Employment Law


California’s Family and Medical Leave Law Surpasses Its Federal Counterpart

  • Nov 27 2013
  • Gilleon Law Firm, APC

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to expand the state’s 2002 paid family leave law to provide partial wages for employees who take time off to care for certain seriously ill relatives. Existing California law provides for a state fund to replace 55 percent of wages for employees who leave work to care for a newly born or adopted child or to care for a gravely ill child, spouse, parent or domestic partner. The new law extends the same 55 percent replacement to employees who leave to care for grandparents, siblings, grandchildren and parents-in-laws who are seriously ill.

Federal Law

The U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides that employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave for serious health reasons. Employees are eligible if they worked for the company for one year, worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year and worked at a location with a minimum of 50 employees. As previously explained, leave is permitted to connect with a new child, recuperate from a major health issue, care for child, parent or spouse. While on leave, the employee is not paid, but their health insurance remains intact.

California Family and Medical Leave Laws Go Beyond

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides the same protections, but extends them to same-sex spouses, domestic partners and their children, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and parents-in-law. It also provides for compensating 55 percent of the salary lost by the employee taking leave.

California says that employers with at least 25 employees must give employees 10 days of unpaid leave while a spouse is on military leave during a period of military conflict.

The state also declares that employers must provide a reasonable period of leave for disability relating to pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions. The Small Necessities laws say that employers with a minimum of 25 employees must give them 40 hours of unpaid leave within one year to participate in their child’s school activities.

If you suspect that your employer is restricting your ability to take a leave to care for a relative, it is important to contact our office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced San Diego employment law attorney.

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