Human Resources/Paid family leave


Employee hand book
Employee hand book  
Hi I am an employee of 2 years for a large non profit in California.
In March of 2013 I gave birth and took what I thought was the only time I could take 8 weeks for a c-section. Before I returned my supervisor told me I did not qualify for paid family leave (baby bonding time) and needed to return to work at the end of my 8 weeks. I returned to work and spoke with our HR leave coordinator who informed me that I needed to save up 40 hours of leave (combo of vacation sick and float) in order to start my paid family leave. I was also told i could only take this leave in a lump of 6 weeks or 2 week increments, and once I used my 40 hours I could choose if I wanted to use my saved payed time off in the future. I started my paid family leave in Oct of 2013. In Jan of 2014 I took my second scheduled weeks, At this time I was told by the director of my department that not using my paid leave was not a choice.I had spoken with my direct supervisor and informed him I did not want to use my saved paid time off. My director said I had to use any leave i had on the books. So not knowing any better and not wanting to rock the boat I went along with this and finished my PFL. I recently read cover to cover my employee hand book and found a lot of information I had received from HR and my supervisors and director to be false.

Our handbook states "use of vacation and/or sick leave is optional, not required, during periods the employee is receiving any kind of income replacement benefits, such as workers comp, state disability or paid family leave benefits, and use of vacation is optional at any time during a pregnancy disability leave." I attached a picture of the whole thing

I During the 6 weeks I took off I used a combined total of 109 hours of sick leave, vacation and float. I have a meeting with the VP of HR tomorrow morning to discuss some other issues I have with being mislead on.The VP has no idea I am also bringing this up.
So my question is whether my rights were violated? What kind of violation does this fall under (FMLA, PFL)? If so what can I about it? and do I have a right to ask for my leave back?
Thank you for your time and any help you can give me.


I just saw your email 10am EST Tuesday 9/2 after being out yesterday due to the holiday.  You wrote you are having a meeting "tomorrow morning with VP" so I assume this means Tuesday Sept 2nd morning -TODAY ??   

Sorry, I dont know if this info will get to you in time.  I volunteer my time here between paying clients to help people, however I'm on my way out of the office now for most of the day today and tomorrow for Client busienss.

I attached some basic regulations for California here:

Federal vs California Family Leave

Q&A and links to PFL and CFRA

You did not mention if your large non-profit Aquarioum has over fifty full time equivalent employees. This is important to determine if the Federal Family Medical Leave Act  (FMLA) applies or not.  If yes, then both California and FMLA  will apply together.  If there are not 50+ employees, then Federal FMLA does not apply.

Also, thank you for sending a page from your manual.  Unfortunately, employers dont always update their policy manuals/ employee manuals to show the most current policy.  This can be the case here, who knows.   Also sometimes the state provides basic rules and each employer can modify them somewhat to come up with their own policy that provides equal or better benefit for the employee.

Please refer to the attached links above and I hope this is enough info to help you in this short notice.      In the future, please send any questions with a little notice (if you can)  so I can provide better, more thorough reply.  

I will not be back checking this email account until Thursday for follow up, etc.   FYI.    Thanks again for your question.


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Brian Phillips


Foreign and US university students -*PLEASE*- DO NOT waste your time asking for my opinions, comments or analysis of your homework questions. Homework questions are not answered and are rejected. I am happy to help answer questions asked by employees and employers regarding United States based state and Federal wage and hour, OT, Fair labor standards, FMLA, COBRA, Recruiting, Interviewing techniques, employee manuals, discipline, terminations/quits, unemployment, HRIS rollout, Employee Leasing or Staffing company cost analysis, day to day scenarios, work situations and more. Essentially a well rounded HR generalist who operates Harvis, Inc., a human resource consulting and service business based in Northeastern Pennsylvania "NEPA".


At Harvis, Inc., we provide Human Resource products, services and advice to small businesses that may not have the time or resources to hire a full time HR department. For larger companies with HR managers in place, we compliment their expertise to help with time consuming or time sensitive projects like updating policy manuals, screening and interviewing and more. We make workplaces better by becoming that 1/2 person they need to help handle HR responsibilities on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Formerly responsible for all Human Resource activity for a staffing agency with 2,500 annual employees as well as an employee leasing / PEO business with 1,500 annual employees. Designed and implemented the HR structure to support hundreds of clients in excess of $ 500 million in payroll volume over career in Human Resources.

* President 2006- Harvis Inc. HR Services * President 2010-13 Business Association of the Greater Shickshinny Area - Shickshinny PA * President 2013- ShickshinnyForward Not for Profit Community Long Term Revitalization Organization and former member of varios Chambers of Commerce and HR Taskforce, former President of NBC Business Club 2 years

Bloomsburg University - 1993 BS Marketing, Bloomsburg Pennsylvania and Luzerne County Community College - 1991 Business Administration, Nanticoke Pennsylvania

Awards and Honors
* Better than average - 20/10 vision * Bestowed with an occasional "Thank You" from clients and their employees.

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