UNPAID MEDICAL LEAVE PROTECTIONS FOR CALIFORNIA WORKERS

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides some protections for workers that are very similar to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). There are a few differences that distinguish the two. Understanding what rights you have under both might help you determine which one you need to use to seek leave.

Both the CFRA and the FMLA provide unpaid time off for employees who meet specific criteria. They can take up to 12 weeks of leave per 12-month period for the birth of a child, the placement of a foster child in the home or the adoption of a child.

They both also provide workers with unpaid leave for a serious health issue or to care for a seriously ill family member. One of the primary care exclusions of the CFRA is that pregnant workers don’t have any coverage under it until the baby is born. Under the FMLA, a pregnant woman who has medical complications can request leave.

It is possible for a pregnant worker to take a pregnancy leave of up to four months. This leave is a paid leave but must end at four months of benefits or when the child is born. The woman can use a new child bonding leave when the child is born for up to 12 weeks thanks to the CFRA.

Workers who think they aren’t being given the time off that they’re allowed under the law should find out what legal options they have. It is never acceptable for a worker to have to choose between keeping their job or taking care of their health or family members when they meet the FMLA or CFRA criteria.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT

Finding out that you will need to take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is something that might seem a bit unsettling. You do have specific rights under this act that you should know about before you take your time off.

One thing that you should remember is that the FMLA guarantees you unpaid leave. There are some instances in which you will be able to get paid leave if you have accrued some; however, you will need to find out if this is the case for you so that you can know what to expect.

Another thing that you should keep in mind is that your insurance coverage should remain the same if you are covered under a gro7up policy. If you are required to make premium payments, you will have to continue to do so. If you don’t usually have to pay, that should remain the same. The coverage for your family members should also stay the same if they are covered under your policy.

Upon your return from leave under this act, you are guaranteed to have an equivalent job to the one that you had when you left for your leave. This doesn’t mean identical; however, the benefits, pay, location, shift and conditions should be the same.

Before you take a leave that you feel is covered under this act, you should verify that it is a qualifying situation. If something happens and you feel like you aren’t getting the coverage you should, you do have the option of pursuing legal action to enforce the conditions of the act.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division, “Fact Sheet #28A: Employee Protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act,” accessed Aug. 21, 2017

FAMILY LEAVE MATTERS MUST BE HANDLED PROPERLY

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is meant to protect workers who need to take time off for their own medical issues or for specific family matters. One of these is that a person who has an immediate family member who has a serious illness can take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks to assist the person. While there are some requirements for notice to the employer, this isn’t always possible.

One recent story that went viral showed the importance of these protections. A woman texted her boss to let her know that she wouldn’t be in for her shift because her son was on life support. The manager replied that she either had to show up or be fired. The exchange went on and eventually the woman shared screenshots of the texts on social media. In the end, the manager was terminated.

There are a lot of unknowns in this story. Some of them might have made a difference. For example, the FMLA requires that employees have at least 12 months of employment with a total of at least 1,250 hours. It isn’t certain if the woman met this requirement. There are also requirements for the employer, such as having to have at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius in order to have to abide by the FMLA requirements.

Ultimately, employees need to know their rights so that they can ensure they are being respected. When FMLA violations occur, the employee might decide to take specific action to recover damages that occurred due to the employer’s unwillingness to comply with these laws.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS FOR MANDATED LEAVE LAWS

In a recent blog post, we discussed some of the ways that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies in specific circumstances. All employees should make sure that they understand how this law might impact their right to leave when they are impacted by a medical crisis or a family situation that falls under the umbrella of the act.

Some employers might not know exactly how these laws apply to their employees. This can make it difficult for the employees to get the leave they need. They might find that they need to take action to get that leave.

Violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act should be handled swiftly. There are times when the employee needs the leave right away and doesn’t have time to try to battle with the employer. The purpose of this act is so that covered employees won’t have to worry about their job security if they do have to take a leave for a covered reason.

It is imperative that any employee who feels they have been denied leave that should have been approved under this act learn about what options they have. They shouldn’t have to try to figure out how to make it work during a crisis just so that they can keep their jobs.

We know that this is a hard situation for employees, but it is important that they take action to get the leave due to them. Letting an employer get away with denying a lawful leave can set up problems in the future and could lead to the employee being used in the future.

HOW DOES FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE APPLY TO SPECIAL GROUPS?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides much needed time off without having to worry about losing your job if you have medical needs to tend to or if you have to care for someone who has a medical issue.

While many people are familiar with the basics of this act, there are some special situations that they might be worried about.

Does the FMLA apply to same-sex families?

