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Forced to use PTO during bonding in CA California

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  • CAdad2014
    started a topic Forced to use PTO during bonding in CA California

    Forced to use PTO during bonding in CA California

    Hello - I reside in California and am currently on bonding leave for my newborn. Before I started bonding, my HR department told me I'd have to use one week of my PTO (vacation) time and then bonding would start. I am now going into week 5 and see that since I started bonding, they've been using my PTO every week. So I am now currently down 160 hours with another 80 to go.
    I told them that I did not want to use my hard earned PTO as the state will be paying me for the 6 weeks that I'm out. HR said that I don't have that option and when I return to work, my years worth of PTO will be all gone.
    Since I'm receiving benefits from the state, can my employer force me to use my PTO against my will??

  • Betty3
    replied
    You said your wife works for the same company/employer. Did she take 6 weeks for bonding? You only get together 12 weeks total of protected time off for bonding (under CFRA or under FMLA). If she took 6 weeks, you only get 6 weeks. Once again, PTO & PFL are just income while you are off & have nothing to do with how much time you get off. It looks like you were entitled to 6 weeks of protected leave only per HR.

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  • CAdad2014
    replied
    Just when I thought I had this all figured out, I came across this information on the paidfamilyleave.org website. Can any of you decipher this?

    Can my employer require to me to use vacation or sick leave before getting PFL benefits?
    Your employer may require you to use up to two weeks of earned but unused vacation leave prior to getting PFL benefits. Vacation leave may include paid time off. One week of vacation leave can be used during your seven day waiting period. However, your employer can not require you to take sick leave before getting PFL benefits.

    "Your employer may require you to use up to two weeks of earned but unused vacation leave prior to getting PFL benefits." - Does this mean that these two weeks would be considered vacation time and not be included as part of my bonding?

    "One week of vacation leave can be used during your seven day waiting period. However, your employer can not require you to take sick leave before getting PFL benefits" - What is the difference between vacation leave and sick leave? PTO encompasses both vacation and sick time.

    I'm not sure if it's the lack of sleep that's causing me so much confusion, but this just isn't clicking for me. Forgive me if I don't articulate this well, but please try to follow my logic and help me to understand if I'm completely misinterpreting this.
    Bottom line - I took 6 weeks off for bonding and my employer said that I have no more bonding time available. The first 2 weeks were paid using PTO with week 1 being the PFL waiting period. I was not given an option to not use any less than 2 weeks of PTO.
    Shouldn't one of the 2 weeks of PTO be just PTO and not be counted against my bonding time? I understand that PFL is simply how I'm paid during bonding but it sounds as though PFL and bonding time are somehow connected here.

    I'm not looking to scam the system in any way, nor am I trying to get any extra time that I'm not rightfully entitled to... I just somehow see that with my 2 weeks of PTO being used, I do have more bonding time available.
    Last edited by CAdad2014; 12-04-2014, 06:18 PM.

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  • Betty3
    replied
    Any protected time off (if you qualify) would be under CFRA (or FMLA). As noted, PFL & PTO are just pay when you are off on leave - protected or unprotected. It sounds like you qualify for some protected leave per HR.

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  • hr for me
    replied
    You need to remember that there are two different things here
    (1) protected time off regardless of pay -- the dates your HR provided and
    (2) how you are paid during that time off

    Your employer required you to use 7 days PTO "waiting period" but can still concurrently count that time as protected time off under either state or federal leave protection laws. So that takes away a week of protected leave that you still think you have left. PTO is just how you are paid for the time.

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  • CAdad2014
    replied
    I know this shouldn't be so difficult for me to comprehend, maybe it's the daddy brain but something just isn't clicking for me.
    I'm back at work today and my employer is saying that I've exhausted all of my bonding time but I think I'm eligible for another week because of the 7 day waiting period. Reminder, my wife works for the same company so we have to split the bonding leave.

    Here is their response to my inquiry about this. I'm also confused on why the leave dates are split up as "Bonding" and "Personal Leave". Does any, all or none of this make sense to you?

    The bonding leave period is from 10/20/14 through 11/13/14, and the personal leave period is from 11/14/14 through 12/1/14. These dates stand regardless of how you are paid while you are out during this block of time. Using PTO and/or getting paid through PFL will not change or have any impact to these dates, as they are merely a means to getting paid while you are on leave.

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  • cbg
    replied
    If I am reading the law right, your bonding time begins after the first week of PTO. The second week of PTO runs concurrently with the waiting period of your bonding time.

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  • CAdad2014
    replied
    One more follow-up question.
    Since my employer used 2 weeks of PTO, does that mean I still have an additional 2 weeks of bonding time still available or does the bonding time start from the date that the PTO began?
    Currently my bonding dates are from 10/20/14 to 12/1/14 with PTO used for the first two weeks.

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  • Betty3
    replied
    Glad to hear it also.

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  • cbg
    replied
    Glad to hear it. A lot of times it's not malice but ignorance.

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  • CAdad2014
    replied
    Just to let you all know, after providing my employer with an excerpt from CA EDD website, they agreed that they cannot force me to use my PTO and will be returning all but the allowable 2 weeks

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  • Betty3
    replied
    Yep, I gave you the law but I can't enforce it.

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  • ElleMD
    replied
    You aren't going to get a better answe4r from strangers on the internet than you are from the agency that actually is charged with enforcing the law. It is their call, whether we agree or not.

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  • Betty3
    replied
    You can show your employer the link (information above) or contact the EDD & tell them what your employer is requiring you do.

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  • CAdad2014
    replied
    I haven't spoken with EDD about this. I just found all of this information out on Friday afternoon.
    I was hoping that, with some research, I could avoid waiting for hours trying to speak with someone at EDD who may or may not know the answer.

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