FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows many employees to take job protected leave. California state law almost always provide employees with the same or greater rights and protections than the FMLA, especially in situations involving pregnancy and parental leave. For this reason, even though the FMLA is enforceable in California, we can often disregard it in favor of state law. One notable advantage to the FMLA is that, under some circumstances, it allows for "liquidated damages" for economic losses, meaning that the court may double the amount an individual receives for their lost wages.
The FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave to bond with a new baby, for the employee’s own serious health condition, or to care for a family member (child, parent, spouse) with a serious health condition. Leave under FMLA runs concurrently with California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law and the California Family Rights Act. In other words, FMLA does not add to the total amount of leave time an employee can take under California state law for bonding or for serious health conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.
The FMLA’s military family leave provisions, when applicable, allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave for a “qualifying exigency” arising out of the deployment of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent to a foreign country. The FMLA also entitles eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of Military Caregiver leave when the employee is the spouse, parent, son, daughter, or next of kin of the covered servicemember.