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FMLA & PFL Facts for Caregivers

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives employees across the United States the right to take unpaid medical leave for various emergencies and medical situations. In general, workers are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for reasons covered under the law. Paid Family Leave (PFL) in California provides benefits to employees who need time off to care for various individuals, including seriously ill members of the employee’s family.

FMLA Eligibility

The FMLA applies to any employer that has had at least 50 employees for 20 weeks or more during the current or previous year. An employee is only eligible for FMLA if they have worked for the company at least a year, worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year with the company, and currently work at a location with 50 employees within a 75-mile radius of their location.

What Does FMLA Leave Cover?

In order to be eligible for the 12 weeks of unpaid leave time under the FMLA as well as the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), workers must need time off for the following:

  • Recovery after a serious health condition that requires additional treatment or inpatient care.
  • For the serious health condition of a spouse, child, or parent.
  • For the birth or bonding of a child or the adoption of a child by the employee.

About California’s Paid Family Leave

Under the FLMA, employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. However, some employees in California are eligible for paid leave when they need to care for someone in their family. PFL In California provides benefits to employees who need to take time off to:

  • Care for a seriously ill child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, parent-in-law, or domestic partner.
  • Bond with a new child entering the family through birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

Under California PFL, an employee can receive approximately 60 to 70% of the wages they earned 5 to 18 months before their claims start date for up to eight weeks during a 12-month period.

Individuals can use the calculator provided by the Employment Development Department to get an estimate about how much money they may be entitled to for paid family leave.

Talking to Your Employer About Taking Time Off to Care for an Elderly Family Member

If you or somebody you care about is considering taking time off of work to care for an elderly family member, you may be entitled to various types of paid or unpaid leave from your job. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against any worker requesting time off through the FMLA or the CFRA. This means that an employer cannot terminate the employee solely because they asked for time off. They also cannot retaliate in other ways, including demotion, pay decrease, etc.

If you need time off to care for an elderly family member, both you and your employer need to comply with certain requirements. For example, you should provide your employer with 30-days advance notice if you expect to use family medical leave in the near future. However, not all emergency care situations are known ahead of time. If you are responding to an emergency situation, let your employer know as soon as possible.