Q&A with Marc McCulloch
Interviewer: What is FMLA?
Marc McCulloch: FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act (29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.), is a federal law. There is a California counterpart to that called the California Family Rights Act (CFRA, California Government Code Section 12945.2). Many times you will see that California has an overlapping law to a federal law that is stronger (or weaker) in one or more aspects. Both laws apply concurrently and the employee can invoke the strongest provisions of each. When you are talking about the FMLA, you should include the CFRA. Essentially, these are laws that require an employer who employs 50 or more employees to allow an employee a total of twelve weeks during a twelve month period for unpaid leave for an illness or medical condition affecting themselves or their family member. It must be a serious health condition. California also has something called the Paid Family Leave (PFL) or Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI) program (California Unemployment Insurance Code Sections 2601 et seq.). This allows any California employee who had paid into the State’s Disability Insurance program (SDI) to get up to 6 weeks paid leave of absence for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a newborn baby. There are some limitations and other requirements but California was the first state to implement such a program and led the way nationwide.
Interviewer: What should I do if I am denied FMLA?
Marc McCulloch: If you are denied a request under FMLA (or CFRA), you want to make sure that you definitely have a well-documented case, preferably in writing. Many times people will contact us and they have nothing in writing and cannot tell us who they talked to or when they talked to them. Documentation is very important. If you have made the proper request which has been denied and you believe you are entitled to it, then you should contact the Marcarian Law Firm or an attorney who practices in this area