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In California, employers must consider federal and state laws before approving you for time off. Like the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), similar protection is available through the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). While job-protected leave is straightforward, there are a lot of grey areas about insurance and benefits policies. Employers and employees should have a firm understanding of their legal requirements and what to expect. Should you have questions about family leave and need to speak with an FMLA attorney in Los Angeles, give us a call at Mann & Elias.
Federal and State Job-Protected Leave: What Does It Mean for You?
For Californians new to CFRA benefits, a new provision was enforced on January 1st this year to make family leave accessible to any employee from a small or large business. While it works similarly to FMLA, California employees should know the differences between the two.
As employment attorneys in Los Angeles would explain, the federal FMLA policy gives eligible workers the right to take time off for specific reasons like:
- Bonding with a newborn
- Recovering from an injury
- Taking care of a family member (including military)
Because it is unpaid, employees tend to use vacation or sick days to recover. Sometimes, the extent of the injury or recovery time requires weeks or months on end. However, in the end, the law is allowing you to take the time you need to rest and heal without having to worry about losing your job. While it does not pose a financial advantage, it helps employees keep their jobs. Employers must continue your health benefits, a bonus as well.
The state’s CFRA policy mirrors FMLA to cover employers and help employees with medical concerns outside the office. It provides job-protected leave without pay to care for injuries, family members, bond with a new child or adoptee, and loved ones in the military. Read on for brief examples of how it differs from FMLA:
- FMLA accounts for leave for disabilities due to pregnancy, childbirth, and related health concerns. California PDL (Pregnancy Disability Leave) accounts for all three within CFRA.
- The CFRA considers registered domestic partners in California as spouses. The FMLA does not, which makes it harder for you to request 12-weeks to care for them.
- FMLA requires the use of paid leave to be in the employer’s policy. CFRA allows an employee to suggest the use of vacation time in addition to family leave. Sick leave if it is a time-off request for their injuries.
When it comes to lawful time off, the employer must consider all forms of job-protected leave. If not, the company might be liable, which can get costly from a legal standpoint. If you are experiencing difficulties with your employer, a Los Angeles workplace lawyer can guide you through the process and facilitate the discussion.
Benefits That Continue During FMLA
That depends on the type of benefits you are receiving at work. We outline a few of them below, but a lawyer for FMLA violations in LA can give you a better understanding of your coverage. The legal counsel you retain will prevent an employer from taking advantage of your rights during such a vulnerable time.
The Health Benefits
During federal FMLA leave, you should still be receiving insurance coverage from your company’s health plan. There should be no modifications or alterations to your health plan unless specified by you or discussed previously. Group health plans provide healthcare to employees, former employees, and family members. It may include:
- Self-insured Plans
- Vision Plans
- Dental Benefits
- Wellness care
- Prescription Coverage
Employers must follow company policy when an employee is on leave. Aid outside of what is required may not resume until you return to the office. You are entitled to the restoration of preexisting benefits when you go back to work without a waiting period or having to go through a requalification process if there is a significant coverage gap.
Life insurance is an example of a benefit that might get impacted when you are away. If an employer stops paying for coverage, there could be legal implications, which involve a medical leave attorney in LA. Unless the company underwent significant changes that affect all workers while you were absent, you are entitled to get treated as you were during leave. If not, it could be a sign of retaliation or discriminatory behavior. It should get reported immediately.
Who Pays for Benefits?
As an employee, you only need to pay your premiums, if applicable. The rest will get paid by your employer unless you are using paid time off during FMLA leave. Without a paycheck to withhold, the company would not be responsible for payment until your unpaid leave begins. Before leaving, an employer should notify you about how to pay your portion.
If you willingly do not return to work when FMLA ends, the company has the right to request a reimbursement for its coverage of your medical insurance. But, if the illness or injury has progressed to the point where you are unfit to work or have to continue taking care of an ill loved one for reasons beyond your control, an employer cannot make that request.
Consult With an FMLA Attorney To Learn What Happens To Your Benefits On Leave
The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.
Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases, an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel disadvantaged in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we believe our success rooted in:
- 50+ years of trial experience
- Excellent advocacy skills
- Intense preparation and research
- Quality care
Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.