How do FMLA and CFRA differ?

On behalf of Sullivan Law Group APC posted in employee rights on Friday, April 6, 2018.

Your career should never get in the way of your health, yet that often happens. You may feel as though if you need to take time of work because of your health, your employer might view you as unreliable and this decide it does not need you. Fortunately, there are laws that prevent your employer from firing you for needing extended medical leave. These include both the federal Family & Medical Leave Act as well as the California Family Rights Acts. The question is how are these two laws different? 

On the surface, they are not. They both allow for an extended 12-week leave for the following situations: 

  • The birth of a baby
  • The adoption of a child or the placement of a child in foster care
  • The unexpected illness or injury suffered by you or one of your immediate family members

According to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, both FMLA and CFRA protect you from having your benefits reduced or eliminated while you are away from work, and both ensure that you can return to work in either the same job or one that is comparable. However, there are a couple of subtle differences between the two benefits. 

The most obvious is if you experience complications related to pregnancy. If those complications begin prior to the birth of your baby, your 12-week FMLA leave begins the moment you need to take time off to deal with them. CFRA leave only begins after your baby is born. You can also take CFRA leave in intermittent 2-week blocks. Intermittent FMLA leave must be approved by your employer. 

If you qualify for both FMLA and CFRA leave, they run concurrently. Thus, you may not be able to save the time off offered by one for later in the year.