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Are the federal and California FMLA laws the same?

The Family and Medical Leave Act has some varying provisions at the federal level and at the state level in California. While many of the provisions are identical, such as the definition of a serious health condition, the provisions that are not similar are important to note. Here are some of the differences between the two:

Federal Provisions

-- Employers are covered under a special provision simply because they are a local school agency.

-- The maximum leave time is 12 weeks in a year.

-- Spouses working for the same employer must share the FMLA leave to care for adoption, pregnancy or foster care, or to care for a parent that is sick.

-- Intermittent leave may only be taken when medically necessary for a serious health condition.

-- Specific provisions for executive, administrative or other professional employees regarding minimum wage and overtime during FLMA leave.

California Provisions

-- No special provision for school agencies.

-- The maximum leave time is 12 weeks, which is the same as the federal provision. However, there is a state statute that allows for 12 months' leave for pregnancy, childbirth, foster care or adoption, or care for a newborn baby.

-- Intermittent leave is allowed as long as it does not add up to more than 12 weeks.

-- No specific provision for executive, administrative or other professional employees.

California passed a law that went into effect in July 2004. It allowed employees to take time off with partial pay. That time off is up to 55 percent of their pay or a maximum of $728 a week.

Employers who retaliate against employees who take FMLA may be liable for many civil claims, including lost wage.

Source: Department of Labor, "Federal vs. California Family and Medical Leave Laws" Sep. 06, 2014

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