Family and Medical Leave Act

Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act, commonly known as FMLA, is the federal statute that mirrors California’s Family Rights Act, or CFRA.  FMLA applies to the entire United States.

FMLA allows you (if your employer has at least 50 employees) to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period in order to:

  1. be a caregiver for your spouse, parent, or child with a serious health condition;
  2. bond with a newborn, adopted child, or foster child;
  3. address and recover from your own serious health condition (including pregnancy);
  4. tend to military-related “qualifying exigencies,” such as spending time with an active-duty military family member on short-term leave from the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves.


While you are on FMLA, your employer must continue providing healthcare benefits. Then once your FMLA leave is over, you can return to your

  • same job or
  • a comparable position.

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Do I qualify for FMLA?

There are several requirements to qualify for FMLA. Those requirements are summarized in the table below:




Covered employers

50 or more employees

Your worksite

Has 50+ employees within 75 miles

Length of Employment

At least one year

Hours Worked

At least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding your leave

Covered family members

  • Spouse
  • Minor or dependent children
  • Parents

Purpose of leave

  • Birth of a child (“baby-bonding”)
  • Adoptive- or foster care child placement
  • Caring for covered family member with serious health condition
  • Your serious health condition (including pregnancy)
  • Qualifying military exigency

Length of leave

12 weeks (26 weeks for the purpose of caring for a military family member with a serious illness or injury)

Can my employer punish me for taking leave?

No. It is illegal for an employer under California state law to take adverse employment action against you because of your choice to make a leave request and take leave if you followed the law.

Adverse employment actions can include:


If you have faced an adverse employment action as a result of taking leave, please contact us immediately.