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California considers expanding family leave rights for workers

Family is a top priority for many San Diego residents. But when a family member becomes seriously ill and needs special care, those who work often struggle to find ways to make sure that their loved ones receive the care that they need and deserve.

One major challenge for many workers in California is being able to take enough time off of work -- without worrying about losing their jobs -- to make sure that they can care for their family. Many employees do have sick time they can take, but in some instances, workers may need to take several weeks or months off of work. Currently, the California Family Rights Act ensures that most workers are able to take up to 12 weeks of medical leave to care for a loved one.

However, current family leave laws could soon be expanded, making it easier for workers in California to care for their loved ones who are sick.

According to reports, the state Assembly recently approved a new bill that loosens the requirements employees must meet in order to take time off of work to care for family members under the state's family leave laws.

Currently, the laws apply to employees who work at companies with 50 or more employees. These employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for minor children, their spouses or their parents. These laws ensure that full-time and part-time workers cannot lose their jobs while using family leave.

However, the bill that was recently passed by the Assembly would also protect those who work at companies that employ 50 or more people to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their adult children, a spouse's parents, grandparents, siblings and even their domestic partners. The bill is now heading to the Senate.

If California expands family medical leave rights, families may finally have some better options when it comes to making sure that their loved ones who are sick receive proper care.

Source: The Orange County Register, "Expanded family leave mandate passes Assembly," Jan Norman, June 8, 2012