Common questions CA employees might have about FMLA leave

Those who wish to take FMLA leave to care for themselves, a spouse or a child may have many questions about this program.

When people in California experience a serious medical condition, the Family Medical Leave Act may be able to help. According to the Department of Labor, this program is designed to provide employees with unpaid, job-protected leave as they care for themselves, a spouse, a parent or a child. Although taking FMLA leave can be highly beneficial to employees, they may still have many questions about this program and their rights.

Who is allowed to take FMLA leave?

Employees who wish to take FMLA leave must first work for an employer that is covered by this act. Generally speaking, private companies that employee at least 50 people are covered under this law. Although private employers with less than 50 workers are not covered by this act, medical and family leave laws specific to California can still provide leave. Additionally, regardless of how many employees they have, any government agency, including secondary and elementary schools, are covered by FMLA.

When can FMLA be used?

There are many situations where employees can use FMLA. For example, workers can take advantage of this type of leave when:

  • They give birth to a new child
  • A child is placed with them for adoption or through foster care
  • An immediate family member who has a serious health condition needs to be cared for
  • They are unable to work because of a serious medical condition

FMLA leave can also be used when a qualifying situation arises relating to when an employee having a son, daughter, spouse or parent is called to active duty status in the Armed Forces.

How can FMLA leave be requested?

When employees wish to take FMLA leave, they must provide their employee with proper notice. For example, employees who are either pregnant or have a planned surgery coming up must provide their employees with 30 days of advance notice. Employees who learn they need to take leave and they cannot provide 30 days of notice must let their employer know as soon as possible.

Can employees return to their original position?

Employees who wish to return to work after taking FMLA leave must be able to move back into their previous position or one that is nearly identical. However, employees who take more than their allotted FMLA leave cannot be guaranteed that their employer will be willing to provide them with similar employment.

Like with any law, employees may have a difficult time understanding their rights and be unware when these rights are violated. Those in California who believe their employer has taken unfair action against them after requesting FMLA leave should contact an attorney in their area.