While the birth of a child is a happy time in a person’s life, it can often cause stress for those who are employed. Additionally, those with medical disabilities or family members who require medical care may find themselves in a state of worry. Often, those who must take leave for these reasons have questions regarding their finances and continued employment. Laws surrounding medical leave can be complex, and a misunderstanding could result in the loss of employment. To better understand the law and your rights regarding medical leave and whether they have been violated, you should consult with a medical leave attorney near San Mateo.
The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is a federal law that provides certain employees with up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave per year. The law requires that an employee’s job and group health benefits be protected during the period of leave.
The FMLA applies to public agencies, public and private elementary and secondary schools, and any company that employs fifty or more employees. Additionally, employees become eligible upon working for the employer for 12 months, with at least 1,250 hours of compensable work prior to the leave, and at a location where at least fifty employees are employed within 75 miles.
California’s Family Rights Act is the same as the FMLA in that 12 weeks of leave are available in a 12 month period to those eligible employees in a company that employs fifty or more people. Eligible employees may take leave for themselves, to care for a seriously ill family member, or to bond with a new child.
The New Parent Leave Act, which was enacted in 2018, widens those rights to leave to bond with a new child to those employers who employ between 20 and 49 employees and must provide 12 weeks of unpaid and job-protected leave.
Both laws mirror FMLA in the eligibility requirements in that the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and accrued 1,250 compensable hours prior to the leave.
California provides Pregnancy Disability Leave to those pregnant employees who work for an employer with at least five employees. Here, employers are required to give a reasonable period of leave not to exceed four months for any pregnancy or childbirth-related disability. Pregnancy disability leave will not count against leave to which an employee is entitled under the Family Rights Act or the New Parent Leave Act.
Paid Family Leave allows eligible employees to collect benefits, typically 60-70% of their wages, for up to six weeks to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member. Paid time off and paid vacation benefits can be used to supplement any Paid Family Leave benefits. Eligibility is dependent on an employee earning at least $300 in wages during the twelve months prior to the claim. Additionally, the employee must have been subject to paycheck withholding for California’s disability insurance program.
Family and medical leave is important to deal with medical conditions and the birth of a new child. State and federal regulations protect your rights to leave as an employee. However, the difficulty in understanding these regulations can leave many employees feeling hopeless. If you feel you have been denied your right to medical leave, contact the employment law attorneys at Minnis & Smallets LLP. Visit our website and schedule an appointment to speak with our medical leave attorneys near San Mateo today.
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