Understanding Leave Of Absence In California

Understanding Leave Of Absence In California
Understanding Leave Of Absence In California

Every employee in California has the right to receive some time off work. According to the law, when an employee has a medical problem or a loved one to care for, they can take some time away from work which may be paid or unpaid.

When it comes to an employee being granted a leave of absence, there must be a definitive agreement with the employer. The agreement has to state that the employer is not to terminate the employee due to the leave, even if the employee’s services have been suspended for a period of time. If an employee takes a leave of absence under such an agreement and the employer takes an adverse action, the employee has a right to file a claim.

 What Is Leave Of Absence?

A leave of absence is when an employee gets time off work for a certain period of time. The leave must be requested by the employee in dire need of covering special cases in their life. Leave of absence can either be mandatory or voluntary. When an employee is granted a leave of absence in an agreement, he /she doesn’t have to earn wages but this ensures that the employee has job continuity. You can take a leave of absence to take care of:

  • A newborn child
  • A seriously ill parent, child, or spouse
  • Your own health condition such as having a temporary incapacity due to an injury or sickness
  • Specific assignment by a government agency
  • To attend a school or any other training to improve qualifications for your services.
  • For any pending disability retirement

The rules for granting leave of absence are found in the Californian Department of Human Resource. Before an employee is given a leave of absence, they must be advised on the many possibilities they may exercise which may include, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Non-industrial Disability Leave (NDI), or maybe provided with a leave program following a financial hardship due to sickness or injury suffered. One of the most challenging concepts in employment law relates to leaving of absence. To win in such a case, one would require hiring an employment law attorney in California.

 When Does The Law protect Leave Of Absence?

Though your employer is not supposed to pay for any time off work by federal law, the state law may be lenient to allow a set policy where the employer would be willing to pay you a salary for the period off work. Some of the areas where your leave of absence may be legally protected include:

  • Voting: If your job doesn’t provide an opportunity for you to vote due to the nature of your job, you should be allowed time to vote. However, only a maximum of two hours can be paid. If you need extra time to vote, you should request your employer in advance.
  • Military leave: Military leave is granted to military force employees for either specified or unspecified duration of time. To be granted military leave, you have to give advance notice. When an employee goes on military leave and goes back to their previous position, the employer should welcome them back without retaliation or discrimination.
  • Jury duty: This leave can either be paid or unpaid. Your employer doesn’t have to provide you with the leave for your jury duty service. However, it can get complicated if your employer tries to fire or penalize you for serving jury duty.
  • Literacy education leaves: This is granted to an employee who proves to have issues with literacy. In such a case, the employer should provide reasonable accommodation to the employee who proves to have a problem with literacy. The employer cannot discriminate, refuse to rehire, or demote an employee because of taking the above leave.

If an employer takes adverse action against an employee because of taking any of the above leave, the employee may file a claim. When such illegal acts are proven, an employee can be entitled to reimbursement of lost wages, attorney costs, among other work benefits.  However, the law related to the above is based on the number of employees working in a given company and the duties allocated to such employees.

When To Work With An Employment Lawyer

When filing a lawsuit, you have to differentiate between a voluntary and mandatory leave of absence. Voluntary leave of absence requires that employers include such in the leave policy. The employer has no right to offer job protection when an employee engages himself/herself in a voluntary leave of absence. Meaning any job protection is based on employer discretion. But when a leave of absence is mandatory, your employer is required to continue paying salary. It’s paramount to work with an experienced employment lawyer who has experienced in leave of absence in such a case. If you have a case, it would help to discuss it with a skilled employment lawyer in California.