Author Topic: Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA  (Read 3720 times)

jeromedawg

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Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA
« on: September 04, 2015, 11:44:51 AM »
Hey guys,

I'm in CA and my company gives us 4 weeks of paid parental leave. We also qualify for 7 weeks of Paid Family Leave but this is in parallel with our company's paid parental leave. So basically, the first 4 weeks are fully paid (between my company and the state), and then 3 weeks are partially paid at 55% from the state. FMLA is not salary related but protects my job for up to 12 weeks, so I could take an additional 5 weeks unpaid leave with my job being protected.

So my question, as it's related to retirement accounts, etc, is if it's worth it taking the California Paid Family Leave as well as unpaid leave (for FMLA) and 'losing' 55% of my potential 401k and ESPP contributions during that time? As far as the 3 weeks of partial 55% pay, the money I receive is going straight onto one of those debit card things so won't go into a 401k or anything. Of course, this is technically money I'm getting back from taxes I paid (SDI or something?), I'm assuming...? I'm guessing it's a good thing to opt for those 3 weeks of partial pay. But is it worth it to take the additional 5 weeks of unpaid leave too? I would think, only in case of emergency, would I take those unpaid 5 weeks. As far as 401k (but prob not ESPP), I guess I could always increase my contribution after the fact to try to 'catch up' if I feel I'm not going to max out? But it's not like I can do the same (increase the contribution amount on the fly) for ESPP... and even then, it takes a couple weeks for the changed contribution amount to kick in, so I'm wondering if I'll have enough time since year end is coming up sooner than I know it.   

TIA
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 11:50:44 AM by jplee3 »

nobody123

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Re: Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2015, 11:49:47 AM »
I am assuming it's your first child.  Plan to take all of the time available to you, assuming you can afford it.  You can always cut the FMLA portion short if you decide you're physically and emotionally ready to go back earlier.

jeromedawg

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Re: Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2015, 11:56:44 AM »
I am assuming it's your first child.  Plan to take all of the time available to you, assuming you can afford it.  You can always cut the FMLA portion short if you decide you're physically and emotionally ready to go back earlier.

Yes, it's our first kid. My wife is taking off the full [partial] paid time via SDI and PFL, and supplementing some of it with sick time so we get a bit more pay and cash out on her sick time since it expires anyway. I think I'll probably be ready to go back to work sooner, but they do allow us to split out our FMLA time off, PFL and parental leave at a week at a time if we want to (just have to give at least a week's notice). So I don't have to take it all at once and could take it at a minimum of a week at a time or so. What I'm not so certain about is going forward and taking the unpaid portion of FMLA... on a side note, the company says we can take PTO or sick time to 'supplement' the unpaid portion of FMLA - in fact, I think the company is supposed to report that. I'm not sure what benefit that is to me though versus just taking "non-FMLA" PTO - I guess doing it this way leaves room to still take 5 weeks of unpaid leave if necessary.

kimmarg

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Re: Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2015, 05:59:32 PM »
Have you considered taking your 5 weeks FMLA after your wife has taken her time off and goes back to work? This would save 5 weeks of childcare costs. Several men in my organization have done this.

lhamo

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Re: Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2015, 06:12:07 PM »
It should also be possible to use the unpaid FMLA leave on a PT basis -- this can enable you to ease into childcare arrangements.  My DH and I alternated unpaid FMLA leave for awhile, and then had his parents come help.  Meant that our DS only had family caring for him for roughly his first year (we got a live-in nanny at that point, but we were in China so it was more affordable).

RunHappy

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Re: Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2015, 06:15:17 PM »
I am assuming it's your first child.  Plan to take all of the time available to you, assuming you can afford it.  You can always cut the FMLA portion short if you decide you're physically and emotionally ready to go back earlier.

