Although it doesn’t seem like a lot has changed in the New Year, it’s important to know that 2018 brought a number of new and reformed laws into the workplace. One law that has changed is parental leave for new parents.
Working parents can now take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to spend time with their new child. This includes mothers and fathers of biological, foster, and adopted children.
Although this time off is technically unpaid, you’re allowed to use your vacation time, sick leave, or any other time-off benefits you have accrued until you run out. This gives you the opportunity to relax and worry less about your finances while you are bonding with the newest addition to your family. Once these benefits are used up, then the rest of the 12 weeks is unpaid.
Even though the law includes new protections, you still have to qualify to get this time off. Below are the qualifications:
- You have to be employed at your job for at least a year;
- Worked at least 1,250 hours during your previous year of employment; AND
- Your employer must have at least 20 employees working for them. So, if you work for a company with less than 20 employees, this time off may not be available to you.
But don’t forget, while you’re out of work, it’s important that you keep up with any benefits coverage you receive through work, such as health insurance. It’s your employer’s responsibility to still provide you with coverage during this period of leave, but benefits usually come out of your paycheck. If you are taking unpaid time off, you will need to pay out of pocket for any benefits you are still receiving during your time off. Luckily, you only have to pay for what you’re usually responsible for when it comes out of your paycheck.
Once your 12 weeks are up and you return to work, your employer is required to put you in the same position you were in before you left, or one that is comparable to your previous position. It is possible that your employer needed to hire a replacement while you were gone, so you may be in a different position when you return. Just make sure it is similar to your previous position and that you are happy with your new position.
The revisions to California’s Parental Leave law has been a long time coming, and we’re hoping that it will help fight inequality in the workplace. It is unlawful for an employer to deny an employee this right. If you are eligible and your employer is not letting you take this time off, contact us at PARRIS for a free case consultation. We will guide you and make sure you take the right step toward getting the time off you deserve to spend with your new child.