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What California Employers Need to Know About the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA.jpgMany workers in California and across the United States have legal protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. This federal legislation, which was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton, was crafted to give certain workers the right to job-protected, unpaid leave, should a qualifying emergency situation arise. In this post, our experienced San Jose employment law attorneys explain some of the key points that covered Bay Area employers need to know about this law.

The FMLA Only Applies to Certain Firms

Your company will only be subject to the legal requirements of the FMLA if it meets the following criteria: Your firm has at least 50 total employees. Smaller firms are not covered by the FMLA. It must be noted that if a worker is employed for at least 20 weeks per year, then that person counts as an employee for the purposes of the FMLA. Further, the FMLA applies to all public organizations, regardless of their size.

The FMLA Only Applies to Certain Workers

No matter that size of their employer, a worker is not entitled to benefits under the FMLA until they have individually put in sufficient service time. In fact, under the FMLA guidelines, an individual must have been employed for at least 12 months and must have put in at least 1,250 hours of work during that initial 12-month period to be eligible for job-protected leave.

How Long Does Employee Leave Last?

Qualifying employees who work for a company covered by the FMLA are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Notably, this is the maximum amount of mandated unpaid leave available. An employee may not take this much leave by simply choice; they must have a qualifying family or medical emergency that lasts throughout the entire 12-week period to take that much job-protected unpaid leave.

What Happens When Employers Violate the FMLA?

If a California employer violates the requirements of the FMLA, that company could be hit with severe penalties. Indeed, employees who have had their right to leave interfered with can take legal action against their company. Beyond the significant legal hassle, the non-complying firm could be ordered to pay the worker substantial financial compensation, and the violating firm may even be subject to a fine from the Department of Labor (DOL). All employers need to stay in compliance with this law.

Contact Our Office Today

At Diemer, Whitman & Cardosi, LLP, our passionate San Jose business lawyers have extensive experience protecting the legal rights of California employers. If your company is facing an FMLA claim from an employee, please contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation review of your case. From our office in San Jose, our firm represents companies throughout the Bay Area, including in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Alameda, and Oakland.



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