Difference Between FMLA and CFRA

FMLA and CFRA are the acts passed by President Clinton and Gavin Newsom, respectively, where an employee gets to leave for a particular period on completing 12 weeks of work experience in any firm or organization.


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Under a policy made by the University of California, an employee is eligible for leave only for family care and medical issues.

Key Takeaways

  1. FMLA is the Family and Medical Leave Act, a federal law in the United States, while CFRA is the California Family Rights Act, a state law in California.
  2. FMLA and CFRA provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for eligible employees, but CFRA offers additional leave for pregnancy disability.
  3. FMLA covers a wider range of family members for military caregiver leave, while CFRA extends coverage to registered domestic partners.


FMLA, or the Family and Medical Leave Act, is a federal law that allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for the birth or adoption of a child. CFRA or California Family Rights Act, is a state law that applies to employers with five or more employees.


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The Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) is an act passed by President Clinton that grants the employees of an organization leave for 12 weeks once a year on account of taking care of pregnancy, including baby purposes and related issues.

It was enacted in the 103rd United States Congress. It is a temporary leave granted to the employee for medical purposes.

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides an employee with 12 weeks of leave, paid or unpaid, in one year.

The employee can take leave in case of a health emergency where he is physically/mentally unfit to do the job or wants to take care of ill family members and newborns.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFMLACFRA
Year of introduction of actPassed in the year 1993Passed in the year 1991
Minimum number of employees workingAt least 50 members are a part of the organizationAt least 5 or more members are a part of the organization
Area of workEmployee working must be staying within 75 miles of areaNo such eligibility mentioned in the act
Medical diagnosisAn employee is allowed to ask for a diagnosis in case of the fragile health of the employee.Employees aren’t asked for the diagnosis but may provide it of their own will.
Reason of applicationIn case of pregnancy of employee, leave is grantedIn case of pregnancy of an employee, she is not eligible for CFRA

What is FMLA?

FMLA, known as the Family and Medical Leave Act, was passed in 1993 by President Clinton.

This law allows an employee of a particular organization to take unpaid leave for 12 weeks in a work span of 12 months.

The employee can sanction his leave in case of taking care of his family members who are seriously and medically ill to take care of her spouse, child, or other family members.

The leave can be taken when the employee gives birth to a child and takes care of the infant, or he/she is physically/mentally unstable.

Under FMLA, you need not worry about losing your job even if you need leave for 12 months. Because the organization you are working in is forced to follow the act of FMLA passed by the government.

This law is a United States law that helps laborers to take unpaid leaves for medical issues.

The law applies only if the company or firm you work in has 50 or more people working there.

FMLA also facilitates the situation of taking care of the family members who belong to national services and were injured performing their duty. In such cases, FMLA provides extra leave for 6.5 months.

What is CFRA?

CFRA, also known as California Family Rights Act, was passed in 1991 he Governor Gavin Newsom.

This law provides a facility of getting 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave from the organization or a firm you are working in the span of 12 months.

This law ensures that if in case you apply for this leave and are in fit to grant the leave under the given criteria, you won’t lose your job.

The eligibility criteria include the following legit cases when you are allowed to take these leaves: when your family member, including your parents, your registered domestic parents, and your children are medically weak.

If the employee is unable to work efficiently due to some serious health condition, he/she can apply for leave.

The company you work for needs to have at least 5 or more people working as active employees to grant the CFRA law.

In CFRA, an employee working in the firm, pregnancy cannot be the reason for serious health conditions. Henceforth, making it an ineligible reason to get leave under the CFRA Act.

For such reason, along with CFRA, the Californian government has also passed a law for pregnancy cases called PDL.

Main Differences Between FMLA and CFRA

  1. FMLA needs 50 or more people working in the firm or organization to be eligible for applying the FMLA law, whereas, in the case of CFRA, the organization or company needs to have at least 5 or more people actively working in the company.
  2. In the case of FMLA, pregnancy is considered under the team of SCH, i.e., Serious Health Conditions. Hence in CFRA, for pregnancy, PDL is issued for 4 months.
  3. In FMLA, a person who has a registered domestic partner is not necessarily his spouse, but in CFRA, a registered domestic partner can be considered as a spouse and is considered in the band of the term “family”.
  4. In FMLA, if the employee has one of his family members in the army or an ex-serviceman, the employee is eligible to take a leave of 3 months, whereas CFRA does not implicate any such circumstances.
  5. Under FMLA, an employee who has a family member is injured while on National duty in the military, the employee is eligible for a leave period of six and half periods while in CFRA the family member must necessarily be a spouse, parent, or a child.
  1. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/02610150110786787/full/html
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/ialrr67&section=50

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