A new law regarding parental leave took effect in California at the beginning of this year that may help you form a stronger bond with your child. If your employer meets certain criteria, he or she must now allow you to take at least 12 weeks of parental leave within one year of you birthing, fostering or adopting a child.
Called the New Parent Leave Act, the bill asserts that eligible parties must receive 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their new child without having to worry about losing their job or insurance while doing so.
Your employer in California must uphold the terms of the New Parent Leave Act if he or she employs somewhere between 20 and 49 employees that all work within 75 miles of one another. For you to qualify for the New Parent Leave Act, you must have worked for your employer for at least one full year before taking your leave, and you must also have devoted at least 1,250 hours of service to your employer during the 12 months preceding your leave.
The act does not, however, apply to you if both the Family Medical Leave Act and the Moore-Brown-Roberti Family Rights Act already do, and this is likely the case if you work for a company that has 50 or more employees.
In addition to granting you 12 weeks of unpaid leave to form a bond with your child, your employer must also continue to provide insurance coverage to you in the manner he or she would, should you not have taken parental leave. If, however, your employer continues to provide you with insurance, but you do not return to work after your leave period ends for a reason other than a serious health condition or something beyond your control, you may have to pay your employer back.
If your employer meets the criteria for the New Parent Leave Act, he or she has no other choice than to grant it to you. An employer that attempts to retaliate against you for taking this leave is likely running afoul of the law.