Because same-sex marriage is now legal in all states, FMLA coverage does apply to these relationships. Same-sex couples can use the leave to care for each other. A same-sex spouse can care for a stepchild as long as that person assumes the daily responsibilities that come with a child. These include financial support or caring for the child.

What provisions apply for a wounded service member?

If you are the spouse, parent, child or next-of-kin of a service member who is wounded, you are entitled to up to 26 weeks of unpaid time off per year. This is an increased term from the 12 weeks that other individuals get.

What is “year” or “12-month” period under FMLA?

It is up to your employer to determine how to apply these terms to your case. Employers can use a calendar year or a fixed 12-month period, such as one that start on your anniversary date with the company.

Can I split up my time off?

This depends on the circumstances of your case. One example is childbirth. If you have a baby and take six weeks off after the birth, you can then take the other six weeks of leave that you have under FMLA at some point before your child’s first birthday.

Source: National Partnership for Women & Families, “Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA),” accessed May 18, 2018

YOUR EMPLOYER MUST FOLLOW THE LAW

Employment law is a complex area of the law. In many cases, there are specific qualifications and conditions that must be met in order for a law to come into the picture. This can make it difficult for employees to know when an employer is breaking the law. We are here to help you learn if your employer’s actions violated the law.

One area that is very complicated is the entertainment industry, particularly when it comes to the movie industry. Companies and workers in this area have some laws that are much different from other areas. This means that it is often even more difficult for someone in this industry to find out about violations. We can help all employees, including those in the entertainment industry, who think that they might have an employment law violation case.

There are a few areas of employment law that are often very confusing for employees. One of these is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Since not all employees qualify for this leave, there are some people who might think they qualify for the leave but don’t. Some people don’t understand that this leave is unpaid, which can be impossible for some employees to take.

Employment law has to be considered on a case-by-case basis so that your exact circumstances can be taken into account. We can review your case, help you find out your options and work to move your case through the avenue you choose to pursue. You don’t have to try to combat your employer’s actions on your own.

WHAT’S THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT AND WHO QUALIFIES FOR IT?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was crafted by lawmakers as a way to ensure that employees who missed as much as 12 weeks from work due to illness wouldn’t face losing their jobs. Although employers aren’t required to pay employees while they’re out on FMLA leave, they are required by law to continue providing them with medical insurance.

All public sector employers are required to offer FMLA to their employees. Private employers that have at least 50 workers on staff either at their facility or within 75 miles during at least a 20 week period are required by law to offer FMLA leave as well.

An individual wishing to qualify for leave under the FMLA must have been working for their current employer for at least a full year (1,250 hours) before becoming eligible for it.

An employee may qualify for FMLA-protected leave only in certain situations. If a worker finds him or herself unable to perform the essential functions of their job due to the fact that they’re suffering with a serious medical ailment, then they may qualify for leave. Caring for an immediate family member that’s also gravely ill may allow you to take FMLA leave as well.

New parents as well as those charged with taking care of a seriously ill child, whether biological, adopted or fostered, may also qualify under the FMLA. Parents of the latter may even be eligible to take FMLA while they’re facilitating the placement of their child or helping them settle in.

Any spouse left behind to care for a child while another is away on active duty with the military, including the Reserves or National Guard, may also qualify for leave under what’s known as a “qualifying exigency.”

Being able to take FMLA for a parent’s illness is limited to an individual’s own parents and does not include their in-laws. While FMLA cannot generally be taken to care for a child over the age of 18, it can be used to take care of one unable to provide self care.

While an employer cannot ask you to turn in your medical records as a condition of you being afforded leave under the FMLA, they can require that you provide certification of any medical condition you’re claiming.

If you’ve been denied leave, then a Sacramento FMLA and CFRA violations attorney can advise you of your rights.

Source: FindLaw, “What is FMLA? FAQ on Federal Leave Law,” accessed March 09, 2018

FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT POINTS TO REMEMBER

One of the protections that workers have on a federal level has to do with medical situations that impact you or those in your immediate family. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides very specific leave requirements for workers that meet specific criteria. Here are a few points you need to know about the FMLA:

Employers who employ at least 50 workers for at least 20 of the work weeks during the current or previous year must extend FMLA coverage to current employees who meet criteria requirements. In order to qualify, you must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months for at least a total of 1,250 hours. Your job has to take place in a location where there are at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

You can’t take FMLA leave for just any reason. A few of these include the need to take care of an immediate family member who has a serious condition, your inability to work due to a medical condition or having a qualifying exigency due to an immediate family member’s military service. The birth, adoption or placement of a foster child all qualify for FMLA coverage.

One thing that you must remember about leave under FMLA is that it only guarantees unpaid leave. Your employer might ask that you provide a medical certification to prove the illness exists, but there isn’t a requirement to provide medical records for this purpose. Without providing this certification, you risk being told to come back from leave before the 12-week guaranteed period is complete.

