California Workplace Leave Rights: FMLA and CFRA – Taking Leave From Work

What laws govern leave?

Numerous laws provide leave rights. In California, there are two key statutes that govern leave: the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”). Each provides job security to employees who are absent from work.


How much leave time may an employee take?

Eligible employees are entitled to 12 work weeks of leave in a 12 month “leave year.” A “leave year” is defined, at an employer’s election, by any 12 month period or from the time FMLA or CFRA leave is first taken by an employee.


Is the leave paid or unpaid?

FMLA and CFRA leave are unpaid unless available paid time off is taken or disability benefits are available. However, beginning on July 1, 2004, an employee who suffers wage loss for taking leave may be entitled to partial compensation under the California Family Temporary Disability Insurance (“FTDI”), regardless of whether the employee qualifies for FMLA or CFRA leave.


Which employees are eligible for leave under FMLA and CFRA?

To be eligible for leave, an employee must meet all of the following:

  • Employee must be employed by employer for at least 12 months (consecutive or non consecutive) as of the date leave commences, and
  • Employee must have worked at least 1250 hours during the 12 month period preceding commencement of the leave, and
  • On the date leave notice is given, employee must be employed at a work site where employer employs at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.