Medical Leave of Absence


medical leave of absence- image 1aIf you have been ill and finding it difficult to maintain your regular work schedule, you may consider taking medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or California Family Rights Act (CFRA). CRFA is a California act which is very similar to the federal FMLA. To qualify for these forms of leave, you must work for a covered employer. The FMLA applies to private sector employers with 50 or more employees, while CFRA applies to private-sector employers with five or more employees. Both laws apply to public agencies, including local, State, and Federal employers, and local education agencies, regardless of the number of employees. 

 To be eligible for either form of leave, you must have been employed by a covered employer for at least 12 months and must have worked for 1,250 hours in the 12 months before starting leave. Additionally, to use FMLA leave, you must work at a worksite where 50 or more employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles of that worksite. 

 Under these acts, you may be eligible for twelve weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave if you are unable to perform the essential functions of your job because of your medical condition. Also, your employer CANNOT cancel your group health insurance during FMLA or CFRA leave. 

 When requesting medical leave, it is a good idea to have your employer guarantee that your job is protected in writing.

 

Returning to work after medical leave

After taking leave under the FMLA or CFRA, employees are guaranteed the same or a comparable position upon their return to work. If the same position is no longer available, an employer must offer a position comparable in pay, benefits, location, schedule, and working conditions, including privileges, fringe benefits and status, unless the employer can show no comparable position exists.

Fitness for Duty Certification

An employer CAN require a certification from your medical provider that states you are ready to return to work. But the employer cannot single you out with this request and treat you any differently than other employees — the policy must be uniformly applied to all employees. They must have had a certification policy in place, and they must have followed this policy when other employees returned from medical leave. If any of these conditions is not satisfied, an employer cannot require a certification.

Refusal to Reinstate

There are a few, limited situations in which an employer does not have to reinstate an employee. These situations include:

  • An employee would have lost their job regardless of taking leave (such as when their department is eliminated).
  • An employee cannot perform the essential functions of their job any longer (however, if this is the case, they may be able to request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act).

THE CONTENT FOUND HERE WAS CURRENT AT THE TIME OF WRITING (January 2021). LAWS AND LEGAL PROCEDURES ARE SUBJECT TO FREQUENT CHANGE AND DIFFERING INTERPRETATIONS. YOU SHOULD SEEK THE COUNSEL OF AN ATTORNEY TO RECEIVE LEGAL ADVICE SPECIFIC TO YOUR SITUATION.


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