Leave Frequently Asked Questions

Maternity/Paternity/Adoption Leave

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There are two forms that you need to complete. The first is the Sonoma State University Request for Leave of Absence Form and the Medical Certification for Employees Form. In the case of adoption, a letter from the Adoption Agency will take the place of the Medical Certification form. Paternity leaves do not require certification.

These forms should be completed and returned to Payroll and Benefits Office for processing as soon as you know you need to take time off, and a minimum of 30 days in advance. You should also arrange a meeting with Heather Cain, Payroll & Benefits at (707) 664-2983, in order to go over the leave process.

You should arrange a meeting with Heather Cain, Payroll & Benefits, (707) 664-2983, who can advise you of your leave options for both paid and unpaid leave.

Sick time use is determined by the collective bargaining agreement covering your employment. Generally, sick leave is only available during the disability portion of maternity leave, and is not appropriate for paternity or adoption leaves. The disability portion is considered the time pre-partum that the physician has determined you can no longer work for medical reasons, and concludes six to eight weeks postpartum.

If the time base reduction is part of the medical or bonding portions of your leave (pre-or postpartum), please complete the Partial Leave without Pay or Partial Leave with Pay sections on the Sonoma State University Request for Leave of Absence Form. In the event you are already on leave when you determine that you may need a reduced time base.

Contact Heather Cain, Payroll & Benefits, (707) 664-2983, to discuss your options and the next steps. You will also need to contact your Appropriate Administrator.

You may be eligible to take a leave without pay, depending on your coverage under various local, state and federal laws, the Education Code, and the collective bargaining agreement covering your employment.

This varies by collective bargaining agreement and your eligibility under local, state and federal laws. Generally, you have one year from the date of birth to use time associated with the birth of a child.

NDI is Non-Industrial Disability Insurance, and is administered through the Employment Development Department. It is the short-term disability program provided by the California State University system for the majority of its employees. NDI can be used for an employee's own illness only; an application for NDI can be requested through Heather Cain, Payroll & Benefits, (707) 664-2983. Generally, in the case of maternity leave, it can be used at the point your physician certifies you as unable to perform your position due to pregnancy (generally two to four weeks pre-partum). Under normal circumstances, it exhausts six to eight weeks postpartum. There is a seven-day wait period before benefits begin. The amount you will receive while on NDI varies by collective bargaining agreement. For more information see Non-Industrial Disability Insurance.

The California State University does not participate in the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program, which is administered through the Employment Development Department. Instead, the CSU uses Non-Industrial Disability Insurance as the short-term disability program for its employees. However, employees who have SDI contributions from a recent or concurrent employer may be eligible for this benefit. This can be verified by contacting the Employment Development Department at (800) 480-3287; 50 D Street, Room 325, Santa Rosa.

Under normal circumstances, maternity/paternity/adoption leaves are not eligible for the Catastrophic Leave Donation Program.

California State University employees are not eligible for the California Paid Family Leave. This benefit is paid through State Disability Insurance (SDI) deductions; the California State University does not participate in this program.

  1. The Medical Certification for Employees Form should be completed by your treating health care provider as soon as you know you will need a leave of absence.
  2. Early Leave Certification: At the point in time your treating health care provider has determined that you need to be off due to pregnancy, and it is prior to your child's birth date or the date noted on your medical certification form, the physician should provide additional documentation regarding your need for leave. It can be on letterhead or a prescription pad, and should note the date you need to be off work, with the signature of your treating health care provider.
  3. When you are ready to return to work, your physician will need to provide a return-to-work release that certifies your disability has ended and that you can return to work, and note the date. The Return to Work Certification Form does this. In maternity, his is generally six to eight weeks postpartum. Of course, many individuals have a bonding portion immediately following the disability portion of the leave; the treating health care provider only needs to certify the recovery from the disability portion of the leave, not the bonding portion. If your provider does not have their own form for this purpose, you may use the Sonoma State University Return to Work Certification Form.

There are several laws that provide protection to eligible employees during maternity/paternity/adoption leave. These laws include the Pregnancy Disability Leave Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the California Family Rights Act, the Education Code, and the collective bargaining agreement covering your employment. More information on these can be found in the Maternity/Paternity/Adoption Leave Benefits Summary.

The State of California passed AB1025, the Lactation Accommodation Law, which provides workplace support for mothers who are breastfeeding. We encourage you to work directly with your appropriate administrator for assistance. More information on this subject can be found on the State of California Breastfeeding Resources web site.

For additional questions or to discuss options to any of the above questions, please contact Heather Cain, Payroll & Benefits, at (707) 664-2983.