The Family Medical Leave Act is a federal rule allowing workers time off for family or medical needs. It requires employers to allow the leave and hold the employee’s job until he or she returns.
The FMLA is generally available, but there are some restrictions. Not every situation will qualify for coverage under this law.
To get FMLA time off, you have to work for an employer required to provide it under the law. The FMLA applies to employers who have at least 50 employees for 20 weeks of the year. It applies to all government employers. If your employer does not fit this criterion, then you have no coverage under the FMLA.
You also have to meet hours worked requirements to get benefits. You need to have clocked 1,250 hours in the prior 12 months. You also need to have worked for the employer for at least 12 months. Note that those 12 months do not have to be consecutive but should be within the past seven years.
You should be aware that you cannot count the time you are taking off or have taken off as time worked. Only the hours you were actually doing your job count.
It is important to understand that the federal FMLA does not require your employer to pay you. In addition, state laws are different from federal laws. You may have additional coverage offered through California employment laws that extend or enhance the FMLA. Still, the bottom line is that if you qualify for time off under the federal FMLA, your employer must give it to you.