Family Medical Leave Act / California Family Rights Act

Family Medical Leave Act / California Family Rights Act

When an employee gets sick, has a baby, or has a family member who is ill, one of the employee’s first thoughts may be how they can take time off work to take care of themself or of their family member. Many employers do not want their employee to take too many days off from work, and the employer may retaliate against these employees by cutting their hours, terminating them, etc. 


Fortunately, both federal and California law provides employees the right to take time off from work in certain situations, and the employer must allow the individual to return to work in those cases. The federal law that gives leave from work is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the California law is the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). There are certain differences between these laws, but they generally provide employees with similar protections. These laws only apply to employers who are bound and covered under FMLA and CFRA, which generally means employers with 50 or more employees.

Under FMLA and CFRA, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave (where they retain their benefits during that period) during a 12 month period, for the following reasons: the birth or adoption or foster care placement of a child, to care for an immediate family member with a serious health problem, or if the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition. In order to be eligible for the leave, an employee must have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months on the date the leave is to start, and must have worked for at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 month period.

If an employee utilizes FMLA/CFRA leave, the employee is entitled to be restored to the same position with the company upon their return, or an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits and terms of employment.These protections also prohibit the employer from retaliating against the employee for taking the leave. Additionally, the employer is required to continue providing employment benefits during the medical leave (where some of the cost may be passed onto the employee). 

There are specific rules that apply to each reason for taking leave from work. If a person is leaving work because of the birth or adoption of a child, either a father or a mother can take the leave. If the leave is to care for a family member, under the FMLA/CFRA, that family member must be a child, parent or spouse. In other words, an “immediate family member.”

Under the FMLA/CFRA, you are not required to be paid for the time off. Also, the employer may ask that you take paid time first before using the required leave. If the leave is for the employee’s serious health condition, an employer may require or an employee may elect to use accrued sick leave.

The FMLA also allows extra benefits for those employees caring for injured service members. Under the FMLA, the spouse, parent, child, or another blood relative can take up to 26 weeks of leave from work to care for a service member with a serious health condition.

Employees should be allowed to take leave from their jobs because of medical issues, pregnancy or adoption, and the serious medical problems of a family member.

If you believe you have been denied medical leave which you are entitled to, or if you believe you have been retaliated against for taking either FMLA or CFRA leave, give us a call at 855-IM-FIRED for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to having your job restored and/or compensation. Our attorneys have substantial experience with these types of cases representing individuals who are experiencing backlash from their employer simply for utilizing benefits provided to them under both California and federal law such as FMLA and CFRA.  

There are no up-front costs and you do not pay any attorneys’ fees unless we get a recovery in the case.

Contact our Los Angeles California employment attorneys and lawyers now for all of your employee rights’ needs! 

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