are on Kaiser or Anthem/Blue Cross. If you have further questions, you can call our health broker Vita directly at (650) 968-8811.
Note: It may be prudent to ask a lot of questions from your health care provider to make sure what is covered and what is not. For example, Blue Cross members in the past have experienced high bills from anesthesiologists – through no fault of the member whatsoever.
In such an instance, your physician’s note is the key indicator that the Human Resources office will use to make necessary changes to your status. Simply contact the HR department, send the required physician’s note indicating your change in condition, and the changes to your dates on leave will be adjusted. Your pay will be affected in that you will presumably have a longer amount of time on disability pay (75% level) than you originally expected. This of course depends on the amount of sick leave you have accrued as well.
Certificated unit members who are absent due to Child Care Leave – the year of the birth plus up to one additional year -- shall have the right to return to their last assigned school, and, insofar as possible, to their previous assignment. If your leave and return is during the same academic school year, it is reasonable to expect the same classroom and same schedule as you had when going on leave; however, there is no contractual provision guaranteeing this situation.
Classified members shall have the ability to return to an equivalent position in terms of title and pay within the District.
In order to get credit for a year of service, you must be on paid status for 75% of the number of school days. For teachers, this represents a total of 138 days. This usually corresponds to being on paid status until the beginning of April. Note that while you are on Pregnancy Disability leave, you are on paid status. Only when you elect to take unpaid Child Care Leave will you stop accruing days counted toward “paid status”.
During your pregnancy, you will complete the Unpaid Leave Request Form. This form will ask you to indicate when you expect to go on leave, and when you expect to return. These are available on-line in the Employee Forms section of this website.
A Certificated unit member on an unpaid leave of absence may request to abridge his/her leave to return at the beginning of a semester. Such request will be approved provided the District determines that an appropriate vacant position is available.
A Classified unit member may request to abridge their leave by submitting a written request to Human Resources. Such requests shall be granted at the sole discretion of the District.
Certificated members must indicate by February 1 of the then current school year if you plan on returning the following school year. Failure to so inform the District can be construed as a resignation effective at the end of the then current school year. This is true for all leaves, not just child care leaves.
Both male and female members are able to request an Unpaid Child Care leave. Family Medical Leave Act and California Family Rights Act provisions apply here as well i.e. the member will be covered by medical insurance for up to 12 weeks.
Adoptive parents and unit members spouse of a birth mother with accrued sick leave may use up to 20 days of that as a Parental Leave of Absence for the purpose of caring for a new child.
Regarding Certificated employee's, there is no provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that addresses this question. However, it is expected that you discuss this matter with your department chair and your principal (or designee) and determine a reasonable, professional course of action. In the past, principals have provided opportunities for the long-term substitute and the teacher going on leave to meet ahead of time to facilitate the transition process.