FMLA Lawyers in San Diego Helping California Workers Assert Their Rights to Take an Extended Leave Without Losing Their Jobs
When an employee needs to take extended time off for medical reasons, to care for a newborn or adopted child, or to care for a close relative who is incapacitated, the FMLA provides certain protections, such as the ability to keep their jobs and certain benefits during the time they are away. Learn how FMLA works and what to do if your employer does not comply with the FMLA laws.
What Is FMLA?
FMLA stands for Family and Medical Leave Act. This law allows eligible employees to take extended unpaid leave without losing their jobs or employer-provided medical benefits. They must be provided the same group benefits as they would normally have if they had continued working their regular schedules and have the right to be reinstated at their current or equivalent positions at the end of their leave.
FMLA also applies to military families, who may take time off in connection with the deployment of certain military family members. In addition, FMLA allows employees to take time off work to care for a military family member who is severely injured or ill.
Who Is Eligible for FMLA?
In addition to public agencies (local, state, and Federal employers as well as local education agencies and schools), the FMLA applies to private sector employers that have at least 50 or more employees working at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. In order for an employee to be eligible for FMLA, they must have worked for a covered employer for at least 1250 hours in the past 12 months, and the 12 months are not required to be consecutive. Vacation paid time off and sick leave are not counted towards the 1250 hours requirement.
What Type of Situations Does FMLA Cover?
FMLA provides employees with a qualifying condition to take an unpaid, job-protected work leave that can last for up to 12 work weeks while maintaining their regular group medical benefits. Qualifying conditions include the birth or adoption of a child; the need to care for an immediate family member diagnosed with a serious illness or medical condition; the inability to work due to being diagnosed with a serious illness or medical condition; or certain circumstances related to having a son, daughter or parent on active duty.
FMLA also allows employees to take time off to care for an injured or sick servicemember who FMLA also covers. When applicable, the FMLA leave may be taken intermittently or enable the employee to work a reduced schedule for medically necessary reasons.
Will I Receive Benefits and Normal Wages During an FMLA Leave?
During an FMLA leave, covered employers are not required to pay you regular wages, but you may be allowed to use any sick time, paid time off, or vacation time you have accrued. If you have accrued paid leave time, the paid leave time may be used for an FMLA-covered condition, and FMLA will also protect the leave.
On the other hand, your employer is required to continue providing you with medical benefits without interruptions. You may keep receiving group benefits coverage if you continued working.
What Happens if My Employer Refuses My FMLA Request or Threatens to Fire Me?
Employees on an FMLA leave have job protection; that is, they have the right to return to the same position they held before going on leave or to be placed in an equivalent position. In addition, your employer may not interfere with you if you are engaging in legally protected activities, which include exercising your FMLA rights and filing a complaint.
Your employer may not deny you from taking an FMLA leave and may not take any adverse action against you, such as retaliation, discrimination, or any interference with your FMLA rights. If you believe your FMLA rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with your local Wage and Hour Division office of the U.S. Department of Labor. You should also consider seeking the advice of a seasoned San Diego FMLA lawyer like the ones at Khosroabadi & Hill.
At Khosroabadi & Hill, our employment attorneys have in-depth knowledge of FMLA and all other employment laws that may apply to your specific case and can give you the advice and legal services you need to protect your rights. Whether you or a loved one is expecting a child, has a medical problem, or needs to step away from work for a covered reason, you have the right to seek an FMLA unpaid leave without fearing any retaliation, such as discrimination or job loss. If you have communicated with your employer, followed all necessary procedures, and are still receiving unfair treatment or being denied your FMLA rights, reach out to Khosroabadi & Hill at 858-240-2093.