Entitlement to Medical Leave
Work and Family are often the centers that life revolves around, for many people. When you or a family member is suffering from a heath-related issue, you may need to take time off from work, and the last thing you need to worry about at a time like that is losing your job.
That is why the federal Family Medical Leave (FMLA) was put into place—to give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your job will be waiting for you when you’ve taken care of yourself or your family member, and are ready to return to work. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is a similar state law that serves the same basic purpose as FMLA. Both laws allow you to take up to 12 weeks per year of time off for family-related reasons, if you’ve worked for your company for at least 12 months. You are entitled to family medical leave for these reasons:
- You have a newborn child, newly adopted child, or newly placed foster child and need bonding time.
- You need to care for a family member or registered domestic partner with a serious health condition.
- You’re suffering from a serious health condition.
In addition, FMLA allows a leave of up to 26 weeks per 12 month period to care for a close family member who has suffered an injury or illness related to military service.
Family medical leave under FMLA and CFRA is unpaid, but you can apply sick days or vacation time. The employer is required to continue the employee’s health insurance coverage for the duration of the leave, without any change in the amount you pay toward it. If you’re covered by State Disability Insurance, you can generally take the leave with pay at 55 percent of their regular pay rate, known as Paid Family Leave (PFL) or Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI).
When you are ready to return from your leave, you must be reinstated in the same or a similar position with no cut in pay.
When Your Employer Refused to Grant You Family Leave
If you’ve worked long enough to qualify for family leave, you’re entitled to take it for one of the valid reasons listed above. If your employer tells you that you may not take family leave when you meet the criteria, you should make a complaint to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Once the complaint process with the agency has been followed, you’ll be eligible to file a lawsuit against the employer. Your employer may make overt or veiled threats or demote or harass you. But the law does not allow any retaliation when you are merely asserting a legal right to a leave to which you are entitled.
If your employer has denied your valid request for family medical leave, consult the employment law attorneys at Harrison & Bodell. We will help you file the complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and will protect your rights throughout the process. When you get a letter from the agency giving you the go-ahead to sue, we will file an action on your behalf in court.
Family Medical Leave Attorneys in San Diego
The employment attorneys at Harrison & Bodell have successfully represented many clients who have been wrongly denied family medical leave or refused reinstatement after the leave. Call today to arrange a free appointment to learn about your rights and legal options.