Family & Medical Leave of Absence

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) , the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and the California Parental Leave Act, provide unpaid leave for eligible employees who need time off work because of the birth of a child or a serious health condition.  Under the FMLA/CFRA laws, family or medical leaves of absence may be taken continuously or intermittently.  These laws provide eligible employees with leave from work for up to 12 weeks, with a guarantee of reinstatement to the same or a comparable job upon returning to work. 

Employee Eligibility

Effective January 1, 2021, the CFRA covers employers who directly employ five or more persons. This is a significant expansion of the CFRA, which previously applied only to employers of more than 50 persons.

With a few exceptions, an employee is eligible for family and medical leaves of absence of up to 12 weeks, with guaranteed reinstatement, if the employee:

  • Has been employed by the employer for at least 12 months as of the date that the leave commences;
  • Has been employed for at least 1,250 hours during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave; and,
  • Seeks leave for a covered reason.

Reason for Family and Medical Leave of Absence

If an employee meets these requirements, then he or she must be granted leave of absence for any of several reasons specified by the CFRA, such as when the employee is incapacitated due to a “serious health condition" that renders the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job. Other reasons requiring a leave of absence include the birth of a child or attending to the serious health condition of the employee's spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent.

An employee who is the spouse, child, parent, or next of kin of an ill or injured military service member may take up to 26 weeks of federal FMLA leave to care for the service member.

Remedies for violations of the FMLA/CFRA laws include:

  • Reinstatement
  • Back pay
  • Front pay
  • Damages for emotional stress
  • Punitive damages
  • Attorney fees & costs of litigation


Contact Our FMLA Lawyers

The knowledgeable FMLA lawyers at Kelley•Semmel, LLP can help you if you currently face legal issues regarding rights under the FMLA laws. Our FMLA lawyers will advise you of the rights provided by these laws, and will work hard to ensure that your rights are protected or, in the case of employers, that the company is compliant.