The FMLA Basics: Ten Things to Know About Family Leave as an Employee | Mann & Elias
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The FMLA Basics: Ten Things to Know About Family Leave as an Employee

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Expect the unexpected. In life, things can happen at a moment’s notice. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) helps employees manage obligations at home and in the workplace with job-protected leave. Under federal law, employers who meet specific criteria must allow their employees to take time off to recover or care for a sick family member. When your manager prohibits you from exercising your right to FMLA, we understand how concerning it might feel. Our Los Angeles labor attorney for employees can assist! This article provides ten things that employees should keep in mind when it comes to family leave.

FMLA/CFRA vs. Paid Sick Leave

Depending on your job, employees accrue sick days when they work for a company over a certain period. It allows them to take a limited number of days for doctor’s appointments, treat injuries, or have a self-care day when needed. It can also get used when tending to a sick family member. Unlike FMLA, paid sick leave is not a federal legal requirement, according to the Department of Labor (DOL). Because FMLA is an extended, unpaid leave for medical conditions, an employer may opt to provide you with the option instead.

As an employee, FMLA is an option available to you per federal law if you work for a company with a staff of 50 or more. It is not applicable for smaller businesses, but California has a firm policy for statewide workers. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides 12 workweeks of medical and family leave for eligible employees at any company or business. It went into effect on January 1st, this year. Temporary leave gets considered when you:

  • Have been employed for 12 months or more
  • Worked for the company for at least 1,250 hours within those 12 months

Like FMLA, CFRA protects you if you need to take leave to:

  • Give birth/Attend the birth of your child
  • Adopt a child/placement of an adoptee
  • Care for a spouse, parent, or child
  • Recover from a life-threatening injury or health condition

Employers are responsible for approving. If you qualify, you should expect to get approved for time off. If they do not let you take leave, the company shares liability when you file a claim. FMLA and CFRA regulations are intricate. An FMLA attorney in LA can further explain more about the two, how much time you should expect off, and the rate of benefits.

10 Things to Know About FMLA and CFRA

  1. Not All Employers Offer FMLA – Employers must abide by federal law with FMLA if the company has more than 50 employees for the last five months. Smaller companies do not have to abide by FMLA rules and regulations. However, CFRA offers employees across the entire state of California job-protected leave if they qualify. If you have any questions, a Los Angeles family medical leave attorney can help.
  2. Some Employees Won’t Be Covered – If your employer offers family leave, that does not mean you will be able to apply. You must meet the requirements listed previously and work for a facility with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
  3. Leave is Allowed for Certain Reasons – Employees can only take FMLA for the reasons specified above. They can also request time off for military family leave to take care of practical matters when a loved one gets called to active duty. Or you can request protected leave for family members who are suffering from a service-related illness or injury.
  4. FMLA leave is unpaid – Most employees might use a combination of vacation or sick days to get paid while they are on FMLA leave. The law does not require employers to offer extra pay. However, if you suspect that wages are getting withheld from your paycheck before or after you take time off, you should report the discrepancies in pay.
  5. Employees Can Take 12 Weeks Off – Through FMLA and CFRA, employees can take a maximum of 12 weeks off annually. There are exceptions for employees that need to care for a family member who gets injured while on military duty. They get offered up to 26 weeks of leave in a 12-month period. Keep in mind that this does not renew annually.
  6. Employees Have a Notice Deadline – If your leave is foreseeable, you must give your employer a 30-day notice. For example, if you have a surgical procedure coming up or expect to aid a family member through medical concerns. If not then, it should happen a day or two in advance.
  7. Medical Certification – Employers might ask you for medical certification from your health care provider treating you or a loved one to verify your request. If this happens, you have 15 days to provide it.
  8. You Do Not Need to Use All Your FMLA Days – An employment lawyer in LA would recommend that you avoid using all your FMLA leave at once if the situation permits. Instead, request personal days intermittently and as needed.
  9. You Are Entitled to Continue Your Health Insurance On Leave – Unless specified otherwise, your employer may still require you to pay your premiums. If you choose not to come back to work after you leave, you might have to reimburse the company for what they paid toward your benefits. However, if you could not return due to conditions beyond your control, you should not have to.
  10. Your Boss Must Reinstate You to The Same or Equivalent Position Retaliation in the workplace is a big concern across businesses in the U.S., which is why job-protected leave is so integral for families. When you leave, you should return to the same job. Your role should not get replaced or terminated without an adequate reason. If you need a lawyer for FMLA violations in Los Angeles, you can count on us at Mann & Elias.

Discuss Your Case with A FMLA Attorney Today!

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


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