• Kevin Salute

Can I Take A Family Leave To Take Care of A Sick Relative?

The answer to that question depends on a number of different factors.

CFRA - The California Family Rights Act (or "the CFRA" for short) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 unpaid workweeks in a 12 month period for family care and medical leave to care for their children, parents, or spouses, or to recover from their own serious health condition.

Job Security - Generally speaking, if you take a leave of absence under CFRA, you are entitled to your job back when you return. An employee who takes CFRA leave is guaranteed that taking such leave will no result in a loss of job security or other adverse employment actions. Upon an employee's timely return from CFRA leave, an employer must generally restore the employee to the same or a comparable position. The exception to this general rule is that an employer is not required to reinstate an employee who cannot perform her job duties after the expiration of a protected medical leave.

No Advance Notice Required - Generally, the employee must provide reasonable notice to the employer of the need for a leave of absence including its expected timing and length. Of course, there are times when such notice is not possible and, in such a case, the employee may have to show the circumstances surrounding the event and why it was not reasonably possible to give advance notice. One example of this is where there is a sudden medical event or an emergency.

Eligibility For a CFRA Leave - To be eligible for a CFRA leave, an employee must be able to show that all of the following have been met: (1) That the employer employed 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the employee's workplace; (2) That at the time that the employee requested the leave or the when the leave began, he/she had more than 12 months of service with the employer and had worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer during the prior 12 months; and (3) That the employee had not previously taken more than 12 weeks of family leave in the 12 month period at the time that the employee started or requested the leave.

Medical Certification May Be Required - The employer can request a medical certification and can deny the leave if it is not provided in a reasonably timely manner.

Prohibition Against Retaliation - The CFRA also prohibits retaliation by employers because the employee requested a leave or because the employee took a leave of absence. Retaliation can be in the form of termination, demotion, unfavorable reviews, write ups, and other similar harassment.

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