Employees wants a good work-life balance, and companies want reliable staff. Sometimes, workers feel pressured to sacrifice their health or family relationships to maintain their employment. There are federal and state laws that protect workers who need to take the focus off of their work temporarily for their own well-being or their family.
Workers all over the country at medium and large businesses have the protection of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Workers in California have slightly enhanced rights under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which has similar rules.
These laws allow workers to take unpaid leaves of absence in specific situations without facing workplace consequences. When can an employee take FMLA leave?
When they require medical care
If a worker recently got diagnosed with cancer, they may need time off of work for surgery, radiation treatments or chemotherapy. The FMLA allows a worker to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave over the course of a year to undergo medical treatment without facing repercussions from their employer. They can take all of that at one time or possibly spread it out if they have to undergo multiple procedures.
When they have a new child
If a pregnant worker goes into labor, they can take FMLA leave during the first months of their child’s life. Pregnancy and delivery are not the only ways people add children to their family. Foster placement and successful adoption can also qualify someone for FMLA leave so that they can bond with the new member to their family and adjust to their changing household.
When a family member needs medical support
When immediate family members need medical support, the FMLA allows workers to take a leave of absence without facing employment consequences. Parents, spouses and children who need medical support can all qualify a worker for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
In situations where the family member is a military servicemember, there could be 26 weeks of leave available. Those making a claim under the CFRA rather than the FMLA will qualify for other relationships as well, including domestic partnerships and the children of domestic partners.
Properly communicating with the other parties involved can help make FMLA and CFRA claims less contentious.