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When Can You Take A Leave Of Absence In California?

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

A Guide To Leave Of Absence In California Employment Law

California has several leaves of absence laws. These statutes, taken together, give job protection while you recover from a severe health condition or care for a loved one with a medical problem or impairment.

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is the state's primary leave of absence statute. It's a lot like the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, there are a few more. This guide goes over each of those laws in detail to figure out which one applies to you.

california leave of absence law

What Is Leave of Absence In California Employment Law?

A leave of absence is when someone takes time away from work to recover from a significant health condition or care for someone suffering from a serious health condition. It could also be time off for military service, jury duty, or voting in some cases.

When a California employee needed to take a leave of absence in the past, companies could simply terminate them. This is obviously terrible for the lives of hardworking people who only need a little break from work to care for a sick loved one or for an emergency.

As a result, California enacted a slew of leave-of-absence rules that specific companies must follow. Furthermore, discrimination against an employee who takes a valid leave is prohibited under California law. As a result, the state of California has some of the most benevolent leave-of-absence policies in the country.

Contact an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles ASAP if you think you have a viable labor law claim relevant to your leave. They'll be able to process the facts, build a case, and file claims in your stead.

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What Can I Use My Leave of Absence For?

Qualified employees in California are allowed to take a leave of absence for the following reasons:

  • Pregnancy leave

  • Disability caused by pregnancy

  • A life-threatening health condition

  • Leave of absence for medical reasons

  • The serious health condition of a child, parent, or other family members

  • Service in the military

  • Jury service

  • Testimony of witnesses

  • Service of volunteer firefighters

  • Rehab for alcohol and drugs

  • Voting

  • Victims of domestic violence

  • Activities related to being a victim of a crime

  • Donation of organs and bone marrow

That said, this is just a list of California's most common applications for a leave of absence. Since each case is different, yours could be a unique case that would still count as a viable reason for filing a leave in California.

You could consult prescreened California employment lawyers if you've been denied your leave of absence. They'll be able to look at your case and identify its viability for a labor law claim in California.

How Long Can You Take Time Off Work In California?

An eligible employee can take a 12-week leave of absence for significant health reasons, to connect with a child, or to care for a kid, parent, or other family members with a serious health condition.

Employees can also use unused sick time or PTO to care for a family member or domestic partner.

There are, however, longer leave of absence durations (up to four months for challenges and impairments related to your pregnancy) and shorter leave of absence periods (such as intermittent leave).

What Constraints Do California Employers Face?

Businesses must follow these laws. They will face legal repercussions if they do not comply or if they tamper with or obstruct these employment rights.

Employers can be held financially accountable for damages in a lawsuit if they fire an employee who requests a leave of absence under the CFRA or FMLA. And these losses can be rather substantial.

Employees can seek lost earnings, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and attorney's costs if their employer disobeys these regulations. Most of these claims are settled, with payouts ranging from over a million dollars to reinstatement.

However, every instance is unique in its own way. Your case will be unique from other employment law claims your California employment lawyer has previously handled.

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