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Facts About Medical Leave in California

Written By: Mo Eldessouky Updated On: April 4, 2024 | Read Time: 3 Minutes

How Long Can I Be on Medical Leave in California?

The short answer is, it depends! If your Medical Leave fall unders one of the sections below, you may be limited to those dates. However, this does not mean you must be terminated if you exceed those days.

There are different sets of state and federal laws employers must abide by when addressing employee medical leave around the country and in California.

The first is the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. The Department of Labor enforces FMLA, and the absences it affords to covered employees throughout the United States.

The Act applies to employees of:

  • All public agencies
  • All private and public elementary and secondary schools
  • Companies with 50 or more employees

The employee must:

  • Work for a qualifying employer
  • Have accrued 1,250 hours of service
  • Be employed with the company for at least twelve months

The Act covers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:

  • Personal medical leave because of a serious health condition
  • Birth and care of the newborn child of the employed person
  • Placement of child for adoption or foster care with the employed person
  • Employed person caring for an immediate family member, including a parent, child, or spouse who has a serious health condition

Federally mandated job protection, the right to reinstatement in the same position you previously held, and applicable group health benefits must remain intact for the duration of up to 12 weeks when the absence occurs.

California Residents and the California Family Rights Act

California residents have a secondary protective Act that provides additional benefits under the California Family Rights Act or CFRA.

This Act allows employees with serious health conditions to receive extended leave from work once the 12 weeks of leave provided by the FMLA expires. However, the job protection the former Act provided will no longer exist, but employees will be protected from discrimination or retaliation for taking an extended leave.

PDL, or Pregnancy Disability Leave, is available for birth parents who work for a company with at least five employees and has a disability caused by the pregnancy. PDL allows up to four months of leave.

CFRA allows new parents 12 weeks of leave within one year of a child’s birth, adoption, or start of foster care, under a statute called “Bonding Leave” – which can be taken after PDL or the FMLA leave. The leave does not have to be taken at once, and can be broken into two-week increments, and must be taken within the first year.

Military Family Members and Medical Leave

Eligible employees may take up to 26 weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious illness or injury when the employee is their parent, spouse, child, or next of kin.

However, there are no set deadlines for how long an employee can take leave as a form of reasonable accommodation

If an employee is not ready to return to work because of a medical condition the employer MUST explore all reasonable options before choosing to terminate that employee. Our employment attorneys have successfully worked with employees all through out Orange County, Los Angeles, and Riverside County who have extended their medical leaves well over months, and sometimes of a year. The decision to TERMINATE an employee is a last resort, and often times companies fail to exhaust all options before reaching this point.

Know Your Rights: Contact Eldessouky Law Employment Attorney in Anaheim, California

If you believe you are being discriminated against for taking a medical leave of absence from work for any reason in Anaheim, California, contact our experienced disability discrimination attorney at Eldessouky Law at (714) 409-8991 to fully understand your rights. State and federal laws are in place to protect you, and we can ensure that your employer is not overlooking an important piece of legislation that covers your medical absences.

We are available for video conference calls

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