Yes, it's our first kid. My wife is taking off the full [partial] paid time via SDI and PFL, and supplementing some of it with sick time so we get a bit more pay and cash out on her sick time since it expires anyway. I think I'll probably be ready to go back to work sooner, but they do allow us to split out our FMLA time off, PFL and parental leave at a week at a time if we want to (just have to give at least a week's notice). So I don't have to take it all at once and could take it at a minimum of a week at a time or so. What I'm not so certain about is going forward and taking the unpaid portion of FMLA... on a side note, the company says we can take PTO or sick time to 'supplement' the unpaid portion of FMLA - in fact, I think the company is supposed to report that. I'm not sure what benefit that is to me though versus just taking "non-FMLA" PTO - I guess doing it this way leaves room to still take 5 weeks of unpaid leave if necessary.

Not sure I understand what you mean by "split" the FMLA time, but the federal mandate says you have to take it all at one time.  Meaning you cannot take 2 weeks this month then 2 weeks next month.   It has to be concurrent.

I am planning to use a combination of PTO and FMLA, which means I should only have 3 weeks of unpaid time off.  Remember FMLA only guarantees your job will still be there after 12 weeks.  It does not guarantee pay.

kkbmustang

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Re: Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2015, 07:02:14 PM »
I am assuming it's your first child.  Plan to take all of the time available to you, assuming you can afford it.  You can always cut the FMLA portion short if you decide you're physically and emotionally ready to go back earlier.

Yes, it's our first kid. My wife is taking off the full [partial] paid time via SDI and PFL, and supplementing some of it with sick time so we get a bit more pay and cash out on her sick time since it expires anyway. I think I'll probably be ready to go back to work sooner, but they do allow us to split out our FMLA time off, PFL and parental leave at a week at a time if we want to (just have to give at least a week's notice). So I don't have to take it all at once and could take it at a minimum of a week at a time or so. What I'm not so certain about is going forward and taking the unpaid portion of FMLA... on a side note, the company says we can take PTO or sick time to 'supplement' the unpaid portion of FMLA - in fact, I think the company is supposed to report that. I'm not sure what benefit that is to me though versus just taking "non-FMLA" PTO - I guess doing it this way leaves room to still take 5 weeks of unpaid leave if necessary.

Not sure I understand what you mean by "split" the FMLA time, but the federal mandate says you have to take it all at one time.  Meaning you cannot take 2 weeks this month then 2 weeks next month.   It has to be concurrent.

I am planning to use a combination of PTO and FMLA, which means I should only have 3 weeks of unpaid time off.  Remember FMLA only guarantees your job will still be there after 12 weeks.  It does not guarantee pay.

Actually, if you're referring to FMLA, you do not have to take it concurrently.

From the Department of Labor:

"Intermittent/reduced leave schedule
(Q)   Does an employee have to take leave all at once or can it be taken periodically or to reduce the employee’s schedule?
When it is medically necessary, employees may take FMLA leave intermittently – taking leave in separate blocks of time for a single qualifying reason – or on a reduced leave schedule – reducing the employee’s usual weekly or daily work schedule. When leave is needed for planned medical treatment, the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operation.
Leave to care for or bond with a newborn child or for a newly placed adopted or foster child may only be taken intermittently with the employer’s approval and must conclude within 12 months after the birth or placement.

(Q)   Can an employer change an employee’s job when the employee takes intermittent or reduced schedule leave?
Employees needing intermittent/reduced schedule leave for foreseeable medical treatments must work with their employers to schedule the leave so as not disrupt the employer’s operations, subject to the approval of the employee’s health care provider. In such cases, the employer may transfer the employee temporarily to an alternative job with equivalent pay and benefits that accommodate recurring periods of leave better than the employee’s regular job."

Link Here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/fmla-faqs.htm

Edited to add quotes around DOL guidance.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 07:04:59 PM by kkbmustang »

jeromedawg

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Re: Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2015, 07:12:40 PM »
I am assuming it's your first child.  Plan to take all of the time available to you, assuming you can afford it.  You can always cut the FMLA portion short if you decide you're physically and emotionally ready to go back earlier.

