Question: A California employee requests to take 12 weeks of family and medical leave. Are you required to provide it? Is it unpaid?

If you meet the definition of covered employer and the employee meets eligibility requirements, then yes.  The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) – applicable to employers with 50 or more employees – contain overlapping and sometimes conflicting employee rights and employer obligations regarding California family leave. The FMLA and CFRA both require covered employers to provide time off for personal illness, to attend to the illness of a family member and in connection with the birth or adoption of a child. While this is generally unpaid leave, depending on the type of leave taken and your policies, the employee may elect or be required to use accrued and unused vacation and/or sick time. Though this sounds simple, FMLA leave act and CFRA issues are among the most litigated of all employment law cases and can result in large liabilities.