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What Types Of Job Leave Are Californians Able To Take?

Different state and federal programs offer California employees a combination of paid and unpaid leave for qualifying family needs.

Even the most dedicated employee in California can face a personal situation in which time away from work may be required. Just as with jury duty, the law has granted some amount of leave to people so that they can tend to personal matters without fear of losing their jobs. But, there are multiple laws and programs and understanding them can be difficult at times. This article will give an overview of three different programs or laws applicable to California residents.

Paid leave through state program

California is one of only a few states in the country to grant paid leave to employees for personal family situations. As explained by the State of California Employment Development Department,  paid family leave in the state is offered as part of the State Disability Insurance program. It is funded through payroll deductions. This program has been active for 15 years, starting in 2002.

Eligible employees may earn up to 55 percent of their standard wages every week for six weeks in a 12-month period. There is a  maximum allowable benefit which is $1,173 per week as of the start of 2017.

Unpaid leave under state and federal laws

The Family and Medical Leave Act was put into effect nationally in the early 1990s. The U.S. Department of Labor explains that it gives employees the right to take 12 weeks off of their jobs in a 12-month period. If the employee requests leave to care for a family member who is a member of the U.S. military, leave may be extended to 26 weeks in a 12-month period.

In addition to having their job safety guaranteed while on leave, employees will continue to have benefits coverage provided.

The state and federal programs share many of the same requirements. For example, in order to qualify for unpaid leave, an employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours over the course of 12 months but these 12 months do not have had to been consecutive. The laws cover both public employers and most private employers. Some smaller employers, such as those with fewer than 50 employees, are not required to provide this leave.

In addition, employees of the state may extend their leave up to one year.

Qualifying reasons for paid or unpaid leave

Whether paid or unpaid, there are standard situations that may qualify employees for leave. These include the birth or adoption of a new child. The acceptance of a new foster child into a family also qualifies an employee for leave.

People may also request leave to care for an ill parent, spouse or child or to attend to their own medical needs. Some medical documentation or support may be needed.

Protecting employees’ rights

The laws that provide leave, whether paid or unpaid, are intended to guarantee basic rights to employees. If a person experiences problems such as the denial of leave or the loss of a job after taking leave, talking to an attorney is recommended. This is the best way to understand the laws and how to seek compensation at these times.