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California Expands Family Leave with New Law

California Expands Family Leave with New Law

Qualified employees will be able to claim up to 8 weeks of paid family leave.

California Expands Family Leave with New Law

One of the biggest issues facing working parents today is the inability to take leave when necessary to care for their families. This includes both leave for the birth or adoption of a child as well as leave to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or domestic partner. The law also requires the government to address other issues related to family leave.

Under Senate Bill 83, the maximum duration of paid family leave will increase from 6 to 8 weeks in a 12 month period. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2020. Paid family leave is available for workers who pay into the State Disability Insurance program.

As part of the law, the governor is required to assemble a task force and then submit a proposal to increase paid family leave to a full six months by 2021-2022. This leave will be for bonding purposes, and represents the maximum leave allowed if two parents each take leave. The governor must also address increasing the wage replacement rate for low-income workers, from 60 to 70% to 90%. This step will allow more employees in low paying jobs to take leave without suffering financial distress. The task force must also determine how to fund these expanded benefits, as well as job protection for employees.

Under current law, paid family leave does not provide employment protection for employees. In other words, the paid family leave law does not prevent an employer from firing or demoting an employee for taking the leave. However, other laws — such as California’s Family Rights Act and the New Parent Leave Act, do offer protection. In addition, the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives employees protection.

The law is part of an effort by Governor Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebol Newsom, to advocate for working families. It will give people the ability to take family leave when necessary without jeopardizing their financial stability.

Employees who want to take this type of leave may worry that their employers will discriminate against them for doing so. Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), employers with 50 or more full-time employees are required to continue benefits during an employee’s leave. Employees can continue to accrue seniority while on CFRA leave. According to a California employment lawyer, an employer who denies leave or terminates an employee for taking leave may violate the CFRA. There are very specific procedures that must be followed in order to file a complaint under the CFRA. A failure to follow this process may result in a denial of your right to recover for your losses under this act.

If you have been subjected to discrimination for taking family leave — or denied leave entirely — then you may be able to file a claim against your employer. At PLBSH, we are experienced in all forms of employment discrimination cases, including those involving family leave. To learn more about how we can help or to schedule a consultation with a California employment lawyer, contact our office today at (800) 435-7542 or info@plbsh.com.

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