What is the Family Medical Leave Act?

Many California residents have likely heard of The Family and Medical Leave Act. While readily associated with employees who take time off of work after having a baby, FMLA provides many other important protections to employees of all ages, regardless of sex.

Under the provisions of FMLA, an eligible employee is allowed to take up to 12 weeks leave from a job. An employee may or may not be paid for this time period. In California, the terms of an FMLA employment leave is also dictated by the California Family Rights Act. The two laws work in tandem to provide employees assurance they will not lose their job while taking time to deal with certain medical and family issues.

In addition to providing time to bond with and care for a newborn or recently adopted child, FMLA and CFRA also allow employees to take time off to attend to their own serious health condition or to care for an ailing family member. Additionally FMLA provides protections to employees who must deal with a "close family member's military service." 

Not all employees are eligible to take FMLA and CFRA. An employee must be employed by a government agency or work for a private business that has employed 50 or more employees during the current or previous year for 20 or more weeks. Upon an employee's return to work, he or she should either be allowed to return to a previous position or one that is considered to be equivalent. 

In cases where an employee is dealing with a serious personal medical condition, caring for an ailing loved one or welcoming a new baby into their family; it's necessary to take time away from one's job. Thanks to the FMLA and CFRA, millions of California employees are afforded the opportunity to take the time needed without worrying about losing their jobs.

In cases where an employee believes than an employer violated FMLA or CFRA laws, it's wise to seek the advice and assistance of an employment attorney. 

Source: California Chamber of Commerce, "FMLA and CFRA: Family and Medical Leave," 2014

FindLaw.com, "Family and Medical Leave: Overview," 2014

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