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The California New Parent Leave Act

Employers in California are subject to the New Parent Leave Act, which allows qualified workers to take unpaid leave to bond with their children. To qualify, you must have worked over 1,250 hours in a year for a company with more than fifty workers within a seventy-five-mile radius. The law prohibits your employer from retaliating against or firing you for taking the leave. However, California family laws are complicated and ever-changing. Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer takes pride in being available for clients whenever they need us most. We can help you understand the new family law and what is required of you. We can also fight for your rights if you believe your employer treated you unjustly after taking your leave.

Understanding the California New Parent Leave Act (NPLA)

The NPLA was repealed by Senate Bill 1382 because its provisions are now in the California Family Rights Act, which applies to companies with at least five employees.

Workers, fathers, and mothers meet the criteria for work leave if the following is true:

  • Work within a 75-mile radius at a workplace with about 20 workers.
  • Worked for about 12 months for an employer who is covered.
  • Have worked 1250 hours during the last twelve months before obtaining parental leave.

Workers' off-time per this act is available to workers not under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and CFRA. If these two acts govern your employer, they guide a worker's rights.

Even if the new infant is an adopted, biological, or foster child, it is worth noting that you are entitled to parental leave.

Your Employer’s Coverage Under the California Act

In addition to an employee’s eligibility, the employer has to be covered. An employer is liable to the NPLA if:

  • They have twenty or more workers.
  • Your boss is within California or a subdivision of the state, no matter the number of workers.

Your employer's eligibility is crucial because if they are not, you are not allowed parental leave per the Act. The employer should be at a similar level of coverage, though the worker kept working.

Definitions of Key Legal Terms and Phrases

To gain a better understanding of the NPLA, here are definitions of significant legal terms:

  • Child — A biological, foster, stepchild, adopted, legal ward, or child of an individual standing in loco parentis who is either below eighteen or an adult dependent child.
  • Employer —It can be any individual directly hiring personnel to perform services for a salary or even the state.

How to Request Your Leave

Different companies have different ways of going about it.

The firm’s procedures and rules for requesting leave are found on your company’s official website or employee handbook. Ensure you fill in the relevant information correctly; your employer will use it to determine whether you qualify for your NPLA leave. If the organization does not have a request form, submit your written request to the human resources department with the duration you need to be away.

After making your request, your boss should respond within a reasonable period of time. They can approve, deny the request, or ask for more information. If they deny the request, they should give you a written explanation of their decision.

If your boss denies your request and you believe it was unjustified, consult legal counsel. Your lawyer will review the case facts and advise you accordingly.

How the Family and Medical Leave Act Works with New Parent Leave Act

The FMLA is a federal statute that significantly resembles the NPLA. Your leave could run concurrently for twelve weeks if you qualify for both.

However, the critical difference is that NPLA applies to firms with over twenty employees, while FMLA applies to organizations with over 50 workers.

Your Legal Rights as a Worker Under the NPLA

Per the Act, you are assured of:

  • A health plan covers during their leave.
  • A total of twelve weeks of work-guaranteed parental leave.
  • Employment after reporting back to either a comparable or similar job position.

The health plan cover is maintained the whole time the worker is on leave to safeguard the infant's and mother’s health.

How It Works if Both Parents Work For a Single Employer

If the parents are under a single employer, they can receive parental leave, but their employer is not obligated to grant time off exceeding 12 weeks for both.

Nevertheless, you could be eligible for family leave under the FMLA or CFRA Acts.

Receiving Your Previous Job Back

In some instances, your former job is not available anymore following your reporting for work. If that applies to you, the new position should be similar as follows:

  • It offers the same job benefits.
  • Provides an equivalent salary or hourly rate.
  • Requires identical responsibilities.
  • Needs the same education and experience.
  • Does not equate to a demotion.

Getting Paid While on Parental Leave

While your leave is unpaid, the law requires your employer to continue paying your health insurance throughout the leave.

Workers are given paid family time off but can use accumulated time, including:

  • Sick time.
  • Vacation pay.
  • Other paid leaves accumulated while working for the company.

