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Know your rights under California's parental and family leave law

Under the California Family Rights Act, the state of California allows employees to take time off work for a number of health and child-related reasons. These reasons include the birth of a child and the adoption or foster care placement of a child. They also include serious illness experienced by the employee or by the employee's child, parent or spouse. Employers must respect their employees' rights to time off and they cannot fire or otherwise punish an employee for exercising their rights under the law.

The CFRA applies to employees with at least 12 months of service to an employer. If an employee has worked at least 1,250 hours during the preceding 12 months of employment, they are eligible for CFRA protection. If such an employee experiences the birth or adoption of a child, or has to deal with serious illness experienced by themselves or their spouse, child or parent, the employee is eligible for a maximum of 12 workweeks of leave over a 12-month period.

Certain events, such as the birth or adoption of a child, are foreseeable. For these events, the employee must provide at least 30 days notice of the event. For unforeseeable events, the employee must notify the employer as soon as possible.

If an employee properly exercises their rights under parental and family leave laws, their employer is not allowed to terminate them. This could be viewed by the legal system as a wrongful termination, and the employee could be entitled to remedies under the law.

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