Leaves of Absence

There are laws in place that protect employees from being fired when they need time off to tend to their personal lives such as when they are are sick, pregnant, having a child, etc. Employers must grant eligible employees such a leave when it is needed or they could face lawsuit and fines if they do not.

California Family Rights Act (CFRA) & Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Both California (CFRA) and the Federal Government (FMLA) provide family and medical leaves of absence laws that allow employees to take unpaid time off work for a variety of reasons. Generally, these laws require covered employers to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave.

What Can the Leaves of Absence Be Taken For?

The Federal FMLA and California’s CFRA both allow employees to take a leave without losing their job, employment seniority, and health insurance. The leaves are typically given for:

  • Time off for employee’s serious health condition
  • Time off for caring for a new baby, caring for a newly adopted or newly placed foster child, or for child/baby bonding
  • Time off for caring for the employee’s child, spouse or parent with a serious health condition
  • Time off for caring for a wounded service member or veteran (FMLA only)
  • Time off to address particular circumstances arising from the deployment of a service member or a member of the armed forces (FMLA only).

Who is a “Covered Employer” and who is an “Eligible Employee” Under FMLA and CFRA?

For an employer to be “covered” and be required to grant employees FMLA or CFRA leaves, the employer must have 50+ employees on payroll for at least 20 weeks out of the year (or the previous year). For employees to be “eligible” for FMLA and/or CFRA leaves, the employee  must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours during the year. Both the FMLA and CFRA provide a right to leaves of absence for a maximum of 12 weeks unpaid leave in a 12–month period.

If you have been denied a CFRA or an FMLA leave of absence, or if you were fired while you were on a protected leave, DBY Law can help. Call the firm today at (213) 316-8844 for a free consultation.

Pregnancy Leave of Absence in California

Under the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), employers with 5+ employees are required to give a pregnant employee up to 4 months of unpaid leave per pregnancy that can be taken continuously, or in smaller increments. After a PDLL leave, the employee still has the right to an additional leave for 12-workweeks under CFRA. Even after the pregnancy disability leave, employees may still be eligible for absence as a reasonable accommodation for a physical or mental disability. The employee must be reinstated to the same or a comparable position after the pregnancy leave.

If you were denied a California PDLL pregnancy leave, or denied reasonable accommodations for a disability (including pregnancy), or were fired, suspended, demoted because of you were pregnant or disabled, we can help. DBY Law will work aggressively to help you face your employer and get what you deserve by law. Call the firm at (213) 316-8844 for a free consultation.

California’s New Paid Sick Leave Law

Starting on July 1, 2015, non-exempt employees in California are entitled to paid sick leave under the new Healthy Families Act of 2014. Employees must work for 30+ days in a year to be eligible.

Under the new California law, employees start to accumulate sick pay of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, and may begin using the accumulated paid sick days after 90 days of employment.

  • For example, an employee hired on 1/1/2016, would begin accumulating sick leave on 1/31/2016, and could start using the leave as of 3/31/2016. This means that an employee working 40 hours per week would be entitled to accumulate up to 8.6 days of paid sick time off per year. The total number of accumulated sick days will depend on the number of hours per week that an employee normally works.

Employer’s Limits on the Paid Sick Leave

Regardless of hours accumulated, an employer can limit the amount of an employee’s paid sick benefits used to 24 hours or 3 days, and can also limit the overall annual accumulation amount to 48 hours or 6 days.

The employer must pay out sick leave benefit payments to employees on the next payday or the next payroll period after the employee takes the sick leave.

What Can the Leave Be Taken For?

When the employee makes a written or verbal request, the employer must provide paid sick leave for the following reasons:

  1.     Diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee’s family member.
  2.     For an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Who Determines the Leave?

The employee is the one who determines how much paid sick leave he/she needs. However, the employee is required to provide “reasonable” advance notice of the leave when it is foreseeable. When it is not foreseeable, the employee should inform the employer as soon as it is possible to do so.

Employers can set a reasonable minimum increment for the use of paid sick leave, but the designated increment cannot exceed two hours.

Discrimination and retaliation (including firing, threats of firing, demotions, suspensions, etc.) against employees for using accumulated sick days is illegal and the Labor Commissioner may award reinstatement, back pay, payment for sick days withheld and payment of an administrative penalty for violations.

What if an Employer is Already Providing Paid Sick Leave to Employees?

Employers that already provide paid sick leave (or paid time off), do need not provide additional paid sick days if the existing policy:

  1. Satisfies the new law’s accumulation, carryover and use requirements; or
  2. Provides at least 24 hours or 3 days of paid sick leave for each year of employment.

However, unlike vacation time, employers are not required to compensate employees for unused sick days when the employee quits or gets fired. Finally, the employer is not allowed to require employees find a replacement worker to cover for days of the paid sick days as a condition for using paid sick days.Call the firm today at (213) 316-8844 for a free consultation regarding leave of absence violations.