Employers are prohibited from:

  • Preventing their workers from using accrued leaves.
  • Requiring workers to spend their paid leave.

It safeguards your rights as you look after and spend quality time with your family.

It is also against the law for your employer to refuse or curtail a worker’s rights as enshrined in the California Act. It includes engaging in the following:

  • Fines.
  • Wrongful termination.
  • Denial of employment.
  • Harassment.
  • Refusal to promote.
  • Discrimination.

If your employer breaches the law, they are subject to their actions and any damage done to you.

How Maternity Leave and Paternity Leave Differ

Under California law, the employer should offer the same periods of paternal leave to their male and female workers. Doing anything different is discrimination based on gender.

An employer offering more maternity time off than paternity leave violates Title VII, the federal law forbidding discrimination, and California laws on discrimination. Your employer might be operating on outdated policies or unknowingly dealing with workers in a discriminatory manner regarding parental leave.

No matter the reasons for the discriminatory policy, you can raise queries immediately with your human resources manager. It is better to get clarity before time instead of ending up in a battle to prolong your leave or miss the opportunity to spend quality time with your bundle of joy.

Starting a Workplace Claim Against Your Employer

If you believe that a violation of your rights has occurred, you should do the following:

Consult Your Employer

Your initial step should involve discussing the matter with your manager. An honest discussion can sort out complaints or air out your differences. Many companies operate within stipulated laws to prevent legal entanglements.

Unless your employer is antagonistic and uncaring, you will be, due to a misunderstanding, poor oversight, and inadequate legal knowledge.

When presenting the matter to your supervisor, the following tips can help:

  • Understand your rights — If you know your worker's rights before the conversation with your employer, you can confidently present your case. Consequently, if the employer breaks the law by accident or through ignorance, you could inform them of what is wrong.
  • Avoid being overly emotional — Handling a workplace problem can take its toll, but baseless allegations and emotional explosions are unhelpful when communicating your issue. If your work is at risk, do not escalate the situation by giving in to anger. Exercise your presentation ahead of time to ensure you stay calm and professional.
  • Base your argument on facts — Before engaging your employer, briefly write a summary of your issues and your suggestions for a resolution. It could be helpful to have someone more objective, like a loved one or friend, evaluate the case facts and help you develop practical solutions. Ensure you do not omit vital facts. Review your documents to recollect figures, dates, and events correctly.
  • Maintain confidentiality — Deliberations about workplace problems are best handled privately. Employment matters can be upsetting and divisive, not just for the involved parties but for other workers, too. You do not want accusations of turning the workplace environment toxic or making coworkers take sides. Request a meeting to address your issues privately with your manager or supervisor.
  • Determine your next action steps — Agree on what should happen before concluding your discussion. Will the employer investigate the matter? Will the boss address your workmates or manager? Will evaluations, work duties, or reporting relations be changed?.
  • Keep tracking the resolution progress — Ensure you remain in touch upon speaking to our boss. If the employer promised to look into the problem or address your coworkers, keep track of the progress status. Following several weeks' elapses, schedule another discussion to discuss the progress made in sorting out your issue and the required action.

Document the Issue

On top of discussing issues with the manager, safeguard yourself through documentation. Record the key events and conversations in writing, including the date, time, and names of those in attendance. Collect records supporting your version of the story, like offer letters, company policies, memoranda, performance evaluations, employee handbooks, emails, and other correspondence.

Be mindful, nevertheless, to gather just those records you are legally entitled to. Copying or taking records, even those relating to your issue, could lead to firing and compromising your legitimate case.

If your colleagues heard or witnessed those incidents that led to the dispute, like a harassing comment, a verbal performance evaluation, or a search of your workstation, request they document what they heard and saw in dated and signed written statements.

Consider Taking Legal Measures

If your boss does not resolve your complaint or you get demoted or dismissed, you should pursue legal redress. In doing so, you should examine your motive, evidence, and whether you are ready to use the time and resources required by the judicial process.

