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What You Need to Know About Family and Medical Leave in California

Posted by Brian Vogel | Feb 08, 2016 | 0 Comments

Family and Medical Leave laws in California protect employees when they need to take time off by helping individuals pay bills with income replacement and providing job security during difficult times. When you understand your rights, you can prepare your finances and address inadequacies if you do not receive adequate assistance.

Types of Family and Medical Leave

California employees have access to several state and federal laws that offer benefits for different situations:

  1. Paid Family Leave (PFL). This state program offers income replacement for employees who pay for state disability insurance and for those who take time off to care for new children (biological, adopted, or foster) or an immediate family member. You can earn up to 55% of your average weekly wage for up to six weeks.
  2. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This federal program offers 12 weeks of job-protected leave but does not offer compensation. Employees can use this time to care for themselves, a family member, or a new child (biological, adopted, or foster).
  3. California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Similar to FMLA, the CFRA protects employees from losing their jobs during an absence. The act offers increased privacy protections but does not offer protection for pregnancy-related medical conditions.
  4. Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL). Although the CFRA does not cover pregnancy conditions, you may qualify for PDL if you pay into state disability insurance. Pregnant females or those with pregnancy related conditions may qualify if they work for a company with five or more employees.

Your Rights Under Family and Medical Leave Programs

For all of these programs, you:

  • Should use your time off as needed. You may not take all 6 or 12 weeks off at once; these programs allow you to take time off when needed (up to the maximum allowance).
  • Can combine certain benefits. For instance, if you receive assistance under PFL, you may simultaneously receive benefits to cover 100% of your wages during an absence.
  • Need to request state or federal assistance as soon as possible. Tell your employer about your situation 30 days in advance or as soon as you can.
  • Should understand what an employer may ask from you. For FMLA and CFRA, you may need to provide relational confirmation, a note from a medical provider, and periodic updates.

This information only covers basic family and medical leave coverage. If you need help with leave, reach out to the attorneys at the Law Offices of Brian I. Vogel at 626.796.7470.

About the Author

Brian Vogel

Working Hard for Workers' Rights Brian I. Vogel graduated with a philosophy degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 1982 and with a law degree from Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in New York in 1986 and has been a licensed California attorney since 1987. Employment attorney Brian Vo...


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