Saturday, November 26, 2022

Small Firm Eyes Medical Leave Policies to Put in Employee Handbook

We are a small company of 30 employees. Are we required to have a medical leave policy in our employee handbook?

Many different types of medical leaves, both federal and state, may apply to an employee based on company size.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

In California, the Pregnancy Disability Leave law applies to you since you have 5 or more employees. You also are required to have a pregnancy disability leave policy and include it in your employee handbook.

In addition, whenever 10% or more of your employees speak a different language, you are required to put that policy in those other languages in your employee handbook.

Federal/State Medical Leaves

The other two medical leave of absence policies that are required to be included in an employee handbook do not apply to you based on your company size since you have fewer than 50 employees; those leave policies are the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the state equivalent, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

Those policies, if they had applied to you, also require that whenever 10% or more of your employees speak a different language, you are required to put that policy in those other languages in your employee handbook.

Disability Protection Laws

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act applies to you because you have 15 or more employees and the state disability protection law applies because you have 5 or more employees.

Even though these laws apply to you, they do not specifically require that you include a policy in your employee handbook.

Since it often is difficult to interpret disability protection laws and how they apply to a particular situation, it is important to get legal advice before taking any adverse action against an employee.


Column based on questions asked by callers on the Labor Law Helpline, a service to California Chamber of Commerce preferred and executive members. For expert explanations of labor laws and Cal/OSHA regulations, not legal counsel for specific situations, call (800) 348-2262 or submit your question at www.hrcalifornia.com.

Staff Contact: Sunny Lee

Sunny Lee
Sunny Lee
Sunny Lee joined the CalChamber in 1995 and currently is an HR adviser. Before joining the CalChamber staff, Lee represented employers in state and federal court and before governmental agencies. She has extensive dispute resolution experience, having served as a court mediator in harassment cases, employment disputes and business litigation. She has trained employers and conducted audits of employment practices. Lee earned a J.D. from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific.

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