The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows workers in certain situations to take unpaid leave. California expanded on that right by passing the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Like the FMLA, the CFRA provides rules for employees who need to take an extended leave of absence from work.
Businesses need to have dozens of workers for the FMLA to apply. Those who work for smaller companies often have few options if they have some kind of medical emergency or family situation. The CFRA provides more comprehensive protection because it applies to those working for companies with five or more employees.
More family relationships qualify
The FMLA is actually quite restrictive regarding what relationships qualify someone for leave. They can only take time off to care for parents, children or spouses. The CFRA allows people to take unpaid leave to care for adult children, children of domestic partners, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings. The law also allows people to designate a more distant relative, like a cousin or a niece, who requires care when they request leave.
The law protects workers from retaliation
Not only do employers need to allow workers to take leave, but they must allow them to return to work without penalizing them for requiring a leave of absence. Workers who face inappropriate penalties or whose employers refuse to let them take leave can potentially take legal action to make use of their rights and push their employer into compliance with state laws.
Learning more about employee rights in California can help people make use of the rules in place for their protection.