Life circumstances may lead to your needing to take extended time off work. For example, you welcome a new baby, need surgery, or must care for an elderly or sick parent. When your request to take leave from your job for these family matters is denied, your employer may be breaking federal and state laws if you are eligible for leave and your employer is covered. A knowledgeable workplace attorney could help protect your rights.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) grant unpaid leave to employees who require continuing medical care, are pregnant or a new parent, or are experiencing family emergencies. Where the FMLA and CFRA differ, the more generous conditions supersede the less generous ones. When your employer has turned down your request for family leave or refuses to hold your job open, a Sacramento FMLA lawyer with Erkel Law, P.C. can review your situation and guide your next move.

Qualifying for FMLA Coverage

Both employees and employers must meet established criteria to qualify for unpaid leave associated with FMLA coverage. The rules are:

  • The employer is a private company with at least 50 employees who work at the main location or within 75 miles of it
  • Public and private elementary and secondary schools must offer FMLA leave
  • All government agencies must offer FMLA leave
  • Employees must be employed for at least 12 months and must work a minimum of 1,250 hours in that 12 months to qualify for leave

Employers have five days after a request to notify an employee that they qualify for FMLA leave unless the circumstances are unusual. An employer who determines an employee is ineligible must give at least one reason why they do not qualify. An FMLA attorney in Sacramento could verify whether the reason is valid.

Employers Must Reinstate Employees After FMLA Leave

Employers are also expected to reinstate employees to the same job they took leave from or one that is equivalent. For instance, a fourth-grade teacher could be offered a position in a third-grade classroom, but a job as the principal’s secretary is not equivalent.

An equivalent position is almost identical regarding duties, responsibilities, working conditions, and skills. Employers must also offer identical or almost the same pay and benefits. Navigating federal and state employment laws can be challenging, especially if an employer is skilled at getting around them. When they try, an FMLA lawyer in Sacramento could get employers to comply with the law.

What Type of Leave is Covered Under the FMLA?

Qualifying employees working for covered companies are permitted to take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave for medical and family reasons. These include time off for mothers and fathers after birth to bond with the baby. Fathers are entitled to FMLA leave to care for an expectant mother or bond with the new baby.

Leave is also available to care for a foster or adopted child to help them acclimate, and to care for a spouse, parent, or child suffering from a health condition. Employees who cannot perform their jobs due to a physical or cognitive health issue can also request FMLA leave, which also extends to any crisis a spouse, child, or spouse of the employee endures due to military service, with leave extended to 26 weeks if the service person is seriously injured or ill.

Call an FMLA Attorney in Sacramento When You Are Denied Leave

Many people will need to take leave from work at some point due to an emergency or a change in family status. Fortunately, the Family and Medical Leave Act and California’s Family Rights Act permit most employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave and find their job waiting when they return to work.

Even when you qualify for FMLA leave, your employer may try to deny your request, refuse to hold your job, or retaliate when you return to work.

Contact Erkel Law, P.C. when you need help giving an FMLA notice to your employer, combatting a denial, or getting your job back. A Sacramento FMLA lawyer helps you balance work and family.

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