Yes, it's our first kid. My wife is taking off the full [partial] paid time via SDI and PFL, and supplementing some of it with sick time so we get a bit more pay and cash out on her sick time since it expires anyway. I think I'll probably be ready to go back to work sooner, but they do allow us to split out our FMLA time off, PFL and parental leave at a week at a time if we want to (just have to give at least a week's notice). So I don't have to take it all at once and could take it at a minimum of a week at a time or so. What I'm not so certain about is going forward and taking the unpaid portion of FMLA... on a side note, the company says we can take PTO or sick time to 'supplement' the unpaid portion of FMLA - in fact, I think the company is supposed to report that. I'm not sure what benefit that is to me though versus just taking "non-FMLA" PTO - I guess doing it this way leaves room to still take 5 weeks of unpaid leave if necessary.

Not sure I understand what you mean by "split" the FMLA time, but the federal mandate says you have to take it all at one time.  Meaning you cannot take 2 weeks this month then 2 weeks next month.   It has to be concurrent.

I am planning to use a combination of PTO and FMLA, which means I should only have 3 weeks of unpaid time off.  Remember FMLA only guarantees your job will still be there after 12 weeks.  It does not guarantee pay.

Actually, if you're referring to FMLA, you do not have to take it concurrently.

From the Department of Labor:

"Intermittent/reduced leave schedule
(Q)   Does an employee have to take leave all at once or can it be taken periodically or to reduce the employee’s schedule?
When it is medically necessary, employees may take FMLA leave intermittently – taking leave in separate blocks of time for a single qualifying reason – or on a reduced leave schedule – reducing the employee’s usual weekly or daily work schedule. When leave is needed for planned medical treatment, the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operation.
Leave to care for or bond with a newborn child or for a newly placed adopted or foster child may only be taken intermittently with the employer’s approval and must conclude within 12 months after the birth or placement.

(Q)   Can an employer change an employee’s job when the employee takes intermittent or reduced schedule leave?
Employees needing intermittent/reduced schedule leave for foreseeable medical treatments must work with their employers to schedule the leave so as not disrupt the employer’s operations, subject to the approval of the employee’s health care provider. In such cases, the employer may transfer the employee temporarily to an alternative job with equivalent pay and benefits that accommodate recurring periods of leave better than the employee’s regular job."

Link Here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/fmla-faqs.htm

Edited to add quotes around DOL guidance.

This is consistent with what the HR rep told me on the phone earlier - I can take/schedule FMLA however I please but with a minimum one week at a time.

kkbmustang

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Re: Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2015, 07:16:14 PM »
Yeah - I was just responding to RunHappy's definitive statement that it had to be taken concurrently, which is not correct.

jeromedawg

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Re: Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2015, 07:16:39 PM »
Have you considered taking your 5 weeks FMLA after your wife has taken her time off and goes back to work? This would save 5 weeks of childcare costs. Several men in my organization have done this.

I'm assuming you mean the 5 weeks of unpaid leave? I haven't thought of that... partly because right now we're strongly considering have her go fulltime SAHM. The current plan is that she'll go back to work in November and that's when I'll take my company's parental leave (and likely the CA Paid Family Leave as well), and sometime in January she plans to give notice to quit. In that case, I don't think we'd want to take any of the unpaid leave. Also, I don't think the option exists to opt to take unpaid leave *before* the paid leave, right? But even if we could, it would be the same thing ultimately, however you turn it: not getting paid for those 5 weeks... I guess if she decides she actually wants to go back to work, then maybe I will consider the 5 weeks unpaid.

jeromedawg

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Re: Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2015, 07:17:15 PM »
Yeah - I was just responding to RunHappy's definitive statement that it had to be taken concurrently, which is not correct.

Cool, I saw his reply and was panicking for a sec... so your post was reassuring :)

RunHappy

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Re: Parental Leave, Paid Family Leave and FMLA
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2015, 08:49:24 PM »
Yeah - I was just responding to RunHappy's definitive statement that it had to be taken concurrently, which is not correct.

Cool, I saw his reply and was panicking for a sec... so your post was reassuring :)

I'll have to go back and check but my SO's company told him he had to take his all at the same time.  We are considering staggering it, with me 12 weeks off then him 12 weeks off.