Family and Medical Leave – Federal Law
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows “covered employees” to take time away from work to handle family or medical needs. California, like most states, has provided additional rights beyond the scope of the federal legislation. Employers who violate the FMLA may be liable for damages and face wrongful termination charges.
Which employers must provide Family and Medical Leave?
Not every employer is required to provide its employees with family or medical leave. Federal law requires employers to provide eligible employees with leave if the employer is a state, local, or federal governmental agency or a private business engaged in, or affecting, interstate commerce, that employed fifty or more employees in twenty or more weeks in the current or prior calendar year. The “fifty or more employees” standard includes everyone on the employer’s payroll, including part-time employees, employees on approved leave, and leased or temporary employees.
Which employees are covered by the FMLA?
Under the FMLA, employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for the employer for at least twelve months including at least 1,250 hours during the twelve months immediately preceding the need for leave. Employees must also work at sites in the United States or a U.S. territory at which the employer has at least fifty employees within seventy-five miles.
What type of leave is provided?
Most eligible employees are provided with a maximum of twelve weeks of leave. The leave may be unpaid, but it may also be combined with accrued paid leave such as vacation or sick leave. If you’re an eligible employee, you may also take leave for the birth or adoption of your child, to care for your spouse or minor child, or because of your own serious health condition.
What qualifies as a serious health condition?
A “serious health condition” is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or condition that involves hospital care; absence from work plus continuing treatment; pregnancy; treatment for a chronic condition; permanent long-term supervision; or multiple treatments.
You may be required by your employer to provide medical certification of the need for your leave. Note: An employer that provides you with health insurance is mandated to maintain coverage for you when you’re on leave on the same terms as if you had continued to work. Right to return to work Upon returning from leave, the FMLA mandates that you are entitled to be restored to your former job or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay and benefits. Taking leave may not result in the loss of any benefit to which you were entitled before taking leave. However, you may be denied full reinstatement of your job if returning you to your former position would result in substantial and grievous economic harm to your employer. California Family Rights Act (CFRA).
California – Maternity Notice
A violation of this law is a sufficient basis for a claim of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. Pregnancy leave in California Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, an employer is required to give a women on proper maternity notice a reasonable amount of unpaid temporary leave not exceeding four months.