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California leave laws include paid time off

California is one of just three states with paid family leave laws and only one of nine with clear leave laws complementing the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The FMLA and California Family Rights Act permit qualified workers to take 12 weeks off, without pay, to be with a new child or attend to serious personal health issues or illnesses of immediate family members.

Paid Family Leave in California is a supplement to unpaid leave guarantees provided under the FMLA and the CFRA. Under PFL, employees to collect up to six weeks of benefits for time off to care for a new child or address a family medical problem.

CFRA rules, like FMLA regulations, apply to employers with 50 or more employees. State and local government workers are covered by the CFRA, no matter how large an employer is. PFL benefits are provided while workers are on leave under the CFRA and FMLA.

An employer must continue to provide group health care benefits for workers on unpaid leave. Seniority and other benefits like pension plans and disability insurance must be maintained under CFRA while the employee is off work. The leave law also allows employees to use up vacation days and other paid leave while out under CFRA, plus sick days when the employee is ill.

Employees must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the year leading up to the leave to be eligible under the CFRA and FMLA. Full- and part-time employees are qualified, as long as the work hours' requirement is met and the employer has the requisite number of workers. No more than 12 weeks of leave is allowed during a 12-month period, although leave time does not have to be consecutive.

Leave laws contain exceptions, including reasons a leave may be refused. Speak with an employment attorney if you feel you've been wrongly denied time off for family leave.

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