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Home » Blog » California Paternity Leave Laws [2024 Updated]

California Paternity Leave Laws [2024 Updated]

Posted on January 7, 2024 | By Omid Nosrati | Employment Law

Welcoming a new child into your family is a major life event that often requires some time off from work. Thankfully, there are California state laws in place to ensure that new fathers are protected during this time period so that they don’t have to fear the prospect of losing employment benefits while caring for a new child. If you are unsure of what your rights are as a new father, contact a trusted California paternity lawyer.

Nosratilaw, A Professional Law Corporation, can help you navigate the uncertain waters of fatherhood and gain a clear understanding of your rights as a protected employee.

california paternity leave laws

Who Is Eligible for Paternity Leave in California?

Paternity leave is defined as a form of job leave that allows new fathers to take time away from work to care for their newborn child and their partner and participate in the early development of their child. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) states that new fathers can take 12 weeks of unpaid paternity leave.

To qualify for paternity leave in California, you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • You must be the biological father, adoptive father, or foster parent in relation to the child
  • You must be employed by an employer with five (5) or more employees
  • Have worked for the employer a minimum of twelve (12) months prior to the start date of your paternity leave
  • Must be a full-time employee and have already worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the last 12 months

A reminder that although your job is protected during paternity leave, it is usually unpaid. However, California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program can provide partial wage replacement to you for up to eight (8) weeks. This program is managed through the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and funded via employee payroll deductions.

To qualify for California’s Paid Family Leave program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Brought the child into your family within the last 12 months
  • Been unable to work due to the birth of a new child
  • Paid into California’s State Disability Insurance over the past 5-18 months
  • Not have already taken the eight weeks off of Paid Family Leave over the last 12 months

It should also be noted that you are not required to take all of your 12 weeks off consecutively as long as you take all of the 12 weeks off within a calendar year of when you welcomed your new child into your family.

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility for paternity leave, please reach out to a trusted California paternity lawyer with decades of experience in employment law to see what protections you’re entitled to.

What Benefits Are Available to Employees on Paternity Leave?

Under the legal protections of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), your employer is required to retain you in the same or similar position upon your return from paternity leave. This also includes maintaining your eligibility for health insurance coverage and other employee benefits while you are out on leave.

Employer Violations

In California, employers are required to provide eligible employees paternity leave in accordance with both federal and state laws. It is illegal for an employer to refuse your paternity leave, hold the leave against you negatively, or fail to reinstate you to the same or similar position after returning from leave.

If your employer has violated your rights according to these laws, then you are encouraged to file an official complaint with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) against the employer. At that point, you will either receive a Right to Sue notice from the CRD, or you will be able to file a legal claim against your employer. Consult with an experienced California employment attorney to see what legal options you’re entitled to regarding your case.


Q: What Is the Maximum Benefit for California Paid Family Leave 2024?

A: California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program pays approximately 60% percent of your current earnings for up to 8 weeks within a 12-month period. The maximum benefit amount for PFL benefits in 2024 is currently $1,620 per week. You can also use any accrued sick leave or vacation time to supplement the remaining 40%, if available.

Q: How Long Is Paternity Leave in California for Fathers?

A: The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) permits new fathers to take 12 weeks of paternity leave. This leave is unpaid, but new fathers are legally protected and guaranteed their jobs upon their return. California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program allows eligible fathers to receive up to eight weeks of partially paid paternity leave.

Q: How Much Does EDD Pay for Paternity Leave?

A: The California Employment Development Department (EDD) is the governing body that administers California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program. Exactly how much pay you’re eligible to receive is directly based on the income you have earned over the past 5-18 months. Typically, you are paid 60% of those earnings up to $1,620 per week as of 2024.

Q: Do Fathers Get Paternity Leave in California?

A: Yes. In California, new fathers are eligible to receive paternity leave. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) says new fathers can take 12 weeks of unpaid paternity leave with guaranteed job protection or up to eight weeks of partial paid leave if eligible for California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program.

Nosratilaw – Your California Paternity Law Firm

The addition of a new child to your family is a special time that’s cause for celebration and should never come at the risk of losing your employment status. State and federal laws have been established to protect employees during these times and ensure that they can exercise their right to paternity leave without negative repercussions from their employers.

If you have been victimized by your employer for requiring paternity leave due to welcoming a new child into your family or just have questions regarding your rights as a new father, then please contact our office to schedule an initial consultation and better understand what legal options you are entitled to.


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About the Author
Omid Nosrati

Mr. Nosrati been selected as one of the Top 100 Labor and Employment lawyers in the State of California for 2016, 2017, and 2018 by The American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA). He has a “Superb” (10 out of 10) rating on Avvo and a 4.9 out of 5.0 Peer Rating from other lawyers on Martindale Hubbell. Omid Nosrati is also a member of the respected California Employment Lawyers Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, and Santa Monica Bar Association. He is a firm believer in education, loves to read about technology trends in the legal field and leverages his firm’s technological strengths to benefit each of his firm’s clients.