The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) require a covered employer to permit an eligible employee to take up to 12 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period for certain specific purposes. With certain exceptions, leave granted under CFRA and FMLA apply simultaneously, with leave that is common to both running concurrently. Thus, an employee who takes leave under CFRA and FMLA is only entitled to 12 workweeks of leave in total. Moreover, if the employer permits, an employee may utilize other types of paid leave (i.e., sick leave, vacation) during their CFRA and FMLA leave. In such cases, however, the paid and unpaid leave continue to run concurrently.
It is also important to remember that the employer must notify the employee in writing of their eligibility for CFRA and FMLA leave, once an employee has requested leave. Such notice should be provided within five days of the date the employer received notice of the leave request, absent extenuating circumstances. This written notice should also notify the employee of their eligibility for leave. In the event the employee is not eligible for CFRA and FMLA leave, the notice must include at least one reason why the employee is ineligible for leave. Failure to provide any required notice can result in a court awarding damages such as lost wages and attorney’s fees, or even equitable relief, such as promotion or reinstatement. It can also result in the employer waiving its right to challenge an employee’s request for leave.
For more information regarding CFRA, FMLA, or other types of employee leaves, please contact our office.
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