When an employee or a close family member becomes seriously ill, or when an employee becomes pregnant, it is important to understand how federal and state law apply to leaves of absence. When is an employee permitted to take a leave of absence? How long can the leave of absence last? Does the employee have to be paid during a permissible leave of absence?
A Silicon Valley employment law attorney can speak with you today.
One of the primary reasons that employees take leaves of absence from their places of employment is because of a family or medical situation. Both federal law and California state law provide protections for employees.
Under federal law, employees may be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA certain employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year. In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, the employee must work for a private employer with 50 or more employees or for a public agency, or a public or private elementary or secondary school. FMLA leave can be taken for the following reasons:
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides similar state law protections as the FMLA. However, a recent amendment to the CFRA extends protections of the CFRA for parental leave—such as to care for a newborn, or for a child placed with the employee through foster care or adoption—to employees who work for employers with 20-49 employees. In this regard, the CFRA provides greater protections for parental leave in Silicon Valley than does federal law. While on leave, employees keep the same employer-provided benefits they had while working.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. In some circumstances, leave of absence may constitute a reasonable accommodation. Indeed, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) clarifies that a reasonable accommodation for a disability “can include making modifications to existing leave policies and providing leave when needed for a disability, even where an employer does not offer leave to other employees.”
Disability leave also may be available to Silicon Valley employees under California state law. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the CFRA provide protections for employees with disabilities.
California has a specific statute to protect employees who require pregnancy-related leave: the California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) law. Under this law, eligible employees who have been disabled by pregnancy may be able to take up to four months of PDL.
To learn more, you should discuss your case with a Silicon Valley employment leave lawyer. Contact Minnis & Smallets LLP today.