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Can I Take a Leave From Work to Care for My Child?

Mother is holding her baby son

In 2017, more than 54% of United States households were dual-income households. Many of these households consist of at least one child. In a nation that has seen a steep rise in both parents holding full time jobs, it comes as no surprise that state leave laws in the employment context, particularly those laws affecting children, have shifted accordingly.

California is no exception and, in fact, has a number of family-friendly laws to accommodate households with children. These laws are especially vital when a parent cannot afford to hire outside help to take care of their children. Our Los Angeles employment lawyers explain some of these laws below.

California Family Rights Act

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) allows qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to bond with a:

  • Newborn
  • Newly adopted child
  • Foster child
  • Child of a spouse or domestic partner

In many cases, this leave is unpaid. The federal version of the CFRA, called the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers the same protection.

California’s Paid Family Leave Law

Under California’s Paid Family Leave law, a qualified employee can receive partial income replacement if he or she is taking time off to bond with a baby or newly adopted/foster child. An employee may also receive income replacement to take care of his or her child with a serious health condition.

This law provides up to eight weeks of partial pay. Employees can take Paid Family Leave concurrently with CFRA or FMLA leave. If taken concurrently, an employee can get up to 12 weeks of leave, and also get paid for a part of that leave.

Kin Care

Kin Care is another California law that protects employees. This law allows employees to apply their accrued sick leave to care for an ill close family member, which includes children (biological, adopted, step, child of a registered domestic partner). The illness can include the common cold or the flu, in addition to serious health conditions covered by FMLA/CFRA. An employer cannot deny an employee this right or discharge or threaten to discharge, demote, or discriminate against the employee for exercising their rights.

School/Daycare Activities Leave

Under this law, employees (who work for employers with 25 or more employees) who are parents, guardians, or custodial grandparents of children in kindergarten or grades 1-12, are entitled to take time off to participate in school/day care activities under specified conditions. Employers may not discriminate or retaliate against employees who use up to 40 hours each year for certain child-related activities.

Speak With Our Los Angeles Employment Attorneys About Your Situation

If you have been discriminated or retaliated against for taking a leave to care for your child, you should consult an experienced employment attorney to determine your rights. Schedule a free and confidential consultation with us. Contact us at (310) 526-8152 or fill out our online form.

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