The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that gives certain employees the right to take unpaid leave from work in specific situations. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) expands on the FMLA, protecting the rights of workers across the state.
In certain situations, even if your employer does not offer paid leave as a benefit, you still have the right to take unpaid time off and certain, specific situations. When does the CFRA apply to your leave request?
When you add a new member to the family
Adoption, foster placement or birth can all require a massive adjustment by your family. When you give birth or add a family member through a legal rather than biological means, you have the right to take an unpaid leave of absence, usually for up to 12 weeks.
When an immediate family member requires medical support
One of the most common reasons people need to take an extended leave of absence is when someone they love has medical issues. If your child has to have surgery or your spouse is about to undergo chemotherapy, you may need to stay home and provide medical care. When an immediate family member has a serious health issue, you can take unpaid leave to provide them with support.
When you have medical issues that require a leave of absence
Do you need time off to recover because you just had a heart attack or to let your leg heal because you broke it in a car crash? The same unpaid leave that protects you when your family needs support will also help you when you are the one who requires medical care.
Knowing your employment rights under California law will make it much easier for you to advocate for yourself when you need to take a leave of absence.