I'm San Francisco employment law attorney Stephen M. Murphy. I represent employees who have either been denied employee or family leave by their employer, or whose employers have retaliated against them for taking leave.
The following information is designed to answer some common questions people have about the Family and Medical Leave Act. I offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
What Is the Family and Medical Leave Act?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that provides broad protection for employees who need to take time off from work to:
- Recover from a serious health condition
- Care for a family member who has a serious health condition
The law allows eligible employees to take up 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period. The leave does not have to be consecutive.
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is a California law that provides similar protection.
Who Is Eligible for FMLA?
You are eligible to take FMLA leave if you have worked at least one year for a company that has at least 50 employees who work within a 75-mile radius. You must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the year before you took leave.
What Is a Serious Health Condition?
A serious health condition is defined very broadly under the law. You do not have to be disabled. The most common definitions are:
- Being an inpatient in a hospital for any condition
- An illness or injury for which you have received medical treatment and that incapacitates you for at least three consecutive days
When Can I Take Family Leave?
You are allowed to take family leave to take care of a family member who has a serious health condition. Family member is defined broadly and includes parents, spouses, and children including adopted children and stepchildren.
The law defines care as providing psychological comfort for your family member or meeting his or her physical or medical needs. New mothers and fathers can also take family leave to bond with a newly born or adopted child. However, you can't take family leave to move your family member to a new residence. If your family member dies, your eligibility for leave ends. FMLA does not provide bereavement leave.
What if My Employer Fires Me for Missing Work?
If your employer fires you or retaliates against you for taking leave, you can seek compensation for damages, such as past and future lost income, emotional distress, and punitive damages from your employer. If your employer takes the case to court and loses, it will also have to pay your lawyer's statutory fees.
Contact Our California FMLA Attorneys
For more information about the Family and Medical Leave Act or to our consult San Francisco Family and Medical Leave Act lawyers, call 415-986-1338, or fill out the contact form on this website.