If you need to take time off of work to attend to a medical issue, you might be overwhelmed with trying to understand all of the rules and regulations surrounding this. If you want to better understand your rights or need assistance in a workplace dispute about medical leave, get in contact with a Los Angeles medical leave lawyer.
Our team of dedicated attorneys at California Employment Counsel, APC, can help you with all of your questions and concerns about medical leave. If you find yourself in the frustrating situation of getting denied for leave, are confused about how to prove that you are eligible, or are facing stressful retaliation because of your leave, we want to help.
What Is Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)?
The Family and Medical Leave ACT states that certain employers must provide their employees with time off for reasons relating to their family or health. You qualify for the FMLA leave if:
You have worked for your employer for at least one year
You have worked for your employer for at least 1,250 hours in the past year
Your employer has at least 50 employees and is covered by the FMLA
Given the above criteria, it is important to note that only workers who qualify as employees of the company are covered, and this does not include people who are independent contractors. If you are covered under the FMLA, you are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period during which your job will be protected.
If you take more than 12 weeks during a calendar year, you are not necessarily protected from getting terminated. To better understand your rights and if your unique situation qualifies you to receive accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you should consult with a knowledgeable medical leave attorney.
What Qualifies for Medical and Family Leave in California?
There are all sorts of family and medical emergencies that justify taking time off of work. It is important to do your research on what qualifies and what does not so that you can smoothly take your leave without any resistance from your employer.
Sick Leave: If you fall unexpectedly ill and cannot work while you are getting better, you are eligible to take time off of work to heal. You generally only take medical leave under FMLA if you are suffering from a serious health condition that requires a substantial amount of time to heal from.
Injury: If you are suddenly injured, you might feel like your world is spinning out of control. You have a right to take time off work and recover from your injury without having to worry about if you will lose your job because of what happened. You should note, however, that disability leave is separate from short-term family and medical leave. If you have a long-term disability, you should look into your state’s disability insurance programs.
Mental Health Leave: If you need to take time to address mental health struggles, you are allowed to use your medical leave under the FMLA to care for that. For instance, if you are going to receive mental health treatment in an in-patient mental health facility in which you stay overnight, you could utilize your medical leave for this treatment.
Pregnancy Complications: If you are an expectant mother and experience complications during your pregnancy, you are allowed to take time off of work to resolve them. These are context-specific situations, and you should consult with your doctor and your medical leave attorney to determine your ideal path forward to keep you and your baby healthy and your job safe.
Maternity Leave: When you give birth to a child, you are going through a long adjustment period. You deserve to spend quality time with your newborn and to rest and recover from the experience that your body has just gone through. You are entitled to a designated period of leave after you give birth so you can adjust to your new life and bond with your child.
Paternity Leave: If you are the father of a newborn child, then you are allowed to take family leave to care for your child. It is important to note that you do not have to be married to the mother of your child to receive time off for paternity leave. Your status is solely based on your role as a biological or adoptive parent to your new child.
Adopting or Fostering a Child: If you are adopting a child or fostering a child, you are legally entitled to take time off of work to welcome that child into your home and bond with that child, the same way you would with a child you gave birth to.
Caring For a Family Member: If a member of your family, like your child, parent, or spouse, is seriously ill or injured, you are allowed to take your leave to care for them. You should be aware, however, that this is not allowed under FMLA if the person is your domestic partner.
What Is the California Family Rights Act?
The FMLA is a federal-level act that affects all people who live and work in the United States. California has a similar, state-level act called the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The CFRA only applies to you and your family if you reside in the state of California.
Just like you get under the FMLA, the CFRA offers you 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period of time. However, there are some key differences between the CFRA and the FMLA that you should take note of if you are trying to make a decision about which one to use:
Even though CFRA is unpaid, if you are on it, you might be eligible to receive partial wage replacement through California’s Paid Family Leave (PLL) program.
The CFRA applies to private employers with five or more employees, while the FMLA only applies if your employer has 50 or more employees.
If you are pregnant, you can use the FMLA to take leave, but under the CFRA, you are only covered if you are struggling with complications from pregnancy.
