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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 27889
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I am a physician in California. Prior to going on maternity

Customer Question

I am a physician in California. Prior to going on maternity leave for 4 months to care for twins, I was a full-time salaried employee. I requested to return to part-time meaning 20 hours a week instead of 40hrs/week for a few months to have time to care for my babies. My boss said he was understanding however instead of amending my current contract with a new salary which a percentage of what I was paid before, he is asking me to sign a letter that i will be paid per hour for my services rather than being salaried.
Do I have to insist on signing an amendment of my contract and remain a salaried employee, rather than switching to per hour pay?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good morning Doctor,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation, Maria. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Your position with your employer is protected under FMLA and the CA Family Rights Act (CFRA) while you are out on pregnancy disability leave. In addition, after your FMLA and CFRA leave is used up for the disability period, you have an additional 12 weeks of bonding leave you may take as well before you are required to go back to work or risk your employer not holding your position for you.

As an example, under CA law, you could take up to 4 four months pregnancy disability leave for disability under a combination of the FMLA and the CFRA, and then 12 weeks CFRA leave to bond with the baby.

Based on your specific facts, you may not have used all of the protected leave you are entitled to, and you should consider applying for any remaining if you are not prepared to return full time.

If you choose not to use the bonding leave, or if it has been all exhausted, the your position is not protected, and your inability or request to work less than full time will allow your employer to terminate you, or re-negotiate the terms of your continuing employment with the office. It is up to the employer how they want to work with you if they are going to grant your request for an accommodation to work part time. Unfortunately, CA employment law does not allow you to force the employer to simply modify your contract to account for less hours and keep all of the other benefits the same.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Hi Doug,


 


I have used all the bonding time already. My employer stated he is very understanding of my situation and wants to accommodate my part time needs until I can return full time again and he reassured me nothing has changed. i do not know if I am being paranoid but if i agree to a compensation "per hour " now rather than being on a salary can he easier terminate me or this does not make any difference, he just wants to make sure I do not get paid when I do not work.Thanks a lot.


 

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Hi Maria,

Do you have a written employment contract presently that guarantees your position for a specific period of time? If not, then you are an employee at will, and under CA law, your employer could reduce your work hours or even let you go for no reason at all. At-will employees may be terminated for any reason—at any time, even a mistaken reason, they can have their hours or pay decreased and they can suffer a cut in their benefits, so long as it's not illegal or unlawfully discriminatory.

So the fact that you agree to the proposal being offered now is not indicative of any additional risk of losing your position. Being paid salary as opposed to hourly doesn't impact on your likelihood of being let go. Being take off salary means that the employer is no longer obligated to pay you for the days you don't work in a workweek, not for full days if you only work partial hours in a single day. Based on your statement of the facts, I don't see any red flags here Maria.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,

Doug
LawTalk, Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 27889
Experience: I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
LawTalk and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your positive rating of my service, Maria. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope than you will ask for me on JustAnswer should a future need ever arise.

Please feel free to bookmark the following link so you can request me to answer any future legal questions you may have:
http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-lawtalk/

Thanks again.

Doug

When you receive your Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please do rate me highly (9-10) there as well. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.

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