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Northern California Employment Law Attorneys
Family Rights Act

California Family Rights Act (CFRA) Attorney

State Protections for Medical Conditions & Child Birth

California enacted the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to mirror the FMLA and provide state-level protections to workers requesting leave. Like the FMLA, the CFRA has certain restrictions on which employers are covered by the Act, which employees are eligible for leave, and what types of circumstances justify leave under CFRA.

If you are confused about how CFRA leave works or if your employer has denied your request for leave under CFRA, do not give up. Contact the Law Offices of Gay Carroll-Haring to discuss your rights, review your case, examine any potential violations, and formulate a strategy.

What Is CFRA Leave?

You can take CFRA leave for:

  • Childbirth
  • Adopting or fostering a child
  • Severe medical emergencies of spouses, parents, or children
  • Your own serious medical issues

The CFRA permits up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during a year. You don’t need to use all 12 weeks at once. You simply max out at 12 weeks every 12 months. The great thing about CFRA is that it is flexible and can be tacked on to other forms of leave. For instance, you can schedule paid sick leave, max out your accrued sick leave, and then take 12 weeks of unpaid CFRA leave. In addition, you can take pregnancy disability leave and then use 12 weeks of unpaid CFRA leave for childbirth and bonding.

You must notify your employer at least two weeks before taking CFRA leave.

Which Employers Are Covered by CFRA?

Companies that operate in the state of California and have at least 50 employees are subject to the requirements of the CFRA. These employees can be part-time, full-time, or a combination of both. CFRA does not differentiate between public, private, non-profit, or religious employers.

Which Employees Are Eligible for CFRA Leave?

If you work for an entity that qualifies under the aforementioned eligibility criteria, you may be able to take CFRA leave if:

  • You are an employee who works full or part-time (i.e., not an independent contractor);
  • You have been with the company for at least 12 months (though it doesn’t have to be continuous service);
  • You worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during that period; and
  • There are at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the office.

What Benefits Do I Receive under CFRA?

Your employer is not allowed to penalize you (e.g. demote you) for taking this unpaid leave. In addition, all of your employment benefits remain in effect during your absence. This includes: health insurance, life insurance, pension and retirement funds, unemployment benefits, and seniority time accrual. When you return from leave, your company is required to reinstate you. This means you are placed back in your same role or a comparable role.

Employer Violations of CFRA

Accommodations under CFRA are costly to businesses. In addition, the law is often not understood by employers. As such, violations commonly occur in California. Many employers flat out deny leave requested under CFRA, arguing it would cause a hardship to the functioning of the business because the employee is a necessity. Other employers grant CFRA leave requests but then immediately phase the employee out of the position. If your employer attempts to terminate you during your leave, it is required to provide you with notice and an opportunity to return before you are replaced.

If your employer is not accommodating your leave request or has failed to reinstate you, you can seek legal recourse to right the wrong and pursue justice against your employer. I have dedicated my career to helping clients like you solve their employment disputes. Call me today at (916) 443-3553 to schedule a consultation.

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