The biggest changes in life require our deepest focus and attention in order to nurture ourselves and our loved ones through to the next chapter. While some businesses will explicitly provide these protections within their benefits packages, it can sometimes be unclear as to whether you as a worker will receive paid family leave or unpaid leave in California.
If you are an employee who requires leave of absence because of a serious health condition, a family member’s health condition, or birth, adoption, or pregnancy, there are several important laws that can protect your right to receive leave time from your employer.
Under the state of California, workers are protected by the following laws:
Both the FMLA and CFRA provide up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid family leave for certain qualifying employees under specific conditions. Several differences in the two laws include who they cover and how they apply. While the FMLA covers private companies engaged in interstate commerce with at least 50 workers, the CFRA covers private employers with at least 50 workers in a 75 mile radius. The CFRA covers all public employees regardless of how many staff are on the payroll.
To be eligible for unpaid time off, employees must meet the following requirements:
While employees of private businesses, nonprofits, and state or local public agencies within the state of California are governed and protected by California law, federal employees are only protected by federal laws like FMLA.
While the above-mentioned laws allow for employees to now receive up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave time followed by the certainty of employment upon return, receiving Paid Family Leave (PFL) does not promise job protection. In the State of California, eligible employees can receive benefits for up to 8 weeks to the amount of 60-70% of their wages earned 5 to 18 months before filing the claim.
In order to qualify for PFL, you must meet one the following criteria:
During the pandemic, certain legislation was amended to bring more accessibility to California’s paid family leave law. SB 83 was signed into law to help provide better paid leave to California workers by extending the timeframe of benefits from 6 to 8 weeks. Birth mothers can also take an additional 6 to 8 weeks to recover from childbirth under California’s Disability Insurance Program.
A qualified employee can take a leave of absence for up to 12 weeks for serious health conditions, to bond with a child, or to care for a parent, child, or other family member with a serious health condition.
As a pregnant mother in California, you can receive up to four weeks of Disability Insurance (DI) benefits for a normal pregnancy before your expected due date. You can also receive up to six weeks of benefits (for normal delivery) and up to 8 weeks of benefits (for C-section) to recover from childbirth. New mothers who are receiving DI will automatically receive a form to apply for Paid Family Leave upon transition to bonding time with the baby.
To determine if you are eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
Citizen and immigration status do not affect eligibility. If you think you’re eligible for Paid Family Leave (PFL) as a new mother, the next step is to file a claim. To do so, follow these 5 steps via the State of California’s Employment Development Department to apply.
Not only can you qualify for PFL as a new mother, but new fathers may also qualify for Paid Family Leave. Qualifications for new fathers receiving PFL benefits in the State of California are equivalent to the requirements above. Claims can be filed online or by mail.
Under the laws mentioned above, an employee can not be fired from their job simply for being on medical leave.
If you feel like you have experienced wrongful termination while on paid or unpaid family leave, contact Kyle Todd, P.C. today to receive the compensation you deserve. Our associates will fight to defend your rights as an employee within the state of California. If you’re in need of a consultation to determine whether you qualify for paid or unpaid family leave, we can help. Contact Kyle Todd, P.C. to recoup your financial or emotional losses.