As a dedicated employee, you try to show up for your job even when you aren’t feeling the best. However, there are likely times when forcing yourself to go into work is a mistake for both you and the people you love.
Thankfully, even if your employer doesn’t offer you any kind of paid leave, there are both California state aa well as federal laws that protect your right to take unpaid time off from your job. At the federal level, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) authorizes 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
The California state law, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), mirrors and somewhat expands the federal program. You can take leave both for your own medical needs and for family reasons, like welcoming a new member to your family.
You need time to adjust to your growing family
Changes in family circumstances can be difficult adjustments. As long as you have worked for your employer for at least 12 months and put in the minimum number of hours required, you can ask for unpaid leave when you have a new child.
Mothers who have just given birth can qualify for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth of their child. However, it isn’t just childbirth that qualifies you to take unpaid family leave. You can also ask for time off if you have just adopted a child or secured the foster placement of a child into your home. Your employer should allow your leave and your return to the same position and compensation after it.
Understanding your leave rights will make it easier to stand up for yourself if your employer tries to violate them when you need an unpaid leave of absence.