Under FMLA, your domestic partner is typically not covered as a family member unless you are legally married. However, under CFRA, you are able to take leave to care for your registered domestic partner or the child of your registered domestic partner.
You will need to provide less documentation for CFRA than for FMLA.
How Do I Get Medical Leave in Los Angeles?
If you want to get medical leave and you live in Los Angeles, California, both the FMLA and the CFRA pertain to you. The one that you choose to use to take your leave will depend on the characteristics of your situation.
First, you will need to confirm that your situation qualifies you to take medical or family leave. For instance, you will need to make sure that your employer is large enough and that the reason for your leave is one that the FMLA or the CFRA covers. If you are unsure about whether or not you have the legal right to take leave or you want personalized assistance with every step of the process, contact your employment attorney.
Once you confirm which ones you are eligible for, you should confirm which ones you want to use. If you qualify for both, you are able to use both, and this can provide you with additional job protection because it keeps your job safe at both the state and federal levels. After choosing either FMLA, CFRA, or both, you will need to take the following steps:
Let Your Employer Know You Are Taking Leave: You need to alert your employer of what you are doing as soon as possible. This gives them the chance to provide you with any information you need or forms that you need to fill out before you leave.
Complete Your Employers’ Documents: In some cases, your employer might request information from you, like a note from your healthcare provider. They might also want you to fill out paperwork in which you explain your situation so they can verify that you are eligible for leave.
Maintaining Communication During Leave: It is important that you keep in contact with your employer when you are on leave and that you let them know as soon as you are ready to come back to work.
Why Do You Need a Medical Leave Attorney?
While the process of securing your medical or family leave might seem straightforward, it is unfortunately not always a simple path. You should reach out to a medical leave attorney for help with any of the following situations:
Determining if You Are Eligible: Before you approach your employer about your medical or family leave, you should make sure that you are legally allowed to take it. Your medical leave attorney can help you sort through all of the intricate rules and regulations at both the federal and state levels to help determine with certainty if your situation makes you eligible to take time off.
Responding to a Denial of Your Leave Request: If you tell your employer that you are going to take family or medical leave and they deny your request, you should get in touch with a medical leave lawyer to review your situation. Your attorney can take a close look at what you requested and why your request was denied. If you were wrongfully denied, your lawyer will be able to determine what legal steps you can take to make sure you get the time off that you are entitled to.
Addressing Discrimination or Retaliation: In the event that you face discrimination or retaliation from your employer after taking leave, you might be confused and stressed. The last thing you need when already having to take leave for a stressful situation is negative treatment from your employer. If you get fired for seeking your leave, you should not waste any time reaching out to a qualified legal professional for guidance on how to proceed.
Assisting You After Wrongful Termination: If your employer fires you after you seek out family or medical leave or while you are on leave attending to serious personal matters, this is against the law. Employment attorneys can help you defend yourself against such harsh actions and potentially help you negotiate with your employer, seek reinstatement, or pursue compensation.
Navigating Wage Replacement: If you live in California, you are eligible to seek paid leave through the CFRA. This can be a complicated process, and you should not have to try and sort through all of the steps alone. Your medical leave attorney can help you with all of the necessary steps involved in pursuing payment during your leave.
How Much Does a Medical Leave Lawyer Cost in CA?
The fees that medical leave lawyers in Los Angeles charge you will depend on a lot of different factors. For example, the cost will depend on your lawyer’s experience, success rate, and reputation, as well as the amount of work they are going to have to put in for your specific case. For example, having to put time and energy into crafting a strong defense for a trial will likely run your bill up higher than helping you swiftly resolve a small dispute.
Regardless of what you need legal services for, the more serious it is, the more likely you will want a qualified legal professional with a proven record of excellence in this field to be the one assisting you. What you pay now might pale in comparison to the compensation you could walk away with.
A Caring Medical Leave Lawyer
At California Employment Counsel, APC, we care about your medical and personal needs. We can carefully listen to what you are going through and share strategic, personalized legal advice with you. Our priority is always your well-being, and you can rest assured that our team will work their very hardest to get you what you deserve.
We offer no-pressure consultations. If you are ready to get informed legal guidance about your situation, please do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced team today.
Why Speak Up In California
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rights as an employee