Preparing to apply for paid leave? Download the checklist to make sure you are ready.
Planning to take leave in 2020?
Learn more about applying for and taking bonding leave
Learn more about applying for and taking leave to care for yourself or a family member
Find additional information about preparing for and using the program
How to apply for paid leave
Whether you need time off from work to care for yourself or a family member, here’s what you need to do to apply for Paid Family and Medical Leave.
1. Tell your employer
If you know you will be taking paid leave well before it happens (for example, if you are expecting a baby or your family member has a planned surgery coming up), you’ll need to give your employer written notice at least 30 days in advance.
If you take paid leave unexpectedly (for example, after a serious injury), written notice to your employer is still required. Provide notice as soon as you are able, or ask someone else, like a family member or a neighbor, to provide notice for you.
In your written notice, let your employer know you need to take paid family or medical leave and about how long you expect you’ll be out. Emails, text messages and handwritten notes all count as written notice. It is always a good idea to keep a copy for your records.
2. Get certified by a healthcare provider
For a medical event (for example, a planned surgery, a family member’s serious illness or giving birth to a baby), download and fill out the Certification of Serious Health Condition form. The form includes a section for you to fill out and a section for your or your family member’s healthcare provider to fill out. The form includes information about your health condition, when it happened and how much time off from work you need based on what your healthcare provider recommends.
(If you prefer, you can use your Family Medical Leave Act form or a doctor’s note instead. Just make sure it includes the same information as the Certification of Serious Health Condition form.)
You do not need this form if you’re adopting a child or becoming a foster parent, or for military-related events. You also don’t need it to qualify for 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with your new baby when you or your partner give birth. (If you are the parent giving birth, you will need the form for the portion of your paid leave that is considered medical leave.)
3. Gather other documents
To apply, you will need to provide documents that prove your identity. Many documents can be used to prove identification, including school transcripts and birth certificates from other countries.
If you’re taking time off to care for a new child or because of a military event, you may need a couple more documents:
If you’re taking leave to care for a new child, you are not required to provide proof of birth or placement in most cases, but you may be asked to provide documents such as the child’s birth certificate or court documents to show placement if we have a question about your application.
If you’re taking leave because of a military deployment, event or activity, you may be asked to provide documentation like active duty orders.
What to expect after you apply
After you submit your application, Paid Family and Medical Leave team members will review it. The reviewers will:
- Make sure you have worked enough hours to qualify
- Confirm your event qualifies for paid leave
- Take note of the length of time off that a medical provider has said you need
- Determine how much pay you are eligible to receive during your leave
Employers report wages and hours for all of their employees every quarter, so your hours and wages should already be in the state’s reporting system. If your employer has not reported your hours or wages correctly, your employer(s) will be contacted for updated information. Paid Family and Medical Leave team members may also contact you to request additional information or documentation during this review process.
We are excited to see demand for the new program, but that demand has led to a high volume of applications. We understand how important it is to process your application as quickly as possible and we have all available resources dedicated to processing applications. We had originally anticipated up to four weeks for processing applications, but due to the high demand we are now beyond four weeks. Although processing times are longer than initially thought, if approved, you will receive payments retroactively from the approved leave start date, and not to the date when the application is processed. We are working hard to meet the demand for this new program and apologize for any hardship longer processing times may cause. (Last updated: Feb. 4, 2020)
When the review process is complete, the Employment Security Department will send you a letter letting you know the wages and amount of leave you qualify for, as well as the date your leave starts. We will also send a letter to your employer with some basic information.
Please note that this letter will be sent in English. If you need assistance interpreting the letter, please call our Customer Care Team at (833) 717-2273.
If you receive the letter after you have already started your leave, you will be eligible to receive pay going back to the first day listed on your approval letter from the Employment Security Department.