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Is My Job Protected If I Take Time Off For My Child’s Birth In California?

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Lauren Abrams - Employment & Labor - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Lauren Abrams

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Having a baby is one of the happiest times of your life. You have a new addition to your family, and there are a lot of new joys - and some extra concerns. One thing you should not have to worry about is your job. You are legally allowed to take a leave after the birth.

Your bonding time in those first few months is important too. California recognizes that and has passed parental leave laws that are some of the most protective in America. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the federal legislation that protects your right to take time off for family issues. That includes births. Two legislations, California Paid Family Leave (PFL) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), add even more protections for parental leave in our state.

Because of these three legislative acts, your job is almost always protected. Your company cannot retaliate against you if you take the time off that you are legally allowed. They cannot terminate you, and they have to offer you the same job or a similar position when you return.

FMLA, PFL And CFRA Protect Your Work And Life Balance

FMLA:

Allows some employees to take up to 12 unpaid weeks for some family and medical reasons. It is designed to help employees and to promote equal employment opportunities for both genders.

The federal legislation requires public agencies, public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies that employ 50 or more employees to provide the leave each year for:

  • Birth and care of a newborn
  • Adoption or foster care
  • To provide care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition
  • For employees who have health problems that keep them from work

To receive this benefit, you must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months (1,200 hour over 12 months), and work at a company that has at least 50 employees working within 75 miles. If you must take time off due to pregnancy complications, that time will be included in the 12 weeks. There are also provisions for military families.

PFL:

This is the California legislation that provides up to six weeks of partial pay for employees who must take time off to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild or a sibling. This act does not provide job protections, but your employment is protected by the FMLA and CFRA.

You qualify for PFL if you:

  • File a claim
  • Earned more than $300 in wages that have been deducted as part of State Disability Insurance
  • Have proof of the relationship.
  • Have certification by a doctor or medical practitioner that verifies the need for the leave.

The PFL program covers almost 19 million Californians. If you are eligible, and depending on your income, you can receive from 60 to 70 percent of the income you earned in the five to 18 months before your claim. You can make the claim for up to six weeks for any 12-months.

CFRA:

If you are a qualified employee, this act protects your right to take a leave. You are a “qualified employee” if you work for an employer with at least 50 employees, and if you have worked for that employer for more than 12 months (at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months).

Your CFRA rights include protections for:

  • You can take up to 12 unpaid weeks for any 12-month period.
  • Concurrent leaves. This is the time you take off that is simultaneous with your FMLA leave.
  • Medical conditions. You are entitled to time off if you or a family member has a serious health issue.
  • Serious medical conditions. If you have a serious illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition.
  • If you were granted a leave, your job is guaranteed for the same (or a comparable) job when your leave ends. You lose that protection if you do not return within that 12-month time frame or if you have not provided the required medical verification.

You Have The Right To Take A Leave After Your Baby’s Birth

If you just had a baby, or you are expecting a new addition, you might have questions. You could also need help protecting your family leave rights. If you are facing either issue, call a family law attorney.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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