Medical Issues, Rights & Benefits

Older workers enjoy a host of rights. Many employers offer benefits to their employees. Issues often arise involving the following rights and benefits:

  • Health Insurance & Life Insurance
  • edical Leave Protection Laws
  • Sick Leave

These are discussed below.

Health Insurance & Life Insurance

There is no requirement under California law for employers to provide employees with medical or life insurance. Employees should refer to their employer’s policy with respect to medical and life insurance benefits. However, an employer who provides employee medical benefits and discontinues those benefits must provide employees with written notice at least 15 days in advance of the discontinuance of coverage. A terminated employee may be entitled to continued coverage under the federal COBRA act or California's continued coverage requirements.


The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) provides certain former employees, retirees, spouses former spouses, and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. This coverage, however, is only available when coverage is lost due to certain specific events. Group health coverage for COBRA participants is usually more expensive than health coverage for active employees, since usually the employer pays a part of the premium for active employees while COBRA participants generally pay the entire premium themselves. It is ordinarily less expensive, though, than individual health coverage. COBRA generally applies to employees of companies of 20 or more employees.

Medical Leave Protection Laws

Under both the federal and the California law, an employee who is eligible for medical leave may generally take up to 12 work weeks of leave in a year. The employer is usually not required to pay the employee for such medical leave. However, the employer must allow the employee to return to work without any negative consequences.

Family And Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (the FMLA) is the federal law that generally prevents an employee from being terminated for missing work because of a health problem or to care for a close family member with a serious health problem. The provisions of this law can be found at Section 2601 of Title 29 of the United States Code.

California Family Rights Act

The California Family Rights Act (the CFRA) allows an employee to take up to 12 weeks of leave in a year. The CFRA, also known as the Moore-Brown-Roberti Family Rights Act is part of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (the FEHA), which protects employees against various forms of discrimination and harassment. The CFRA can be found at Section 12945.2 of the California Government Code. The California law is generally preferable to the federal counterpart because it does not limit the amount of compensatory and punitive damages you may recover against the defendant if you prevail.

Eligibility for medical leave

To be eligible to take protected family medical leave, the employee must have worked for an employer 50 or more employees for over one year. Additionally, the employee may only take medical leave for her own serious health condition or that of her spouse, child or parent. A serious health condition is usually an injury or illness that prevents the employee from being able to do her job. The employer may require the employee provide a note from her physician certifying the health condition is serious. The birth of a child is also a reason to take medical leave.

Sick Leave

If an employer has a sick leave policy, the employer must permit an employee to use in any calendar year, the employee’s accrued and available sick leave, in an amount not less than the sick leave that would be accrued during 6 months at the employee’s current rate of sick leave, to attend to an illness of a child, parent, domestic partner, or spouse of the employee.

For a free consultation about age discrimination in the workplace with an experienced employee rights attorney, contact David Spivak:

For further information on your rights in the work place, please visit our other websites:

Wrongful termination
Sexual harassment
Unpaid wages and overtime
Family and medical leave
Pregnancy discrimination
Disability discrimination
Age discrimination
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