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Length of CFRA leave entitlement

Last updated: August 6, 2023

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is a vital piece of legislation that provides eligible employees with job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons. This critical law for protecting workers and allowing them to balance their professional and personal lives, ensuring they can care for themselves and their loved ones without jeopardizing their careers.

This article examines the elements that apply to the length of CFRA leave entitlements, such as employee eligibility, employer size, and more.

Eligibility Criteria For CFRA Leave

To qualify for CFRA leave entitlement, employees must meet the following criteria:

  • Be employed by a company with 5 or more employees

  • Have worked for the employer for a minimum of 12 months

  • Have completed at least 1,250 hours of work during the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of the leave

Length Of CFRA Leave Entitlement

Under the California Family Rights Act, the length of CFRA leave entitlement for eligible employees is a maximum of 12 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period for the following reasons:

  • The birth of a child and to bond with the newborn child within one year of birth

  • The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care and to bond with the newly placed child within one year of placement

  • To care for an immediate family member (spouse, registered domestic partner, child, or parent) with a serious health condition

  • The employee's own serious health condition that prevents them from performing the essential functions of their job

In addition, eligible employees can take up to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for a qualifying exigency related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of an employee's spouse, registered domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Calculating The 12-Month Period

There are several methods for determining the 12-month period for CFRA leave entitlement:

  • A Fixed 12-Month Period: such as a calendar year, fiscal year, or an employee's anniversary date

  • A Rolling 12-Month Period: measured backward from the date the employee begins their CFRA leave

  • A Rolling 12-Month Period: measured forward from the date the employee begins their CFRA leave

Employers must choose one method and apply it consistently for all employees.

Intermittent Leave Or Reduced Work Schedule

Under the California Family Rights Act, employees may take intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule when medically necessary due to their own serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Intermittent leave is not permitted for bonding with a newborn child or a child placed for adoption or foster care, except when agreed upon by the employer.

Coordination With Other Leaves

The CFRA leave entitlement runs concurrently with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when the reason for the leave is also covered under FMLA. However, CFRA leave is separate from Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), allowing employees to take additional job-protected leave after the birth of a child if they were on PDL.

Employee Benefits During CFRA Leave

While on CFRA leave, employees are entitled to maintain their health insurance coverage under the same terms as if they were actively working. Employers must continue to pay their portion of the premiums, and employees are responsible for paying their share.

Upon return from CFRA leave, employees must be reinstated to their original position or an equivalent position with the same pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Notice And Certification Requirements

Employees are required to provide their employer with at least 30 days' advance notice for foreseeable events, such as the birth of a child or a planned medical treatment. If 30 days' notice is not practicable, employees must provide notice as soon as possible.

Employers may request medical certification to support a request for CFRA leave due to a serious health condition, either for the employee or their family member. The certification should include the following information:

  • The date on which the serious health condition began

  • The probable duration of the condition

  • The appropriate medical facts within the healthcare provider's knowledge

  • A statement that the employee is unable to perform their job functions or that the employee is needed to care for a family member with a serious health condition

Employee's Rights And Responsibilities

Employees have certain rights and responsibilities under the California Family Rights Act:

  • They have the right to job-protected leave for qualifying reasons, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

  • They must provide timely notice and, if required, medical certification to their employer.

  • They must cooperate with their employer in scheduling planned medical treatments to minimize disruption to the workplace.

  • They have the responsibility to pay their share of health insurance premiums while on leave.

Employer's Rights And Responsibilities

Employers also have specific rights and responsibilities under the CFRA:

  • They must inform employees of their rights and responsibilities under the CFRA by posting notices in conspicuous places and including information in employee handbooks.

  • They must maintain the confidentiality of all medical information related to the employee or their family members.

  • They can request medical certification from the employee's healthcare provider to validate the need for CFRA leave.

  • They must reinstate the employee to their original position or an equivalent position upon return from leave.

Penalties For Non-Compliance

Employers who fail to comply with the California Family Rights Act can face legal consequences, including:

  • Reinstatement of the employee to their original or equivalent position

  • Payment of lost wages and benefits

  • Payment of attorney's fees and other legal costs

  • Possible additional damages for emotional distress or punitive damages

Understanding CFRA Leave Entitlements And Eligibility Criteria

The Length of CFRA Leave Entitlement is an essential aspect of the law that empowers eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks of job-protected leave within a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons. Understanding the eligibility criteria, leave entitlements, and the rights and responsibilities of both employees and employers are crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and ensuring compliance with the law.

If you're a state or local government employee looking to learn more about ADA compliance, visit DisabilityHelp.org to access our comprehensive guide on ADA compliance for state and local government programs and services.

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Zoey Appleton
Zoey has worked with Cheri for years and has been creating the best articles not only for Disability Help but for our readers. Her job hits close to home for she has a brother with special needs. She hopes to see science and technology pave the way for a better life, with Disability Help to cover it and share it with those that need it.
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