Safeguarding Your Family Medical Leave Act Rights

Mother tending to sick daughter in bed next to medication bottlesFamily emergencies and life changes are beyond our control and if they threaten your job security, it can further compound your stress. In the state of California, employers who consistently employ more than 50 people within a 75-mile radius are required to permit employees (with more than one year of service) to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave. Family leave is intended for employees to care for themselves, a new baby, or parents or children who have a serious medical condition. If you need to take time off from work to attend to a family member, attorney Chris Olsen can help you understand your Family Medical Leave Act rights. During a consultation at his San Diego, CA, office, he can offer you a better understanding of the law, review your specific case, and pursue legal action if necessary. To learn more, contact us today.

Understanding the Basics of Family Medical Leave

Employees in the state of California are granted family medical leave rights under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). When you notify an employer of your intent to take time off work, you do not necessarily have to say that you are taking FMLA or CFRA leave. It is sufficient to indicate that you have a serious health condition that will require inpatient therapy, a series of doctor’s visits, or might incapacitate you for more than three days. You do not have to volunteer additional information; the employer must ask for it. When you are ready to return to work, your employer must return you to your prior position, or a substantially similar job, without loss of seniority.

Medical Certification for Leave

FMLA law stipulates that an employer may request a doctor’s certificate (in writing) that outlines the severity of the condition and its probable duration. Under CFRA law, employers may not ask for additional information, such as diagnosis, treatment, or other medical facts supporting the employee’s need for leave. If the employer questions the validity of the medical provider’s certification, the employer may request a second medical opinion by a neutral provider. The employer is responsible for the cost of this evaluation. If this second opinion conflicts with the first, the employer must pay for a third medical evaluation.

Chronic Conditions

The FMLA and CFRA also protect California employees who require intermittent medical absences for chronic conditions like asthma, migraines, and irritable bowel syndrome. If a health care provider certifies an employee for intermittent leave for an ongoing condition, the employer typically cannot ask for re-certification more often than every thirty days.

Baby Bonding Leave

Another important element of family medical leave is the baby bonding provision. CFRA family leave may be taken for adopting or bonding with a new child. This can be taken immediately after pregnancy disability leave, or any time within 12 months of the baby’s birth.

Learn More About Protecting Your Rights Today

If you need a lawyer to help navigate family medical leave, especially in the case you suspect your rights have been abused, reach out to an lawyer. Backed by years of experience in employment law, attorney Chris Olsen can ensure that the protections granted to you by the FMLA and CFRA are enforced. Contact his practice today to schedule a consultation. 

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