If you work in California and need to take leave from work for a serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition, you may be eligible for California Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits. Here’s how you can request California FMLA leave:
Step 1: Determine if you’re eligible
Before requesting FMLA leave, make sure you’re eligible. To be eligible, you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to your request for leave. Additionally, your employer must have at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
Step 2: Give advance notice
When requesting FMLA leave, it’s important to give your employer as much notice as possible. If your need for leave is foreseeable, you should provide your employer with at least 30 days’ notice. If your need for leave is not foreseeable, you should provide notice as soon as possible.
Step 3: Request the appropriate forms
Your employer may have specific forms for requesting FMLA leave. Request the appropriate forms from your employer’s human resources department. If your employer doesn’t have specific forms, you can use the Department of Labor’s FMLA forms.
Step 4: Fill out the forms
When filling out the FMLA forms, be sure to provide accurate and complete information about your need for leave. Include information about your health condition or the health condition of your family member, the expected duration of your absence from work, and any other relevant details.
Step 5: Submit the forms
Once you’ve filled out the forms, submit them to your employer’s human resources department. Make sure to keep a copy of the forms for your own records.
Step 6: Follow up
After submitting your FMLA request, follow up with your employer to ensure that your request is being processed. Your employer should notify you within five business days whether your request has been approved or denied.
Step 7: Understand your rights and responsibilities
It’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities when taking FMLA leave. Under California law, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for a serious health condition, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or for the birth or adoption of a child. If you’re taking FMLA leave for your own health condition, you may need to provide medical certification from a healthcare provider.
While on FMLA leave, your employer must maintain your health insurance coverage, and you have the right to be reinstated to your same or an equivalent position when you return to work. However, your employer is not required to pay you while you’re on FMLA leave.
Step 8: Communicate with your employer
During your FMLA leave, it’s important to communicate with your employer about your status and return to work plans. Make sure to notify your employer as soon as possible if your expected return date changes, and provide any necessary updates about your health condition or caregiving responsibilities.
Step 9: Return to work
When your FMLA leave is over, you have the right to return to your same or an equivalent position. If you’re unable to return to work due to your health condition, you may be eligible for additional leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
Requesting California FMLA leave can be a straightforward process if you follow these steps and understand your rights and responsibilities. Remember to communicate with your employer throughout the process and be aware of your options if you’re unable to return to work after your leave is over. By doing so, you can ensure that you’re able to take the time you need to care for yourself or your loved ones while protecting your job and benefits.
As an employment law firm, we can assist with California FMLA leave cases in several ways:
- Consultation: We can provide a consultation to help you understand your rights under the FMLA, evaluate your eligibility for leave, and provide guidance on how to request leave from your employer.
- Assistance with FMLA paperwork: We can help you fill out and submit the necessary FMLA paperwork to your employer, ensuring that the forms are accurate and complete.
- Negotiation: If your employer denies your FMLA request or retaliates against you for taking leave, we can negotiate with your employer to reach a resolution and protect your rights.
- Representation: If necessary, we can represent you in court or in administrative proceedings to enforce your FMLA rights and seek damages for any harm you suffered as a result of your employer’s violation of the law.
- Compliance review: We can also help employers ensure that they are in compliance with FMLA requirements, and provide guidance on how to properly respond to employee requests for FMLA leave.
As an employment law firm, we can provide a wide range of legal services to assist employees in requesting California FMLA leave, protecting their rights, and seeking remedies if their rights are violated.