Employees in California are afforded certain rights regarding leave from work. If you become ill or injured, or if a family member becomes ill or injured, or if you're bringing a child into your family, you may be eligible for job-secure leave under California employment law.
While that may sound simple enough, family, medical and parental leaves are often the subject of employment litigation. That's why it's important to know your rights.
What are my rights in California?
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is a state law that gives many employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-secure leave each year for special circumstances or medical emergencies.
Specifically, the CFRA covers:
- Medical leave for an employee's serious injury or illness
- Leave to care for a close family member's immediate, serious health concerns
- Time for bonding with a newborn child
- Time for bonding with an adopted child or a child placed for foster care
Other benefits may be available in certain circumstances. For example, an employee with a disability related to pregnancy might be eligible for leave and partial pay under California's law regarding prengnancy disability leave.
When an employer threatens your right
Eligible employees have a legal right to take leave in these circumstances. Don't let an employer take your right away from you. You should speak with an employment law attorney if your employer:
- Denies your legal right to take leave
- Pressures you to return to work
- Retaliates against you by reducing your pay after you return from leave
- Creates a hostile work environment in response to your taking leave
An employer who retaliates against you for taking approved leave is in violation of the law. To learn more, please see our overview of workplace retaliation and wrongful termination.