The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provide protections for employees that may need to take a leave of absence from work. The FMLA is a federal law that ensures an eligible employee’s ability to take a leave of absence for an extended period of time, for specific reasons. The CFRA is a state law that provides almost identical protections and is often concurrently available to an employee who is eligible for FMLA leave.
Eligible employees of covered employers are entitled to 12 workweeks of leave for defined reasons in a 12-month “leave year.”
In addition, family members of persons injured in military service may take up to 26 workweeks of unpaid “servicemember family leave” in a single 12-month period, less other FMLA already taken, to care for injured or ill servicemembers.
The FMLA provides job security to an employee who is absent from work because of the employee’s own serious health condition or to care for specified family members with serious health conditions, as well as for the birth and to care for a newborn child, or because of the placement for adoption or foster care of a child with the employee.
Effective January 1, 2021, the CFRA, like the FMLA, provides for 12 workweeks of leave in 12-month “leave year” for any of the following reasons:
- The birth of an employee’s child or the placement with an employee of a child for adoption or foster care (“child” means a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, a child of a domestic partner, or a person to whom the employee stands in loco parentis);
- To care for a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner with serious health condition;
- An employee’s own serious health condition; or
- For a qualifying exigency related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parents in the U.S. military.
Prior to January 1, 2021, the CFRA provided for 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month “leave year” for any of the following reasons:
- The birth of an employee’s child or the placement with an employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
- To care for a child, spouse, or parent with serious a health condition; or
- An employee’s own serious health condition.