Western Grower & Shipper 2018 05 MayJune

Avoiding Problems with Employee Leave of Absences

By Jon Alexander L eave laws are complex and employers face serious compliance challenges tracking the eligibility of their employees’ leave of absences. If an employer fails to comply with state or federal leave of absence laws or their own company policies, it can face potential liability. As an employer, it is important to minimize the effects an employee’s leave of absence may have on your business, while still providing the time away from work your employee may be entitled. With a fortress of leave laws protecting employees, employers should exercise caution to guard against

employers with the right to require certification of the need for FMLA leave in certain circumstances. The law protects employees from interference and retaliation for exercising or attempting to exercise their FMLA rights and includes certain employer recordkeeping requirements. The FMLA also provides for continuation of group health insurance coverage. Generally, an employer is covered under the FMLA if it has 50 or more employees on its payroll for 20 or more calendar workweeks (which do not need to be consecutive) in either the current or preceding calendar year.

An employee is generally eligible to take FMLA leave if the employee has worked for the employer for at least 12 months, worked

costly litigation should a dispute arise. Extended leaves may place a hardship on business operations, including the cost of replacement labor and lost productivity. The following is a summary of some applicable provisions, not

1,250 hours over the 12 month period prior to taking leave; and at least 50 employees work for the employer within a 75-mile radius. The state counterpart to

a complete recitation of all governing laws, and should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on specific facts that may apply to you. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that protects a covered employee’s job

the FMLA is the California Family Rights Act (CFRA),

which mirrors the federal law in most, but not all, respects. For example, pregnancy

as a serious health condition is covered under the FLMA, but not under CFRA. As a result, leave under CFRA runs consecutively with the Pregnancy Disability

while he or she takes an unpaid leave of absence for medical or

family obligations. The FMLA requires covered employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during leave and restore employees to their same or an equivalent job after leave. FMLA leave generally extends up to 12 weeks during an employer-specified 12-month period, but up to 26 weeks of leave are available to care for a military family member. It sets requirements for notice, by both the employee and the employer, and provides

Law (PDL), not concurrently. For purposes of this article, any reference to the FMLA would also apply to CFRA leave. While these laws and others (including, but not limited to, the Americans With Disabilities Act, workers compensation, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act) protect employee

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