MOSAIC Paradigm Law Group PC.
MOSAIC Paradigm Law Group PC.

Does California Have Paid Family Leave?

In today's America, full-time housewives or househusbands are becoming less common. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in married families, 59.8% of families have both parents employed. The vast majority of parents are working - 92.3% of fathers and 71.2% of mothers with children under 18 participating in the labor market. Therefore, "Does California provide paid family leave?" is a concern for many soon-to-be parents or new parents.

Although there is no federal paid family leave for new parents in the United States, California provides paid leave to eligible mothers and fathers.

California's Paid Family Leave Policy

In California, under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), fathers can take up to 12 weeks of paternity leave to bond with a newborn (including adopted) child and to help the partner recover. To qualify for family leave under CFRA, fathers must have worked for the current employer for at least one year or 1250 hours. CFRA applies to any employer with at least five employees.

The Paid Family Leave (PFL) program in California provides paid family leave for the first eight weeks after childbirth. Eligible employees under PFL can receive 60%-70% of their wages. To qualify forPFL, employees must:

  • Take CFRA leave to care for a seriously ill spouse, domestic partner, parent, in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling, or to bond with a newborn or adopted child within the first year of birth or adoption;

  • Demonstrate that taking leave will result in a loss of wages;

  • Have earned at least 300 dollars of income in any calendar quarter deducted from California State Disability Insurance (SDI);

  • Submit a Paid Family Leave form to the Employment Development Department (EDD) within 41 days of starting family leave.

  • Mothers can also take maternity leave underCFRA. Additionally, mothers can receive additional pregnancy disability leave to address the physical and psychological impacts of childbirth.

Parents do not need to shareCFRA leave. In other words, both parents can enjoy 12 weeks of CFRA leave after childbirth (in addition to any extra pregnancy disability leave obtained by the mother).

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FLMA) and CFRA, employers must reinstate employees to the same or similar position after their leave. Failure to do so may violate labor laws.

How to Apply for Paid Family Leave?

Parents wishing to apply for paid family leave must notify their employer at least 30 days in advance. You may also want to provide additional information to your employer, such as:

  • Expected duration of the leave;

  • Whether you wish to receive PFL or pregnancy disability leave (for mothers);

  • Any other relevant information you deem necessary.

  • As long as you provide 30 days' notice in advance, your employer cannot deny you family leave under CFRA/FMLA. If you need to request leave less than 30 days before childbirth due to an emergency, you still have the right to leave - just notify your employer as soon as reasonably possible.

If possible, make your request in writing and keep a copy for yourself (preferably with some evidence of the date of application). A written request can be invaluable evidence if your employer tries to deny your leave.

What to Do If My Employer Denies My Leave Request?

If you meet the requirements for family leave under CFRA or FMLA, meaning:

  • Working for an employer with at least five employees;

  • Having worked for the employer for at least one year before requesting leave, and;

  • Having worked at least 1250 hours before requesting leave;

  • They cannot legally deny a timely leave request. Employers who deny legitimate family leave requests are in violation of labor laws and must be held accountable.

You can file a discrimination complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) within one year of your employer denying your leave.DFEH will investigate your employer and impose penalties if the employer is found to be in violation.

You can also bring a civil lawsuit against your employer. If you can prove:

  • You were eligible for the leave you requested;

  • You requested leave for a qualifying reason and provided proper notice;

  • Your employer denied your leave request or failed to rehire you to the same or similar position after your leave ended; and

  • Your employer's actions caused you harm;

  • You may be entitled to compensation. For example, you may receive compensation for emotional distress, lost income and benefits, and potential punitive damages to punish your employer for violating labor laws.

At MOSAIC labor & employment law firm, we are proud to help mothers and fathers preserve their leave rights. If you have a pregnancy or leave discrimination case, contact us online or call 281-805-7169 - we will provide support for you.