Under both state and federal law, covered employees are eligible to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave per year for health and family reasons. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA) afford this protection, making it illegal to deny qualifying FMLA/CFRA leaves and to discriminate or retaliate against an employee for taking such leave.
FMLA/CFRA leave can be taken (1) for an employee’s own serious health condition; (2) so that an employee can care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition; (3) for the birth of a child or to care for a newly adopted or fostered child.
Under the FMLA, eligible employees are those who have been with their employer at least one year and have worked at least 1,250 hours. The FMLA applies to all private-sector employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. There are several distinctions between the FMLA and CFRA, one significant one being that CFRA was recently amended to cover private employers in California with only five or more employees, significantly expanding its reach.
FMLA/CFRA leave is protected, meaning that an employee cannot be terminated or otherwise retaliated against for having taken a leave during the leave or after they return to work. And employers cannot deny or interfere with the right to take protected leave.
California also provides legal protections for eligible parents to take parental leave before and following the birth of a child.
If you believe that your right to protected leave has been denied or interfered with, or that you have been retaliated against for taking protected leave, call 909-247-6742 or email using the contact form to set up a free phone consultation.