Requests for CFRA Leave: Advance Notice; Certification; Employer Response.
(a) Advance Notice.
(1) Verbal Notice.
An employee shall provide at least verbal notice sufficient to make the employer aware that the employee needs CFRA-qualifying leave, and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave. The employee need not expressly assert rights under CFRA or FMLA, or even mention CFRA or FMLA, to meet the notice requirement; however, the employee must state the reason the leave is needed, such as, for example, the expected birth of a child or for medical treatment. The employer should inquire further of the employee if it is necessary to have more information about whether CFRA leave is being sought by the employee and obtain the necessary details of the leave to be taken.
(A) Under all circumstances, it is the employer's responsibility to designate leave, paid or unpaid, as CFRA or CFRA/FMLA qualifying, based on information provided by the employee or the employee's spokesperson, and to give notice of the designation to the employee.
(B) Employers may not retroactively designate leave as CFRA leave after the employee has returned to work, except under those same circumstances provided for in FMLA and its implementing regulations for retroactively counting leave as FMLA leave.
(2) 30 Days Advance Notice.
An employer may require that employees provide at least 30 days advance notice before CFRA leave is to begin if the need for the leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement for adoption or foster care, or planned medical treatment for a serious health condition of the employee or a family member. The employee shall consult with the employer and make a reasonable effort to schedule any planned medical treatment or supervision so as to minimize disruption to the operations of the employer. Any such scheduling, however, shall be subject to the approval of the health care provider of the employee or the employee's child, parent or spouse.
(3) When 30 Days Not Practicable.
If 30 days' notice is not practicable, such as because of a lack of knowledge of approximately when leave will be required to begin, a change in circumstances, or a medical emergency, notice must be given as soon as practicable.
(4) Prohibition Against Denial of Leave in Emergency or Unforeseeable Circumstances.
An employer shall not deny a CFRA leave, the need for which is an emergency or is otherwise unforeseeable, on the basis that the employee did not provide advance notice of the need for the leave.
(5) Employer Obligation to Inform Employees of Notice Requirement.
An employer shall give its employees reasonable advance notice of any notice requirements that it adopts. The employer may incorporate its notice requirements in the general notice requirements in section 11096 and such incorporation shall constitute reasonable advance notice. Failure of the employer to give or post such notice shall preclude the employer from taking any adverse action against the employee, including denying CFRA leave, for failing to furnish the employer with advance notice of a need to take CFRA leave.
(6) Employer Response to Leave Request.
The employer shall respond to the leave request as soon as practicable and in any event no later than 10 calendar days after receiving the request. The employer shall attempt to respond to the leave request before the date the leave is due to begin. Once given, approval shall be deemed retroactive to the date of the first day of the leave.
(b) Medical Certification.
(1) Serious Health Condition of Child, Parent, or Spouse.
As a condition of granting a leave for the serious health condition of the employee's child, parent or spouse, the employer may require certification of the serious health condition, as defined in section 11087(a)(1). If the certification satisfies the requirements of section 11087(a)(1), the employer must accept it as sufficient. Upon expiration of the time period the health care provider originally estimated that the employee needed to take care of the employee's child, parent or spouse, the employer may require the employee to obtain recertification if additional leave is requested.
(2) Serious Health Condition of Employee.
As a condition of granting a leave for the serious health condition of the employee, the employer may require certification of the serious health condition, as defined in section 11087(a)(2). Upon expiration of the time period the health care provider originally estimated that the employee needed for his/her own serious health condition, the employer may require the employee to obtain recertification if additional leave is requested.
(A) If the employer has reason to doubt the validity of the certification provided by the employee for his/her own serious health condition, the employer may require, at the employer's own expense, that the employee obtain the opinion of a second health care provider, designated or approved by the employer, concerning any information in the certification. The health care provider designated or approved by the employer shall not be employed on a regular basis by the employer.
1. The employer may not ask the employee to provide additional information beyond that allowed by these regulations.
2. The employer is responsible for complying with all applicable law regarding the confidentiality of any medical information received.
(B) In any case in which the second opinion described in (b)(2)(A) differs from the opinion in the original certification, the employer may require, at the employer's expense, that the employee obtain the opinion of a third health care provider, designated or approved jointly by both the employer and the employee, concerning any information in the certification.
(C) The opinion of the third health care provider concerning the information in the certification shall be considered to be final and shall be binding on the employer and the employee.
(D) The employer is required to provide the employee with a copy of the second and third medical opinions, where applicable, without cost, upon the request of the employee.
(E) As a condition of an employee's return from medical leave, the employer may require that the employee obtain a release to return-to-work from his/her health care provider stating that he/she is able to resume work only if the employer has a uniformly applied practice or policy of requiring such releases from other employees returning to work after illness, injury or disability.
(3) Providing Certification.
The employer may require that the employee provide any certification within 15 calendar days of the employer's request for such certification, unless it is not practicable for the employee to do so despite the employee's good faith efforts. This means that, in some cases, the leave may begin before the employer receives the certification.
Government Code 12935
Government Code 12945.2
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.
29 C.F.R. ¬§ 825
(Amended by Register 2013, No. 40.)