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What are California employees’ rights to family medical leave?

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2023 | Employment Law |

As a California business owner, you have a lot of laws to comply with. One set concerns your employee’s right to family medical leave.

There are two main laws to consider here – the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the state-level California Family Rights Act (CFRA).  Here are the main things they entitle employees to receive:

Unpaid time off

This can be taken above and beyond the usual allotted time off for the following reasons:

  • They have a new child, whether by birth, adoption or fostering, and need time to bond with them
  • They need it to deal with things while their spouse is away on military duty
  • They need to care for a sick family member
  • The employee is ill

However, it should be noted that the illnesses need to be serious to qualify and the time off allowed can be even longer if the sick person is a member of the military.

A job to which they can return

Employees might feel trepidation about asking for much-needed time off, fearing you will replace them while they are away. The FMLA and CFRA make it clear that you usually need to keep their job open.

Continued health benefits

You need to continue providing any medical and dental benefits that you normally provide the employee during this time off.

Complying with these laws and others related to employee rights can help you build a happy workplace and reduce the chance an employee takes you to court. Sometimes, however, it is hard to know whether an employee’s request falls within the scope of law or whether they are chancing their luck. Not every employee is entitled to these things either – it depends on things such as the size of your company and how long the person has been working for you.

Getting legal help to assess the situation can help you make the correct decisions when it comes to extended leave requests and other employment matters.