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California Medical & Sick Leave Lawyers

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Denial of Medical & Sick Leave Protections Comes in Many Forms

In California, employees have access to one of the most comprehensive family medical leave frameworks in the United States, encompassing both state and federal laws designed to ensure employees can take time off for serious health conditions, to bond with a new child, or to care for ailing family members without fear of losing their job. Here’s an overview of the key rights around family medical leave in California:

California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

  • Eligibility: Employees are eligible if they have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months prior to the start of the leave. The employer must have at least 5 employees.
  • Leave Entitlement: Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month period for the birth of a child; for the placement of a child in the employee’s family for adoption or foster care; for the serious health condition of the employee’s child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner; or for the employee’s own serious health condition.
  • Health Insurance: Employers are required to maintain group health coverage for the duration of the leave under the same conditions as if the employee had continued to work.

Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

  • Eligibility: Similar to CFRA, with the requirement that the employer must have at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius of the workplace.
  • Leave Entitlement: FMLA also provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave within a 12-month period for similar reasons as CFRA. It’s worth noting that FMLA and CFRA leaves can sometimes run concurrently, but there are situations where they do not, such as leave for disability due to pregnancy, which is covered under CFRA but not FMLA.
  • Protection: FMLA also requires that group health insurance benefits be maintained during the leave.

California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

  • For employees who are disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, PDL provides up to four months of job-protected leave, separate from CFRA leave. This is available regardless of the length of employment or the number of hours worked per week.

New Parent Leave Act

  • Prior to the expansion of CFRA, this act specifically provided bonding time for new parents. With the CFRA now covering more employers and situations, the relevance of this act has been integrated into the broader protections under CFRA.

Paid Family Leave (PFL)

  • California provides Paid Family Leave, which offers up to eight weeks of wage replacement benefits to employees who take time off to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. PFL does not provide job protection, but it can be taken in conjunction with CFRA or FMLA leave, which do provide job protection.

Protections and Prohibitions

  • Retaliation and Discrimination: It’s illegal for employers to retaliate against an employee for taking family medical leave. This includes any form of punishment, dismissal, or discrimination because an employee has applied for or taken leave.
  • Job Restoration: Upon returning from leave, employees are generally entitled to be restored to their original job or to an equivalent job with the same pay, benefits, and working conditions.

California’s family medical leave laws provide significant protections for employees, allowing them to balance their work responsibilities with their family and health needs.

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Did You Know?

Protected Work Leave
The California Family Rights Act authorizes eligible employees to take up a total of 12 weeks of paid or unpaid job-protected leave during a 12-month period
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for certain family and medical reasons, while also maintaining their group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if they had continued to work.

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