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Oakland Leave of Absence Lawyer

Oakland Leave of Absence Lawyer

There are many situations in which a worker may need extended time off to deal with a family, medical, or other personal matter. The laws governing such leave of absences are somewhat complicated, especially in California, where there are a number of state laws that afford substantially greater rights to employees than are provided by federal law. All California employees, therefore, need to be aware of what laws apply to them, what protections they offer,  and what leaves of absence do not fall within the law’s protections.

At Minnis & Smallets, LLP, our experienced employment attorneys assist employees throughout Oakland, California, in understanding and enforcing their rights under these laws.  We strive to resolve leave of absence disputes amicably, but if necessary, we are prepared to fight for our clients in court.

Understanding Employee Rights Under the FMLA and CFRA

The two major leave of absence laws that employees in Oakland should know about are the federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Both laws cover employees who have worked at least 1,250 hours during the past year. The FMLA only covers businesses with at least 50 employees working within a 75-mile radius. However, under certain circumstances, CFRA applies to employers with just 20-49 workers within the same radius.

Generally, the FMLA and CFRA both allow qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave each year to care for a seriously ill family member, deal with the employee’s own health, or bond with a new child. The employer is not required to pay employees during a leave of absence under the FMLA or CFRA, but the worker’s job is protected. In other words, the employer cannot demote the employee or take away any benefits or seniority because the employee exercises his or her rights under these laws. If the employer offers paid vacation time or similar paid time off, an employee may use such time concurrent with FMLA or CFRA leave.

Other Leaves of Absence Under California Law

The FMLA and CFRA are just two of several laws that apply to leaves of absence. Some of the other circumstances in which an Oakland-based employee may have the right to take a leave of absence from work include:

  • Pregnancy Disability Leave: Businesses with as few as five employees must allow eligible employees to take up to four months of leave if they are medically disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, or complications arising from either.
  • New Parent Leave: Under a California law that took effect in 2018, businesses with between 20 and 49 employees in a 75-mile radius have to offer 12 weeks of bonding leave to new parents.
  • Military Leave: Federal law protects the civilian jobs of U.S. military members called to active duty for up to five years. In addition, California employers with at least 25 employees must allow certain spouses of service members to take up to 10 days of unpaid leave while their spouse is deployed during a military conflict.
  • School Activities Leave: California businesses with at least 25 employees must give an employee up to 40 hours of leave per year (but no more than eight hours per month) to participate in activities at their child’s school or daycare center.

These are just a few of the many laws governing leaves of absence in California. So if you are an Oakland employee who has a question or concern about leave rights, contact Minnis & Smallets, LLP, today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

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