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California workers protected by many leave laws

In order to make sure employees rights are not violated by their employers when they take time off of work for an illness or to care for a family member who is sick, workers should have a basic knowledge of state and federal laws regarding the use of lawful leave rights.

Employees in California, for example, are protected by several different leave laws. These laws are important because they are meant to protect an employee's job while he or she is on maternity leave or taking time off of work because of a disability. Some employees may not realize that they can even take time off of work to vote without worrying about whether or not they will be fired for doing so.

Some important leave laws California workers are protected under

The California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDL) allows an employee the option to work part-time and does not require a minimum amount of hours worked while using the leave. It also says the employer must return the worker to her position she held before taking time off for medical issues related to pregnancy and childbirth. This law protects an employee for up to 16 weeks. The 16 weeks are unpaid.

Workers are also protected under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which makes sure people with disabilities are treated fairly in the workplace and makes sure that employers appropriately accommodate employees with disabilities.

California also protects workers taking leaves under the California Paid Family Leave (PFL). This law allows eligible employees to receive up to six weeks of wages in order to take care of a partner, spouse or child who is ill. However, the employer is not required to give the employee the same job reinstatement rights as some other leave laws do.

Similar to the PFL, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) allows employees to take leaves of absences for serious health conditions that include their registered domestic partner. The law does not, however, include military leaves or medical conditions because of pregnancy or childbirth.

California workers should also be aware of laws including school-related leaves, emergency duty leaves and crime victims leave rights. If an individual has been fired for taking time off of work but believes that he or she should have been protected by state and federal leave laws, the employee may want to consider speaking with an attorney in order to hold the employer accountable for violating the employee's rights.

Source: Business Management Daily, "The dozen leave laws California employers must know," Feb. 19, 2012