If you’re thinking about taking parental leave from work, how much time are you allowed to take? Recent additions to the California Family Rights Act could now make you eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid protected leave.
Upon the employee’s request, the New Parent Leave Act (SB 63) would make it unlawful for an employer, who employs at least 20 employees within a 75-mile radius, to refuse up to 12 weeks of parental leave upon the request of an employee that has worked with that employer for over a year, and in the previous 12-month period has worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer.
This act also enables the employee to consult with the employer about using any accrued vacation pay, or other accrued paid time off or paid sick time available during the period the employee does wants to take the leave. The new Act protects the employee if they wish to use this time for adoption, placement for foster care, or to bond with a new child within one year of their birth
If the employer uses a group health plan, the employer must maintain the coverage for the employee during the leave, for up to 12 weeks during a 12 month period. Coverage must be provided at the same level as if the employee had not taken the leave. However, the employer may recover the premiums paid by the employer if the employee fails to return from their leave and the reason for the failure to return is due to the onset, continuation or the recurrence of a serious health issue or due to other events beyond their control.
The employer must provide a guarantee to the employee, either on or before the employee actually takes the leave, that the same position (or a comparable one) is available to them once they return. From the date the employee takes their leave, the employer must continue to maintain and pay for coverage under the conditions and under the same level as if the employee continued to work at his/her position.
Under the new law, if an employee decides to use their right to parental leave, the employer would be potentially committing an unlawful employment practices if they interfere with the employee’s right to take the leave.
Sacramento, CA 95821