California’s Government Code provides that leave up to 12 weeks must be given if an employee satisfies just two conditions: 1) That the company has 50 employees within 75 miles and that the employee have worked 1,250 hours or more over the last 12 months. There are complicated rules determining when the 12 weeks in any one year is calculated. Some employers adopt a “rolling schedule” from the last leave, and others use the calendar year.
Your employer may ask you to certify your medical condition on a form the state provides. Its a good idea to know the contents of the form since you may not want to divulge personal health information simply to be able to use your leave rights. So here are the allowed questions:
1. Your name
2. Name of your dependent or other person you took care of.
3. Date the medical condition or treatment need started. (The form states in ALL BOLD that the underlying diagnosis is not be to disclosed without your consent). If you are seeking an extended leave or other accommodation, then you might want to give this consent, but that’s a subject best dealt with one on one with an attorney or health care provider).
4. Probable duration of the condition or need for treatment.
5. Serious health condition defined and you get several options to check. Serious Health means an illness, injury impairment or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient overnight hospital care (including hospice, residential medical care facility). You or your family member must be disabled for three consecutive calendar days. Pregnancy is considered a serious health condition under the Federal Family Medical Leave Act but not under the California law. As a California employee, you are entitled to the protections of both laws.
6. If leave is for you, then the form requires you state if you can do work of any kind. You also should review your work’s written description and advise the company if you can’t do one or more of the essential functions. This DOES NOT mean that under the right circumstances some other job or accommodation the employer can ignore alternative jobs for you.
7. If leave for a family member, will they require assistance for basic medical, hygiene, nutritional , safety or transportation needs? Are you the one who needs to render this assistance?
8. You will be asked if “intermittent” leave is needed for you or your family member. You then should indicate the estimated number of visits and duration of the treatment.
A large percentage of our cases state-wide involve termination,discrimination, harassment, for using FMLA or CFRA (California Family Rights Act). Please call me to discuss whether or not your case appears to violate these laws. Remember, laws designed to protect employees should be liberally construed (just like Labor Code laws) to protect your right to earn a living and at the same time take care of your own or loved ones’ serious medical issues.