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Are employees of small businesses eligable for family leave?

Placerville, CA |

if an employer with fewer than 15 employees does not have to comply with FMLA, can we assume that the employee of the >15 employee business has fewer rights than other employed people? Is there a similiar law that protects those who do not have the right to Family Leave ?

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Attorney answers 1


In California, there is no law comparable to the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. section 2101 et seq. (FMLA) or California's similar California Family Rights Act, Government Code section 12945.2 (CFRA) that applies to employers with fewer than 50 employees who work within 75 miles of one another.

If the medical condition involved meets the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. sections 12101 et seq. (ADA) or California's similar and more generous California Fair Employment and Housing Act, California Government Code sections 12900, et seq. (FEHA), then a leave of absence may be required as a reasonable accommodation, depending on the medical condition and the reason for the leave. The ADA requires an employer to have 15 employees; the FEHA requires an employer to have 5 employees.

Please look at my Avvo guide on the ADA:

Please look at my Avvo guide to the differences between the ADA and the FEHA:

If the need for the leave relates to pregnancy, there may be protection under California's pregnancy disability leave law, Government Code section 12945(a) (PDLL). The PDLL is part of the FEHA. The PDLL requires employers to provide employees up to four months of unpaid leave for disability caused by pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical conditions.

Under some circumstances, an employer may be required to transfer an employee affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions to a different job.

Finally, if the leave is needed due to a workplace injury, you may be covered by the state's workers' compensation laws. To find a workers' compensation attorney, please look at the membership list of the California Applicant Attorneys Association (CAAA) CAAA is the strongest bar association in California for attorneys who represent injured workers.

To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***

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