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How does the CFRA differ from the FMLA?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2022 | Employer Defense

Employees have certain rights, including the right to take time away from work due to certain medical or family reasons without fear of any type of retaliation. There are federal acts, such as the Family Medical Leave Act, that provide and protect these rights. However, there are also state-specific acts that apply to many California employees. One of these is the California Family Rights Act.

It is important for employers to understand and respect the rights of employees. In the event that an employee needs to take leave, an employer bears the responsibility of knowing leave requirements and other details. CFRA and FMLA leave may be used together in specific situations. It is also in the best interests of any business to understand how to protect their operations while still providing their employees their rightful leave.

The right to family and medical leave

The FMLA is a federal act that allows certain employees to take time off for specific medical and family reasons. This includes the birth of a child, a serious medical issue, a new foster placement or to care for an immediate family member with a serious medical need. The FMLA provides employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. An employer cannot retaliate against an employee for taking his or her rightful FMLA leave, including terminating, demoting or punishing the employee.

The CFRA also provides an employee with the right to take leave for various medical and family-related needs. This includes the birth of a child, a medical condition that impacts the employee or a family member with a serious medical need. The CFRA does not cover pregnancy-related needs unless they are complications. The CFRA only covers California employees, but there are situations in which an employee can take both CFRA and FMLA leave concurrently.

Protecting yourself

Taking medical leave is within the rights of an employee, but there are strict eligibility requirements regarding the type of leave one can take and how long an employee can be away. As a business owner, the protection of the interests of your business is tantamount, including the avoidance of litigation. One way to do this is to understand the FMLA and CFRA, as well as how they may apply in various situations that could arise. This can help you prevent complications and lower the chance of a dispute with an employee.