Sacramento FMLA Lawyer

California Workers Benefit from the Family and Medical Leave Act

In 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) went into effect. Upon being implemented, certain employees who worked for covered employers were able to take several weeks of unpaid leave to attend to personal or family illnesses or certain other circumstances without having to worry that their jobs were at risk. Upon the conclusion of the illness or situation, the employee would be able to return to work at his or her previous position and rate of pay.

FMLA is one of the most important federal employment laws in terms of the protections it offers to workers. However, not every employee is able to take advantage of FMLA.

Who Does FMLA Benefit?

Only certain employees who work for covered employers are able to take advantage of FMLA. Both of these groups are defined by FMLA.

In particular, a “covered employer” is one who:

  • Is in the private sector and has 50 or more workers employed for at least 20 work weeks out of the previous year;
  • Is a public agency or entity (no matter how few employees it has); or
  • A public or private grade or secondary school (no matter how few employees it has).

This, however, is only the first step in determining if you can take advantage of FMLA.

You yourself must also meet certain eligibility requirements, including:

  • Being employed by a qualifying employer;
  • Having worked for the employer for at least 12 months (the 12 months do not have to be continuous);
  • Having worked 1,250 hours or more during the 12 months immediately preceding your requested leave; and
  • Working for an employer who has at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius.

If you and your employer meet these requirements, you may be able to take advantage of the FMLA’s benefits and protections.

What Benefits Does the FMLA Provide?

The FMLA entitles you to take up to 12 weeks off during a 12-month period for certain enumerated reasons. The 12 weeks of leave is generally unpaid. In addition, you may have to use any paid sick or vacation leave you have accumulated with your employer to offset the leave requested under FLMA.

FLMA authorizes leave:

  • After the birth of your child or placement of a child with you for adoption or foster care;
  • To provide care to a family member – a spouse, a son or daughter, or a parent – who is suffering from a serious health condition;
  • To recover from a serious health condition you are presently suffering from and that interferes with your performance of your job’s essential duties;
  • To address any situation related to a family member’s call to active duty military service or who is presently on active duty military service.

You are also eligible to take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period to provide care for a family member who is a seriously injured military member.

How Do I Take Advantage of FMLA?

If you know you will be needing to take leave under FMLA, you should plan on giving your employer at least 30 days notice. If you have taken FMLA leave before, you may be required to specifically state that you are requesting FMLA leave and give the reason for the requested leave. If your situation is an emergency, you ought to give your employer as much advance notification as possible.

Contact the Law Offices of Gay Carroll-Haring at 916-443-3553 and learn what rights and remedies you may be able to take advantage of.