Because of the high cost of living today, both man and woman are required to work just to meet their basic needs. When a child is born or a family member suffers from a serious illness, workers often have to balance their job and their family duties.

Fortunately, they are now provided with twelve weeks of unpaid leave, thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

This law was created to help employees who need to meet the demands of their family and work. It was signed on February 5, 1993 by former President William J. Clinton.

FMLA entitles employees to take an unpaid leave due to the following reasons:

· Adoption or birth of a child

· To take care of a sick family member

· If the employee is suffering from a serious medical problem

Employees may choose to take their unpaid leave continuously, on a fixed schedule, or intermittent basis.

They should first follow specific procedures before they are allowed to enjoy the FMLA leave. If they know in advance that they will need to take it starting from a certain date, they need to provide a thirty days notice to their employer.

Meanwhile, if employees encounter an emergency problem, they should inform their employer about it as soon as they can. Remember that they may be required to provide a medical certificate to prove that they are really suffering from a serious health problem.

However, not all workers are allowed to take unpaid leaves. FMLA only covers workers who have already worked for 1,250 hours or have been in the company for at least a year.

What is the California Family Right Act (CFRA)?

The CFRA is a localized version of the FMLA. It requires employers who have at least 50 full-time and part-time workers to provide an unpaid leave due to reasons that are applicable under FMLA.

Covered employers include those who are conducting their business in the state or running non-profit organizations. In addition, CFRA also covers employers in all of the state's civil and political subdivisions, as well as in counties and cities, regardless of the number of workers that they have.

In California, once the employer is notified about the employee's plans of taking an unpaid leave, he is required to respond to it as soon as possible. Issues may arise if he failed to provide an answer within ten calendar days after he received the request.