Sometimes, life events, such as an injury or the need to take care of an immediate family member, may force full-time employees in California to take an extended amount of time off from work. Fortunately, options are available to qualified employees that could protect their employment during such events. In 1993, the federal government enacted the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This law allows eligible and qualified employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave.
There are four basic scenarios that would qualify an employee for FMLA leave. The most common scenario is when an employee is seriously injured or has a health condition that prevents the worker from being able to perform essential job duties. Other FMLA-qualifying events include being called to active military duty, the birth or placement of a child and the need to care for a spouse or immediate family member.
However, not every employee is eligible for FMLA leave. First, eligibility depends on a worker being employed by an FMLA-covered employer. FMLA-covered employers include public agencies and schools. Private-sector entities are also covered if they employ 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks during the previous or current calendar year. Also, employees are required to work at least 12 months for an employer before they can utilize FMLA leave.
Fortunately, employees in the United States have rights and are protected from unfair treatment by a number of laws. Workers in California who have questions regarding Family and Medical Leave may want to consider consulting a legal representative, particularly since this state has its own version of the FMLA that offers additional benefits to qualified employees. An experienced employment law attorney can answer questions and provide much-needed guidance.