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Did you know? California gives paid leave to new parents

Posted on May 6, 2017 | Firm News

Welcoming a new child into the family is one of the most joyful things you’ll ever experience. But it can also come with a lot of stress. Babies are expensive, and many parents worry about how they’ll be able to afford to take time off to bond with their new child.

Thankfully, California has some of the most robust family leave laws in the country. But, a lot of new parents don’t know these benefits exist, so they don’t take advantage of them.

How does the program work?

The state will provide new parents with up to six weeks of paid leave to bond with their child. Both mothers and fathers qualify. The program is available to birth parents, foster parents and adoptive parents.

Pregnant women may take an additional four weeks of paid leave prior to their due date. Women who delivered via cesarean section may be eligible for eight weeks of leave after the child’s birth instead of the usual six, because of the increased recovery time.

The benefits are paid by California’s Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave programs, not by your employer.  Most workers qualify, but you do have to meet some eligibility requirements.

Can I take more leave than the program offers?

Yes, usually. Your employer may offer more generous paid leave than the state programs provide. If they don’t, you may still be eligible to take unpaid leave. Both the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act give parents the right to take time off work to care for their children.

Can I get fired or punished for taking leave?

No. As long as you are eligible and following the terms of the law, your job is protected. Your employer may not punish you for exercising your rights.

Still, not every boss is fair. Some lie to their employees about their right to take family leave. Others might threaten to fire employees who take leave or give them worse duties when they come back to work.

Employers who do this are breaking the law. If it happens to you, a lawyer can help you fight back and make things right again.

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