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What is the Family Sick Leave Law in California?

The Family Sick Leave Law was introduced in 2000, and gives employees the right to take paid sick leave in order to care for a sick family member, most typically their child.

It requires that every employer who offers paid sick leave to his or her employees must allow them to use up to 50 percent of their yearly sick leave for these purposes without question.

What does the law mean by "family member?"

Many people are curious about how far the term "family member" can stretch in regard to this law. Does it mean that you can take paid time off to look after a second cousin that fell ill? Unfortunately this is not possible. The law specifies that the employee can only take this time off work in order to care for a child, spouse or parent. This does include stepchildren, and stepparents, but does not include your right to care for your spouse's parents, for example.

Can the sick leave be taken at any time without notice?

Of course, it is often not possible to give notice for a time that your child or parent may fall ill and need to be cared for. Therefore, it is possible to take this sick leave at any time that it is required of you. There have been instances of conflict in these requests, but usually the employee has the right to his or her sick leave.

As an employee, it is important that you educate yourself on the rights that you have to take sick leave in order to care for your family member, especially if your employer is acting with resistance.

Source: Findlaw, "California's New "Family Sick Leave" Law," accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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