Leaves of Absence

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Leaves of Absence

Before you take a leave of absence, it is important to consult with an employment lawyer about your legal rights. Your lawyer will help you take the leave you are entitled to. Medical leave must be documented appropriately, and you may also need to document your right to paid leave under your employment contract or union agreement. Our experienced employment lawyers know how to handle all types of leaves of absence cases to ensure your legal rights are protected before, during, and after your absence from work. 

Medical Leave Under the FMLA or CFRA

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows eligible employees to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave per year without losing their jobs to attend to a serious health condition. The condition can be their own or a family member’s. The California Family Rights Act also provides up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave for serious health conditions. Workers here in California are entitled to take leave under both laws, but this time cannot be “stacked.” The total leave of absence must not exceed twelve weeks in a calendar year.  

Notice that the FMLA and CFRA allow for unpaid leave. These laws do not guarantee that employees will be paid – only that they will not lose their employment for taking protected medical leave. You may use PTO if you have accrued enough to cover your leave. PTO is not, however, guaranteed by law. Your employer may also have rules about how you may use your PTO. It might have to be scheduled in advance, or there could be limits on how much is used at a time. Your employment lawyer can address these issues directly with your employer if necessary. 

Contractual Leave Under an Employment Contract Or a Union Agreement

Leaves of absence can also be guaranteed by a contract. If you have entered into a written employment contract, or you are part of a union that has entered into a labor contract, these documents might also protect your right to take a leave of absence. Because these are contractual rights, you will need to have your own employment lawyer look over the specific language used in the contract. These provisions may allow for paid or unpaid leave. They may set a time limit or specify the manner in which you must request your leave of absence. 

Remember that your employer is likely to interpret any contract in its own favor. For this reason, it is important to get your own legal advice from an employment attorney who is on your side. 

The Right Employment Lawyers For All California Work Leave Cases

Your right to take a leave of absence can be guaranteed by status or by contract. The experienced employment lawyers at Olivier & Schreiber LLP fight hard to protect your legal right to take a leave of absence from your job. Call (415) 484-0980 or visit our website to schedule your consultation today. The sooner you have an experienced attorney on your side, the better your legal rights will be protected. 


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