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Understanding the California Family Rights Act

There may come a time when an unexpected event requires you to take an extended period off work. You may sustain an injury or develop an illness, or you may need to take care of a sick or injured child or family member. Sometimes, these occurrences require more time off than your sick or leave time provides, causing you to worry about losing your job on top of everything else.

Luckily, the California Family Rights Act allows you to take extended time off for various reasons. You can request time off to bond with a child, whether the child is your biological child, or an adopted or foster child. The Act also allows you to take time off to care for a spouse, child, domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild or sibling with a serious health condition.

Additionally, if your spouse, child, parent or domestic partner is called to active duty in the military, the Act may allow you to take leave during that time. The Act lets you take up to 12 work weeks of leave within a 12-month period. You do not need to take the time all at once, rather, you can take the weeks as needed if you are a qualified employee under the Act.

Do I qualify under the Act?

To be a qualified employee, your employer must have 5 or more employees. The employees may be full or part-time. You must have worked for your employer for more than 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer in the 12-month period before your leave starts. If you have questions about whether you qualify or want more information about your rights under the Act, an employment attorney can provide guidance.

Employers have a legal duty to provide information about the Act to employees. The information must also be placed in a conspicuous place in the workplace.

You may not get paid during your leave

Your employer is not legally required to pay you during your leave; however, they may choose to if they wish. They may ask you to provide 30-days advance notice before taking the leave. If that is not possible, tell them as soon as you know you will need the leave. Your notice does not have to be in writing; it can be a verbal request. Employers have 5 days business days to respond to a request.