FMLA and CFRA are federal and state leave laws, respectively, that allow eligible employees of a covered employer to take an unpaid but job-protected leave of absence from their employment. Both laws protect your job while you’re getting disability insurance or paid family leave and also when you must:
You should be aware, however, that you are only entitled to so much protected leave under the law. You can apply for wage replacement benefits, such as disability insurance or paid family leave, however these benefits do nothing to protect your employment. Disability insurance can give you up to 52 weeks of paid benefits when you cannot work due to a non-work-related illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth. Paid family leave provides up to eight weeks of benefits when you take time off to:
Under the CFRA, employers with five or more employees must give eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, protected leave over a 12-month period for qualifying reasons. The qualifying reasons include those noted above. A serious health condition under the CFRA is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition requiring:
To be eligible for CFRA, an employee must have more than 12 months of service and have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months.
Under the FMLA, a California employer with 50 or more employees during at least 20 weeks of the current or prior year must provide FMLA benefits to eligible employees. An eligible employee is one who:
While you are on FMLA or CFRA leave, you are entitled to continue your health insurance at the same cost that you pay while actively working. The leave is unpaid, but you may be allowed (or required) to use any accumulated paid leave time you have during FMLA leave. On returning to work, you are entitled to be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position, with a few limited exceptions.
As you can see, leave laws in California can be complicated. If you anticipate a problem with an FMLA or CFRA issue with your employer, you should contact an FMLA attorney near you as soon as possible. You are entitled to protected leave in many circumstances and should not put your job at risk.
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