Everyone who lives in California should dedicate some time to familiarizing themselves with the Family Act. Businesses that are required to grant leave based on this particular Act are all state governmental agencies and any California business that employs at least five people.
The Act requires the business owner/manager to grant leave to any employee who:
- Has just given birth
- Has just had a child placed with them either through adoption or as part of a foster care program
- Needs to handle the immediate care of an immediate family member who has developed a serious medical condition and can not be left unattended for an extended period of time
- An individual who has developed a health condition and needs time to recover (this doesn’t include pregnancy)
- Military reasons
One of the big things the Act does is make it impossible for employers to utilize preference or discriminatory reasons when it comes to who does and doesn’t get left. Now that the Act is in place, anyone who requires the time off for the reasons included in the Emergency Family Act must be given the time they require to adapt to discover their new normal.
You’re not allowed to simply walk up to your manager one day and say that you need time off because of the California Family Rights Act. Whenever possible, such as when you’re anticipating a baby, you should try to provide your employer with at least 30 days advanced warning so that they can make the necessary adjustments to the schedule. If thirty days advanced warning isn’t enough, do try to alert your employer to the situation as soon as possible.
Your employer is legally allowed to require a written certification from a suitable professional that basically confirms your need for the time off. In health-related cases, this proof should come from the attending doctor. If the emergency relates to a pending adoption or the arrival of a foster child, the connected agency should provide the proof your employer requires. While the employer is allowed to request proof that you need the time off, they aren’t allowed to ask for specific details.
While your employer can require that you use some of your paid sick days during the emergency time off, they aren’t allowed to demand that you use any vacation days. Your employer is also required to keep up with your group health benefits, including the portion of the cost that the employer’s shoulders.
When you’re using the Family Rights Act to get time off of work so you can deal with a situation at home, you’re entitled to a full twelve weeks. Most importantly, your employer has to hold your position for the entire twelve weeks.
If you suspect you’re going to need to invoke the California Family Rights Act in the near future, you should talk to your employer now, so everyone is prepared for the situation and can handle it in a stress-free manner.