Many employees will unexpectedly have to deal with issues related to their family or their health, but it can be difficult to take an extended break from work to care for themselves or their loved ones. Fortunately, Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), certain employees qualify for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year.
Who is eligible for FMLA/CFRA leave?
Employees may be entitled to take leave in certain circumstances, but they may first be eligible. In order for an employee to be eligible, they must:
- Work for a covered employer, for at least 12 months
- Worked at a location with at least 50 employees within 75 miles (FMLA requirement)
- Worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months leading up to the start of the leave.
As of January 1, 2021, the CFRA applies to private employers with of five or more employees.
Reasons to take leave
Certain life circumstances allow eligible employees to take leave without fear of losing their jobs. Reasons to take leave may include, but are not limited to:
- The birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.
- Spouse, child, or parent requires care for serious health condition.
- Serious medical condition impacting the employee’s ability to work.
- Spouse, child, or parent is in military, on active duty.
Employer leave violations
Employees may file a claim against an employer who violates the FMLA/CFRA. Some common violations are:
- Denying an eligible employee’s request for leave
- Requiring excessive notice (e.g. more than 30 days) for leave or failing to be flexible in emergency situations.
- Retaliating against an employee for taking their leave (e.g. failing to allow employee to return to previous job or a new job equivalent to their previous job, disciplining employee for taking leave, or denying an employee’s promotion for taking leave).
An employment law attorney in the Oakland area with a strong understanding of California employment laws can review your case and determine whether you have a valid FMLA/CFRA claim against your employer.