The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has helped people connect with necessary medical care that requires a leave of absence from their employment for decades. New parents and those with an immediate family member struggling with the health issue can also secure leave under the FMLA.
Workers in California have enhanced protections under the expanded rules of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Much like the FMLA, the CFRA requires that employers who meet certain requirements allow workers to take unpaid leave for medical or family reasons.
If you believe you require time off from your job for yourself or your immediate family, how can you determine if you qualify?
The length of your employment matters
You typically need to be a full-time employee at a company or have a rather extensive part-time employment arrangement with them to qualify for leave under the FMLA or the CFRA. The basic employment history requirements are the same for both programs.
Typically, you will need to have worked for the business for at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months in most cases. You also need to have maintained employment with the company for at least 12 months, although those months do not need to be consecutive. You also have to work for a company that meets crucial size qualifications.
Under the FMLA, only those employed by companies with 75 workers within 50 miles of the employee have to allow FMLA leave. However, under the CFRA, companies have to allow appropriate unpaid leave when they have five or more employees.
How do you prove that you qualify?
Medical records or official forms related to adoption and foster placement are often the simplest way to conclusively show to your employer that your situation likely qualifies you for FMLA leave.
Sometimes you will need to provide documentation of your relationship status to prove that you are truly the child or spouse of the party that requires medical support. The company should have its own internal records showing that you qualify based on your employment history. If you believe you qualify, but your employer won’t allow you to arrange for leave, you may need to take legal action.
Understanding when you may have the right to take unpaid leave for personal reasons could help you protect your career despite unanticipated family or medical circumstances.