San Francisco has several laws that give employees the right to take leave—both paid and unpaid—for family and health reasons. San Francisco employees who are covered by more than one of these laws are entitled to the rights set out in the most protective law.
California employers must, by law, allow their employees certain legally protected forms of leave. If they refuse to grant such leave or punish an employee for taking such leave, they are subject to liability under a variety of California and Federal laws.
Protected forms of leave include family medical leave, military leave, pregnancy and maternity leave, and leave for voting.
The FMLA provides employees who worked at the company for more than a year the right to take unpaid leave for (1) the birth or adoption of a child or (2) when the employee, a spouse or close family relative suffers from a serious health condition.
An employer may not refuse to hire and may not discharge, fine, suspend, expel, retaliate or discriminate against any employee because he or she exercises their right to family care and medical leave.
The FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave in a 12-month period. An employee does not have to take all 12 weeks of FMLA leave at once. If she or he needs to care for an ill family member or requires frequent doctor’s visits or treatment for her or his own serious health condition, the employee may be able to take FMLA leave intermittently to cover those absences.
While FMLA leave is unpaid, employees are entitled to continue group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions available to them before the leave. With certain exceptions, upon an employee’s return from FMLA leave, an employer is obligated to reinstate the employee to the position held before taking leave — or to a position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.
Similarly, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) authorizes eligible employees to take up a total of 12 weeks of paid or unpaid job-protected leave during a 12-month period.
Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave provide wage replacement benefits only; they do not provide job protection. Your job may be protected under other employee leave laws, such as the FMLA or CFRA.
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