Q: I took pregnancy leave and am now back at work, but it is not the same job. That's legal?
- C.E., Sylmar
Answer: Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you are to be reinstated to either the same or an "equivalent position." Equivalent position means the same pay, benefits and working conditions, as well as either the same or substantially similar responsibilities, involving substantially equivalent authority, effort and skill. It does not matter if someone has replaced you, or that the job you did have was closed while you were away - you have the right to reinstatement, as indicated - with some limited exceptions (e.g., there have been layoffs or shift changes).
Q: How long do I have to work with the company to be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act?
- L.K., Carson
A: You are eligible if: (a) you work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius, (b) you have worked for the employer at least 12 months, and (c) you have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to beginning your leave.
Q: How much time can you get, and what is it that qualifies to be able to take time off work under the Family and Medical Leave Act?
- B.H., San Pedro
A: An eligible employee is entitled to up to 12 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period.
There are helpful summaries online about the Family and Medical Leave Act that delve into greater detail than I am able to in this column. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor has an online booklet titled "The Employee's Guide to the Family & Medical Leave Act."
Ron Sokol is a Manhattan Beach attorney with more than 30 years of experience. His column appears on Wednesdays. Email questions and comments to him at RonSEsq@aol.com or write to him at Ask The Lawyer, Daily Breeze, 21250 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 170, Torrance, CA 90503. This column is a summary of the law and not a substitute for legal consultation on any particular case.