California Family Rights Act Provides Help to Employees in Need

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides eligible employees with up to twelve weeks of unpaid, but job protected, leave.  These employees can use the leave for themselves if they have a serious health condition, or for the care of family member with a serious health condition.  They can also use the leave to bond with a new child.

Effective this year, the CFRA was expanded to provide leave for employees who are disabled because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees with guaranteed leave as well as the CFRA, but there are many differences.  Some of the differences include:

Family Care Medical Leave | DFEH

Definition

California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Eligibility

Employee or family member has a serious health condition. Employee has worked for employer for 1+ year, has 1250 hours of service in the past year, and employer has 5+ employees.

Employee or family member has a serious health condition. Employee has worked employer for 1+ year, I have 1250+ hours of service in the past year, and employer has 50+ employees working within 75-mile radius.

Amount of Leave

Up to 12 weeks per year for all CFRA purposes

Up to 12 weeks per year for all FMLA purposes

Family Member Eligibility

A child of any age, spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling with a serious health condition.

A child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition.

Definition of Serious Health Condition

A serious health condition is an illness, injury, or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider.

A serious health condition is an illness, injury, or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider.

Must All Be Leave taken at once?

No. The leave does not need to be taken in one continuous period of time

Maybe. The employee can take leave intermittently if medically necessary. Otherwise, they need the approval of their employer to take intermittent leave.

Job Protection

Employee reinstatement to same or comparable job, except in limited circumstances unrelated to leave (such as layoffs).

Employee reinstatement to same or comparable job, except in limited circumstances unrelated to leave (such as layoffs).

Continuous Paychecks While on Leave

Employee will be paid if employer pays employees on CFRA leave, if employee uses accrued paid time off (such as vacation time), or if employee applies to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) for State Disability Insurance (SDI) or Paid Family Leave (PFL) and qualifies.

Employee will be paid if employer pays employees on FMLA leave, if employee uses accrued paid time off (such as vacation time), or if employee applies to EDD for SDI or PFL and qualifies.

Employer Continues to Pay for Health Insurance

The employer must pay for the continuation of employee’s group health benefits if the employer normally pays for those benefits.

The employer must pay for the continuation of employee’s group health benefits if the employer normally pays for those benefits.

For further information, access the state of California’s website at Family, Medical, and Pregnancy Disability Leave for Employees in California | DFEH

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