WHAT IS THE FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT AND WHY IT IS SO ESSENTIAL
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that requires employers to provide employees with unpaid, job protected leave in the event of a medical or family emergency. In 2021, job protection is crucial as we all confront a global pandemic. In response to the impact COVID-19 has had, the rate of medical leave has increased across the country. In California, employees are eligible to:
- Take personal medical leave
- Care for a sick family member
- Bond with a new child – which differs from maternal or paternal leave
- Participate in qualifying event when a family member (military) is getting deployed to a foreign country
Family medical leave can also be used with accompanying Disability Insurance (DI) programs or additional Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits. Both provide wage replacement benefits without job protection. DI will provide paid benefits up to 52 weeks if you are not able to work and have been losing wages because of personal non-work-related illnesses, wounds, or health risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
PPL, on the other hand, provides up to eight weeks of paid benefits because of a wage loss. The eligibility matches FMLA qualifications. It can be stressful when a family member suffers an injury or requires care at home. Benefits of the medical leave are broad coverage and flexibility. If approved, the employee does not have to worry about losing his or her job or getting fired upon return.
The family medical leave extends to multiple family members at one time. If an employee has to provide emergency care for both parents, for instance, the FMLA offers full protection for all three. The family medical leave act is an essential part of the workforce. Everyone has the right to take care of their own or their family member’s health without pressure of requesting too much time off. If you find that you are having difficulty taking time off, or your employer is refusing to acknowledge the FMLA, then you might want to contact a family medical leave renewal lawyer in Los Angeles.
How Much Time Can I Take Off For Using Family Medical Leave?
Family medical leave is helpful for anyone who is going through personal injuries or illness. Life threatening injuries can be sudden and unexpected. One of the most important questions you may ask yourself is: How long can you take time off? Keep in mind that the prolonged time away from work is unpaid. In California, the FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks (or 3 months) of job-protected time off per year. If you find that you need more than 12 weeks, additional time off will be at your own risk. Depending on the employer, you may be allowed an extension.
When You Get Your 12 Weeks Of Family Medical Leave Back
Family medical leave can greatly change based upon who your employer is and how they handle the FMLA. Companies prefer different methods for renewing family medical leave, so you will need to talk to your employer to figure out appropriate procedures. There are two types of forms you may be asked to provide information for or verify.
- WH-380-E– this form is for employees taking leave regarding personal health concerns.
- WH-380-F– this form is specifically for taking leave to provide care for family members.
- WH-384 and WH-385– these forms are specific to family members serving in the military. Form 384 is filled if the leave pertains to military service. Form 385 is filled if you must cover injury or illness.
There are a few renewal options that your employer might be using as a criterion for approving FMLA-based time off per year.
- Calendar year
If your employer goes by this method, you will receive another 12 weeks of family medical leave after the beginning of the calendar year on January 1st. This is a very traditional method that does not affect when you went on family leave
- Anniversary renewalYour eligible 12 weeks of family medical leave would renew the same day you went on leave the previous year. This plan gives you 12 weeks to recover. After the 12 weeks of family medical leave, you will have to wait until the approval period is renewed.
- OtherThere are other options that your employers might use to consider additional time off. You may be able to break up your time off. For example, if time is taken off for one week in March, you can choose additional weeks off in forthcoming months if it falls under the FMLA criteria. If you are having any family medical leave act related problems or questions do not hesitate to contact an employment attorney in Los Angeles. There is no reason why you should be denied government mandated time-off in the event of an emergency