In the United States labor law under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, employers are required to provide their employees with job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. The authorized leaves are sustained by law, henceforth, your employer cannot deny the employee from acquiring the accredited leaves. If your employer denied these rights, it would be a violation of the employment and labor laws and would be liable to damages and other compensatory claims.
In California, other than the FMLA, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) mandates employers to offer both a pregnancy disability leave and a family medical care leave for employees. This allows qualified employees to take a total of 12 weeks of paid or unpaid job-protected leave during a 12-month period.
Employees Rights Under FMLA
A certain number of days are given to the employees to be off work to take care of family emergencies following the rules of FMLA. These rights are the following:
- 12 Weeks of Leave in a 12-Month Period
- the birth and care of a newborn within one year of birth;
- having custody of a child from the adoption or foster care and its care and feeding within one year of guardianship;
- taking care of the employee’s spouse, child, or parent (first-degree relative or family member) who has a serious health condition;
- diagnosed serious health condition of the employee disabling him or her to perform the essential job-related duties;
- a valid emergency generated by the fact that the employee’s spouse, child/ren is a covered military member on “covered active duty”.
- 26 Weeks of Leave in a 12-Month Period
- caring for a covered military member with a serious injury or illness if the said person is the employee’s spouse, offspring, sibling, parent, or next of kin.
The recognized laws only cover serious medical and family emergencies. Any that are not cited above like undergoing cosmetic surgery or routine preventive physical examinations, are not covered by the FMLA and CFRA benefits. Although an employee can still file for an ordinary sick leave or leave subject to the employer’s approval.
Standards That Employees Need to Comply
Once the employee files for the family emergency leave for the reasons mentioned above, there are minimum standards the employee needs to comply with to be eligible under the law, as seen below, the employee must:
- be employed for the employer for at least 12 months;
- have at least served a total of 1,250 hours during the 12-month period, and
- be at a workplace that has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
- provide notice of the intent to take the family and medical leave not less than 30 days before the leave is to begin or as soon as feasible.
- present a medical certification that indicates the serious health condition of the employee or the employee’s urgency to care for his or her spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition.
Furthermore, bear in mind that the 12 months do not need to be continuous for as long as the standards mentioned above are fulfilled.
What To Expect Upon Returning
If the employee has filed for his or her leave correctly and was approved by the employer, the anxiousness of losing the job shouldn’t be present. An employee upon return from leave should:
- be returned to the same position or to an equivalent position with similar benefits, pay, status, and other terms and conditions of employment that were provided upon entry of the employee.
- be entitled to maintain health benefits coverage and on an unpaid leave be paid a share of the premiums on a current basis or pay upon return to work.
Under FMLA and CFRA, your employer cannot invalidate you the right to take leave concerning the valid reasons mentioned above. It cannot be mistakenly taken as a sign of tardiness or poor performance at work. Furthermore, as part of the Fair Housing and Employment Act, employers are required to provide proper accommodations to their employees.
If your employer has denied you or your co-workers the leaves that were stated above or were tyrannized or fired after filing and obtaining said leaves, then you should seek legal advice from an employment lawyer. At Mesriani Law Group, our employment lawyers with decades of experience in a sure-win result can assure you maximum compensation from the damages against your employer.