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Navigating CFRA Leave: A Step-by-Step Guide to Applying

June 4, 2024

Applying for leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) can seem complex, but with the right guidance, you can smoothly navigate the process. Here’s a step-by-step guide tailored to help you understand how to apply for CFRA leave.

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Before you consider applying, ensure you’re eligible for CFRA leave. Requirements include:

  • Employment with the company for at least 12 months.
  • At least 1,250 hours of service in the 12 months before the start of the leave.
  • Working at a location where the employer has at least 5 employees.

Step 2: Clarify Your Reason for Leave

CFRA leave is permitted for several reasons, including:

  • Bonding with a new child.
  • Caring for a seriously ill family member.
  • Managing your own serious health condition.
  • Addressing certain exigencies related to a family member’s active military duty.

Step 3: Notify Your Employer

Inform your employer about your need for CFRA leave. For planned medical treatment or childbirth, give at least 30 days’ notice. If unforeseeable, notify them as soon as possible.

Step 4: Complete the Required Documentation

Your employer should provide you with the necessary CFRA leave application forms. These forms should be completed and returned to your employer, typically to the human resources department.

Step 5: Provide Medical Certification if Needed

If your leave is due to a serious health condition, a medical certification from a healthcare provider will be required. This document should confirm the need for leave and include an estimate of the leave duration.

Step 6: Submit Your Application

Hand in your completed application and any required certification to your employer as instructed. Make sure to keep copies for your records.

Step 7: Maintain Communication with Your Employer

Keep in touch with your employer regarding your leave status and any changes. Be responsive to any additional information requests they may have.

Step 8: Understand Your Rights

During your CFRA leave, your employer is required to maintain your health benefits as if you were still working.

Step 9: Plan Your Return to Work

You have the right to return to your same or a comparable job position after your CFRA leave concludes.

Step 10: Seek Assistance if Needed

Should you face any issues, such as a denial of your CFRA leave or problems upon return to work, you may contact the California Civil Rights Department (CRD).

Step 11: Keep Detailed Records

Document all correspondence and keep copies of forms and certifications related to your CFRA leave application.

Understanding your rights and the CFRA leave application process is crucial to taking the time you need without undue stress. Should you need further assistance or wish to ensure your rights are being upheld, do not hesitate to contact an employment law attorney or reach out to the CRD.

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