Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What to Know about California Leave Rights

Contrary to what others think, not all employment rights are granted to all employees. Not all employees are protected of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Those who are qualified are employees who have:

·         worked for not less than a year for their employer
·         worked for not less than 1,250 hours in the past year

Also, the employer has to have at least 50 employees working within 75 miles of the employment site.

Meanwhile, according to the United States Department of Labor, the qualification for FMLA/CFRA means that only 76.1 million workers out of 141.7 million total workers or 53 percent are qualified for FMLA protection. The other 47 percent have to depend on their employer’s leave policies.

How much Medical Leave is allowed?

Under the FMLA, workers are entitled to take a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave to care for a newborn, seriously ill family member, newly adopted child, or for their own illness or medical condition.

Additionally, a worker may be given privilege to extend the leave if he or she has a psychological or physical disability that needs a leave extension as an accommodation of such disability. Therefore, it is unlawful for any employer to treat employees differently or penalize them for taking medical leave.

Paid or Not?

The FMLA/CFRA leaves are unpaid. Basically, the lack of paid leave presents a significant obstacle for those who cannot afford to take FMLA leave. Such claim is supported by a report which states that the most commonly noted reason for not taking a leave was the inability to afford it.

However, if the employer is generous enough, he or she may opt to pay employees on the period of their leaves, or may apply the paid sick leave or vacation time to the medical leave.

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