How to Request Leave From Work in California Through FMLA, the Family Rights Act, and Pregnancy Disability Leave Law
At the Leichter Law Firm, APC, the Los Angeles employment law attorney, Aryeh Leichter knows multiple laws protect California employees who need to take family and medical leave from work — either for themselves or to care for family members.
Here is how California employees can make their requests for the type of work leave that fits their unique needs and circumstances.
Determine Your Eligibility for Family or Medical Leave
Your time away from work will be dictated by your unique circumstances, which may be covered under the:
- Family and Medical Leave Act(FMLA)
- California Family Rights Act(CFRA)
- California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law(PDL)
To be eligible for FMLA, workers must be employed by:
- Private-sector employers who employ 50 or more employees in 20 or more work weeks in either the current calendar year or the previous calendar year.
- Public agencies (including Federal, State, and local government employers, regardless of the number of employees).
- Local educational agencies (including public school boards, public elementary and secondary schools, and private elementary and secondary schools, regardless of the number of employees).
- Have worked for their employer for at least 12 months.
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the request for leave.
The FMLA protects leave for:
- The birth of a child or placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
- The care for a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition.
- A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to work.
- Reasons related to a family member’s service in the military, including:
- Qualifying exigency leave for certain reasons related to a family member’s foreign deployment.
- Military caregiver leave when a family member is a current servicemember or recent veteran with a serious injury or illness.
To be eligible for CFRA, California workers must:
- Have worked for the company for at least one year.
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours the previous year with the company.
- Work for private employers with 5 or more employees and employees, or California state and local governments as employers.
The CFRA protects leave for:
- Recovery from a serious health condition that requires added treatment or inpatient care.
- The birth or bonding of a child or adoption of a child by the worker.
- The serious health condition of a spouse, parent, or child.
Employees may be eligible for twenty-six work weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a severe injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin.
PDL states pregnant employees may be eligible for up to 16 weeks when they are employed by a company with five or more employees.
The PDL protects leave for:
- An employee disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition is entitled to up to four months of disability leave per pregnancy. If the employer provides more than four months of leave for other types of temporary disabilities, the same leave must be made available to employees who are disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.
- Leave can be taken before and after birth during any period when the employee is physically unable to work because of pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition. All leave taken in connection with a specific pregnancy counts toward computing the four-month period.
- PDL is available when an employee is disabled. This includes time off needed for prenatal or postnatal care, severe morning sickness, doctor-ordered bed rest, childbirth, recovery from childbirth, loss or end of pregnancy, or any other related medical condition.
PDL may be modified as an employee’s changing medical condition dictates.
What are the Best Steps to Take When Requesting Leave from Work in California?
After determining which form of leave you qualify for, there are multiple steps you can take to help ensure your leave goes smoothly.
- Give advance notice of your requested leave, so your employer can plan accordingly. If your need for leave is not foreseeable, you should provide notice as soon as possible.
- Request, complete, and complete the appropriate forms from your employer’s human resources department or supervisor. If the company does not have specific forms, use the S. Department of Labor’s FMLA forms.
- Follow up with your employer to ensure your requested leave is being processed. Your employer should notify you within five business days whether your request has been approved or denied.
- Continue to communicate with your employer during your leave, especially if your needs or timeline change.
- Return to work once your leave is over. You have the right to return to your same or an equivalent position and may be eligible for workplace disability accommodations to help smooth your transition back to work.
Contact the Leichter Law Firm, APC Employment Law attorney Attorney in Los Angeles, California
If your California employer has denied your need for family or medical leave, contact Aryeh Leichter, the Leichter Law Firm, APC founder and employment law attorney in Los Angeles County to discuss the legal remedies that may be available for your unique workplace circumstances today, starting with a free consultation by calling 818-915-6624 or contacting the firm online.