You should also consider the following:

  • How tight is your case? — In legal matters, the success of a claim rests on how strong the evidence is. To win a claim, you have to prove with documents that there was a violation of your rights. Strong suspicions or feelings are different from evidence. Contact a knowledgeable employment attorney to discover how strong your claims are and if you stand a winning chance.
  • What outcome are you seeking? — If you are angry, pursuing revenge, or seeking to prove to people that you were right, remember that emotions like that do not provide suitable grounds for a civil suit and can cause you to make poor decisions moving forward. If you require simple things, like a recommendation letter or a backdated retro pay raise, try engaging your boss on those issues.
  • Can you afford the suit? — Prosecuting claims is time-consuming; you can better spend the time seeking and achieving at your new workplace. Civil suits also require resources. If you have a strong case, you can find an attorney willing to represent you on a contingency basis, whereby the attorney fees are deducted from what the court awards. Even if that is the case, you should cover the filing costs of bringing the claim to court, which are substantial. The contingency fee can be between 25 and 40 percent of the received amount.

If you still progress with the lawsuit, ensure you satisfy your case’s filing deadlines for filing specific claims, going from weeks to a few years. Working with an attorney can assist you in meeting the deadlines and filing your claim correctly.

What Occurs If You Choose Not to Report Back to Work After Your Leave?

You are not lawfully required to report back to work following your leave. You can relinquish your employment at any time for whatever reason, as there are several reasons to keep your job. Unless a contract requires you to work for a specified duration, you are an at-will worker.

Legally, you are not required to offer a notice before resigning. However, giving your employer at least a two-week notice is a courtesy. Per the NPLA, companies should keep your job while you are on leave. Therefore, the earlier you notify them of your departure, the faster they can search for your replacement.

If you do not report back to your workplace, you could lose some benefits, although others could remain. For instance, if you had health insurance coverage before the leave, your employer can continue giving you the benefit during the leave. However, if you decide to resign after your NPLA, your boss can legally seek reimbursement. While only some employers will exercise this entitlement, knowing it is a possibility is crucial.

Do You Qualify for Unemployment Benefits If You Resign During Your Leave?

You do not qualify for unemployment benefits if you voluntarily quit your job. That means quitting during your leave disqualifies you from obtaining unemployment benefits.

However, California has generous laws that allow you to be eligible for unemployment benefits if you have a good cause. Examples of good causes include the following:

Domestic violence-related reasons, like relocating with your children to flee from your abuser

  • Medical reasons — California offers unemployment benefits if you quit because of an injury, illness, or disability. You can also qualify for benefits due to a loved one’s medical condition.
  • Constructive damage — This happens when your work situation is so intolerable that you have to resign. For instance, you are forced to work in hazardous conditions or subjected to discrimination based on your religion, race, gender, or sex.
  • You took another job that did not materialize.
  • You are relocating with your spouse.

Attempts to Resolve the Bone of Contention Before Resigning

To prove a good cause for quitting, you must first attempt to preserve your employment relationship. Generally, you are disqualified from receiving the benefits if you quit at the initial indication of trouble without taking the necessary measures to resolve the matter.

If you are quitting for work-related reasons, like hazardous working conditions, you should notify your boss and allow them to fix it. If you are quitting for personal reasons, you can request workplace accommodation or a transfer from your employer.

Typically, you have a right to unemployment benefits if your endeavors to address the concerns prove futile and you still want to quit.

Find a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney Near Me

California employers with at least 20 workers should abide by the provisions of the NPLA. To qualify, you must also have worked with the firm for a year for more than 1,250 hours, and your workplace has 50 workers within a 75-mile radius. The leave allows you to bond and spend time with your children. On top of your 12-week unpaid leave, your employer should pay your health benefits.

NPLA is something you should be well-versed in. To understand your rights, consult the experienced family law attorneys at Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer for counsel and guidance. You can also reach out if you believe your employer denies you what you are legally entitled to. We know how this family law works and can determine whether you have a case, file your claim with the relevant agency, and protect your rights. Please contact us at 310-695-5212 to schedule your initial, no-obligation consultation. During the consultation, we can listen to your side of the story, review your case, address your concerns, and answer your questions.



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