Source: FindLaw, “What is FMLA? FAQ on Federal Leave Law,” accessed Jan. 10, 2018

FMLA AND CFRA: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Life rarely goes as planned. Even when it does, certain events in your life require you to take a significant amount of time away from work. Faced with this prospect, you may begin to wonder whether your job will be there when you are ready to return to it.

Fortunately, the legislatures of both the federal government and the state of California understood that people must live their lives, and sometimes, that means not being able to work. The federal government responded to this need by enacting the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, and the state enacted the California Family Rights Act. Each act provides you with certain rights, but significant differences exist that you may want to be aware of if you need to take an extended absence from work.

The basics

Before discussing the differences between FMLA and CFRA, it may help to know the basic benefits offered to you under the acts. You may take 12 weeks of leave from your job without fear of losing your job for the following reasons:

  • You suffer from a serious health condition.
  • Your parent, spouse or child suffers from a serious health condition.
  • You recently adopted a child, had a child or a foster child was placed in your home.

One aspect of FMLA and CFRA that many people tend to misunderstand is the definition of a “serious health condition.” For the purposes of taking this type of leave, the definition includes the following:

  • An injury or accident requires you or an eligible family member to receive restorative plastic surgery or dental work.
  • An illness or injury leaves you or an eligible family member incapacitated for at least three days.
  • You or an eligible family member end up incapacitated due to hospitalization.
  • Your incapacitation or that of a qualifying family member continues after release from inpatient care.
  • You or a qualifying family member requires ongoing care and treatment for an incurable and long-term health condition.

If your situation qualifies you for FMLA or CFRA, you may also continue to receive health insurance benefits paid for by your employer during your time away from work.

The differences

The differences between the two acts include the following:

  • FMLA allows you leave to care for an injured or ill service member who is a child, parent, spouse or other next of kin. CFRA restricts leave to just a child, parent or spouse.
  • FMLA considers pregnancy as a serious health condition. CFRA does not include pregnancy itself as a qualifying condition. However, leave may be available under the state’s Pregnancy Disability Leave.
  • FMLA allows leave if a family member is, or is called to, activity duty military under certain conditions. CFRA does not cover this type of leave.
  • FMLA does not consider registered domestic partners as equal to spouses. CFRA does.

You may also be able to take advantage of California’s Paid Family Leave, which would provide you with six weeks of paid leave if you qualify for this temporary disability insurance program.

The problem

Whether it’s FMLA or CFRA, a great deal of confusion continues to exist regarding an employee’s use of this type of leave. You may encounter resistance from your employer regarding taking this leave. The application process and requirements placed on you in order to qualify can be complex. If you find yourself in a position in which you need FMLA or CFRA leave, it may benefit you greatly to gain an understanding of your rightsand assistance with obtaining the time off you need.

MAKING ENDS MEET WHEN YOU TAKE OFF WORK FOR FAMILY HEALTH CRISIS

You never know when a serious health crisis will arise in your family. Perhaps you are one of many California workers currently helping a family member in his or her fight against cancer. Maybe your spouse is suffering a debilitating illness related to Lyme disease or some other chronic illness. Caring for a loved one who is extremely ill can be quite stressful. In addition to the strain it may place on your personal physical and mental well-being, it can also cause major problems at work.

California, like most other states, has laws regarding family leave and benefits to which you may be entitled if you have to take an extended absence from your job in order to care for an ailing loved one. Such laws may vary, depending on which region of the state in which you happen to work.

Paid family leave facts that may pertain to your situation

Determining whether you’re eligible for family leave can be stressful. That’s because laws are not standard throughout the state. For instance, if you work in San Francisco, you may eligible for additional benefits that workers in other areas are not. Knowing where to turn for support ahead of time may help you avoid a lot of stress. The following list provides facts that may help clarify your particular eligibility issues:

  • In this state, you may able to receive more than half regular wages while on paid family leave, so long as that amount does not exceed $1,173 per week.
  • To collect paid family leave benefits, your situation must fall under an approved category, such as the need to miss work to bond with a newborn infant or adopted child or to care of an immediate family member who is ill.
  • Only certain family members qualify as immediate relatives, such as spouses, children or parents.
  • The type of illness your family member has must also be on the list of approved reasons to collect benefits. In short, a minor sore throat or even the flu typically does not satisfy eligibility requirements.
  • Your own illness generally does not qualify you for paid family leave benefits unless you happen to work in San Francisco.

Family medical leave laws are often complex and the last thing you need while caring for an ill loved one is to have to battle the system just to get the benefits you need to help make ends meet at home while you’re absent from work. Knowing what resources are available to help you simplify the process may prevent stress overload.