As surprising as it seems, not all companies treat their workers alike. Some companies employ mostly part-time workers and therefore pay no benefits to them. Other companies try to find ways to declare their workers are not employees but contractors. These variances may make you wonder if the rules and safeguards that apply to other California workers apply to you as well.
In particular, you may ask, does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that covers so many workers in California also apply to me? Do I have to work at a large company before I get those privileges? Can I seek recourse if I don’t receive time off for pregnancy or illness? What if I get fired or if my job is dramatically altered?
Does California have a law that grants family and medical leave?
California has its own state law that protects workers called the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). In 2021, the state legislature greatly enhanced its protections so the rights that previously only applied to companies with 50 employees now apply to all companies with as many as five employees. There are certain other qualifications employees must meet to qualify for CFRA coverage.
What rights do I have under the CFRA act?
The broad protections of the CFRA include 12 weeks a year of unpaid leave with job protection for employees. Employers must grant leave for a number of conditions including pregnancy, serious illness and bonding with new family members.
While this new California law is not perfect, it is a step in the right direction that many other states will eventually follow.