How much unpaid leave can a worker take under the CFRA?
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How much unpaid leave can a worker take under the CFRA?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Family And Medical Leave

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is a state law that expands protections codified at the federal level by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA was a groundbreaking piece of legislation when federal lawmakers first passed the Act. The FMLA helps guarantee the right to take unpaid leave in certain circumstances.

The CFRA expands on the FMLA in several ways. In California, smaller businesses are subject to CFRA leave requirements. A company only needs to have five employees for the law to apply. Additionally, the state allows people to choose specific family members other than parents, children and spouses who may require the support of a family member during a medical emergency.

Those in need of time off to undergo medical care, support a family member during their treatment or adjust to the addition of a new family member can ask for unpaid leave under the CFRA. How much time off can one worker request?

The CFRA allows for 12 weeks of leave annually

The maximum amount of leave available is not different in California than it is elsewhere in the United States. Under the CFRA, a worker can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for their own medical emergency or a medical scenario that affects their family, including the birth of a new child. They simply need proof that their employment history and personal circumstances meet the standards set by the law.

Workers can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the CFRA without worrying about penalties imposed by their employers. However, they are subject to a strict limit per year rather than per qualifying incident. If someone has back-to-back emergencies, they may not have any leave available if they used all of it during their first qualifying event. Therefore, employees applying for leave under the CFRA often need to consider their circumstances carefully.

Learning about one’s rights can make it less intimidating to request leave and easier for someone to speak up after a potential violation of their rights by an employer.