Differences Between CFRA and FMLA

When employees in San Diego require time off to address a medical problem or attend to a sick family member, they can apply for leave under either the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). These laws allow workers to take up to 12 weeks off work without fear of losing their job.

Despite their common goal, there are a few important differences between the CFRA and FMLA that employees and business owners should be aware of, such as:

Employer Eligibility

The FMLA applies to all organizations that employed 50 or more workers in 20 or more weeks in either the previous calendar year or the current calendar year.

The CFRA, on the other hand, covers businesses that employ five or more people in the state of California.

Covered Family Members

Under the FMLA, employees can go on leave to take care of the following family members:

  • Their spouse
  • Their child, and
  • Their parent

The CFRA is much more expansive. It allows workers to take time off to provide care for:

  • Their spouse
  • Their registered domestic partner
  • Their child
  • Their domestic partner’s child
  • Their parent
  • Their parent-in-law
  • Their grandparent
  • Their grandchild, and
  • Their sibling

Both the FMLA and CFRA recognize same-sex marriages.

Leave During Pregnancy

The CFRA states that employees can take leave from work to deal with complications that arise during the course of their pregnancy – as long as those problems can be classified as a “serious health condition.”

Under the FMLA, it is not necessary for a pregnant employee to suffer from complications to get time off work. Simply being pregnant qualifies them to take leave.

Treatment of Key Employees

The FMLA states that employers can refuse to reinstate certain key employees after they return from leave if doing so would cause “substantial and grievous economic injury” to the business.

The FMLA defines a “key employee” as an individual who is among the highest-paid 10 percent of all employees within 75 miles of their worksite.

The CFRA does not permit employers to deny reinstatement to key employees.

Disclosure of Medical Diagnoses

The FMLA grants employers the right to ask their employees for a copy of the medical diagnosis they are using to support their need for leave.

Under the CFRA, employers may not ask their employees for medical diagnoses. However, their workers may disclose their diagnosis if they wish.

Your Knowledgeable California Employment Lawyer

Do you need an experienced business attorney in San Diego to help you understand the impact the CFRA and FMLA could have on your organization? If so, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team here at the Semanchik Law Group. We understand the intricacies of employment law, and we would be more than happy to provide you with all the info you need to know!

To set up a consultation with a member of our team, all you need to do is fill in our online contact form or give us a call at (619) 535-1811. We look forward to working with you!