What Is CFRA Leave?

What Is CFRA Leave?

The CFRA is the California Family Rights Act and it provides eligible employees with as much as 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for a serious health condition, the serious health condition of a family member, or to spend time with a new child.

All employers must supply their employees with information about CFRA, and post this information in a highly-visible place where employees typically gather.

CFRA Leave Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for CFRA leave you must have more than 12 months of service with an employer that has five or more full- or part-time employees, and you must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours for that employer in the 12-month period before your leave starts.

Your Entitlements

As an eligible employee you may take job-protected leave to bond with a new child by birth, adoption, or foster care placement—within a year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

An eligible employee may take job-protected leave to provide care for a child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling who has a serious health condition. CFRA leave can also be used for an employee’s own serious health condition.

As an eligible employee you may take job-protected leave for a qualifying emergency related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of your spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent who is in the U.S. Armed Forces.

You may take leave of up to 12 work weeks in a 12-month period, equivalent to your normal work schedule. The leave doesn’t have to be used in one continuous period of time.

Your Obligations

Your employer may require that you provide 30 days’ advance notice of your need for CFRA leave. If this isn’t feasible because of the unexpected nature of a qualifying event, you should give notice as soon as is possible. Your notice can be written or verbal, and should include the timing and expected duration of the leave. Your employer may not require you to disclose an underlying diagnosis, and they must respond to your leave request as soon as possible—and no later than five business days. 

Your employer may require written certification from the health-care provider of the individual with a serious health condition which states the reasons for the leave, and the estimated duration of the condition. The health-care provider, however, may not disclose the underlying diagnosis without the consent of the patient.

Your Salary and Benefits During CFRA Leave

Your employer isn’t required to pay you during CFRA leave, although some employers do. If you are compensated you will be paid for accrued paid time off that you choose to use, or are required to use.

If you’re taking leave to care for a seriously ill family member, or to bond with a new child, your employer may require you to use accrued vacation time, or other accumulated paid leave other than sick time—unless you’re receiving Paid Family Leave (PFL).

If the CFRA leave is for your own serious health condition, your employer may require you to use accrued vacation and sick time, unless you are receiving State Disability Insurance (SDI).

If your employer provides health benefits under a group plan, they must continue to make those benefits available to you during your leave. You are entitled to continue to accrue seniority, and to participate in other benefit plans.

Once You Return to Work

After you return from CFRA leave you are guaranteed to resume the same position, or a comparable one. If the same position is no longer available, your employer must offer you a position that’s similar in pay, schedule, shift, benefits, location, and working conditions—including privileges, prerequisites, and status—unless they can prove that no such comparable position exists.

You aren’t entitled to be reinstated in your position if you would have otherwise been laid off or terminated for reasons that are unrelated to your CFRA leave.

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