There are certain situations where California employees need to take time off work to be with family. In some cases, people get seriously sick and need time to recover, or they have a baby or a family member becomes gravely ill and needs care. In these situations, California employees can be put in a difficult position. They may have to choose to go without a paycheck in order to help a seriously ill member of their family. In some cases, it may cause serious financial stress and put a person’s job in jeopardy.

Under the Family Medical Leave Act – a federal employment law – some employees may be able to take time off work without fear of losing their jobs. Under the FMLA, workers can take up to 12 unpaid weeks of leave from work to care for a new baby or a very sick relative without fear of losing their jobs. However, the FMLA only applies to some employees.

However, the state of California has recently expanded its own leave act which covers almost all employees. Under this new legislation, people who take time off of work to care for sick siblings, grandparents, parents-in-law or grandchildren will now be eligible for some partial replacement of their pay. Under the expanded legislation, these workers can receive up to 55 percent of their wages from a state fund.

The original leave act was passed in 2002 and allowed people to receive some compensation for taking care of a sick parent, spouse, domestic partner or child. The current law also offers wage replacement for workers who take time off after having or adopting a child.

When California workers need to take time off from work, they should know they have legal rights. These rights should be respected by California employers.

Source: Business Insurance, “California expands paid family leave law,” Jerry Geisel, Sept. 25, 2013