Leave of Absence

California law provides several different protections for employees who require a leave of absence. The following are the types of leaves of absence that are provided by California Law. Some of the leaves depend on the employees employment status and/or the size of the employer.


Pursuant to California Government Code section 12940, et seq., Employers with 5 or more employees have an affirmative duty to engage in the interactive process with disabled employees and to provide all disabled employees, regardless of the amount of time the employee has worked for the employer, a reasonable accommodation, including unpaid time off due to the physical disability, mental disability or medical condition or to a woman who is disabled because of a pregnancy (or due to a pregnancy related physical and mental condition). 

A leave of absence under FEHA has no fixed duration, so long as it is not indefinite. 
A leave of absence under FEHA may still be required after exhaustion of FMLA/CFRA leave. 


Employers with 5 or more employees must provide all employees, regardless of the amount of time worked for the employee, with up to four months ( four months equals 17⅓ weeks) of unpaid job protected time off, which may be taken before or after birth during any period of time the woman is physically or mentally disabled by pregnancy, or due to childbirth or due to a pregnancy related medical condition that prevents the employee from performing the essential duties of her job, or if her job would cause undue risk to her or her pregnancy’s successful completion. 

Examples of pregnancy disability include: 

  • Severe morning sickness.
  • Time off for prenatal or postnatal care.
  • Doctored ordered bed rest.
  • Gestational diabetes.
  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension.
  • Preeclampsia.
  • Post-partum depression.
  • Lactation conditions such as mastitis.
  • Loss or end of pregnancy.
  • Recovery from loss or end of pregnancy. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 11035(f)).
An employee is not required to take all of the PDL leave at once. The employee may take PDL all at once or “intermittently.” Intermittent PDL is taking leave in small increments, which can be hours, days, weeks or months. This could mean taking a few hours off every day, or taking a few days or weeks off at a time.  
PDL can be taken before or after birth if the woman is unable to work due to her pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions. 
PDL leave is in addition to any other leave for which the employee may be eligible under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA), or the employer’s leave policies. This means that if the employee is still disabled after the four months of PDL, she may be eligible for leave under FEHA or 12 additional weeks for CFRA leave or NPLA leave for baby bonding (assuming the leave is taken in the 1st year of the baby’s birth) 
If an employee has restrictions due to her pregnancy, the employee may be entitled to accommodations, such as modified work duties or temporary transfer to a less strenuous position, to allow her to perform her job. 
PDL leave can be paid leave if the employer pays other employees for disability leave. 


Employers with 50 or more employees with in a 75-mile radius must provide employees who have (a) worked for the employer for 12 months; and (b) worked for the employer for at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months prior to the need for the leave, with up to 12 weeks (during a 12-month period) of unpaid job protected leave due to: 

  • The birth and care of a newborn child or placement of an adopted or foster child with an employee.
  • To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition.
Unlike FMLA, CFRA includes registered domestic partners. 
  • The employee’s own serious health condition (including incapacity due to pregnancy).
Under CFRA, pregnancy is not a serious health condition. Instead, look at PDL 

What is a Serious Health Condition: A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that causes or requires:

  • Any period of incapacity (unable to work) or treatment in connection with, or after inpatient care;
  • Any period of incapacity requiring absence from work, school, or other regular daily activities, of more than 3 consecutive calendar days;
  • Ongoing treatment by or under the supervision of a health care provider for a chronic or long-term health condition that is incurable;
  • Restorative dental or plastic surgery after an accident or injury
Leave taken by an employee under CFRA runs concurrently with FMLA leave, except where leave is taken under FMLA for disability due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. In other words, an employee who exhausts FMLA (and PDL) leave for a pregnancy-related disability is still entitled to leave under CFRA in order to bond with a newborn child. 
Routine preventive physical examinations are excluded. 
An eligible employee does not need to take their 12-week leave in one block of time. The leave may be taken all at once or on an “intermittent” or “as needed” basis. The FMLA defines intermittent leave as leave taken in separate blocks of time because of a single illness or injury. Examples include leave taken to attend medical appointments or the time taken by a pregnant employee for severe morning sickness or prenatal examinations. 
FMLA/CFRA protects the employee’s job in the company or a similar position. 


Employers with 20-49 employees within in a 75-mile radius must provide employees who have (a) worked for the employer for 12 months and (b) worked for the employer for at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months 12 weeks of unpaid job protected time off to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. 

NPLA is solely for baby bonding. 
NPLA is not available to employees who are subject to both the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). 
NPLA runs concurrently with Paid Family Leave (PFL) but PDL and NPLA do not run concurrently. Therefore, an employee cannot begin to use NPLA until the employee is no longer disabled by pregnancy. NPLA cannot begin until PDL ends.


If the employee is entitled to State Disability Insurance (SDI), both parents are entitled to 6 weeks of unprotected Paid Family Leave benefits or temporary disability insurance, which is approximately 55% of the employee’s earnings, to take time off from work to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, parent-in-law, or registered domestic partner, or to bond with a new child. 


If an employee has SDI withheld from his or her paycheck, the employee may be eligible to Disability Insurance (DI) payments. Pregnant women are eligible for payment for up to 4 weeks before and 8 weeks after childbirth. 


All employees who work in California for at least 30 days in a year are eligible to mandatory paid sick leave for any diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care of for themselves or for the employee’s family member, which is defined as spouse, domestic partner, parent (biological, adoptive, or foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian), child (biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis), parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, and sibling.

Paid sick leave may also be used for an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. 

After 30 days of employment, the employee accrues paid sick leave at the rate of not less than one hour per every 30 hours worked, which the employer can cap at 48 hours or 6 days. An employer can provide unlimited paid sick leave if it wants to.
The accrued sick pay must carry over from year to year but the employer can limit the use of paid sick leave to 24 hours or 3 days per year. However, if the employer provides the full 24 hours or 3 days at the start of the employment or the start of each year, or the 12-month period, the sick leave does not rollover.
Although, time starts to accrue after 30 days of employment, there is a 90-day waiting period for employees to start using accrued sick leave.
If the employee only needs a small increment of time, the employer must provide the sick leave in at least two-hour increments.
If the employee has not accrued paid sick leave or has used all of his or her paid sick leave and needs time off for additional absences the employee may eligible for other leave laws or unpaid sick leave, if the employer provides unpaid sick leave. If the employee is not eligible for any other type of leave, the employer can discipline the employee.
Unless the employer has an unlimited PRO policy, the employer must report on the employee’s pay stub how much paid leave the employee has accrued and how much paid leave the employee has to use.
If the employer already had a paid time off plan prior to 2015, the employer can use that “grandfather” plan if the employer’s pre-existing policy allows the employee to use paid sick leave available for the same purposes and conditions.
Interaction with FMLA/CFRA Leave. An employee may choose, or the employer may require the employee, to use accrued paid sick leave while the employee is on FMLA/CFRA leave. The time off will still count against the employee’s overall FMLA/CFRA leave entitlement.

KIN CARE LAW (Labor Code § 233)

Kin Care leave and Paid Sick Leave (PTO) are very similar. Kin Care provides that employees are able to use up an amount not less than what he or she accrues in six months for the same reasons set forth under Paid Sick Leave Law.  

What is The Labor Commissioner’s Opinion


DLSE Opinion. Letter No.

Labor Code § 233: Sick leave to attend to family





Labor Code Section 230.8

Employers with 25 or more employees must provide 8 hours per month or 40 hours of unpaid leave each year for “child related activities” to parents, stepparents, foster parents, grandparents or guardians with children attending a licensed day care facility, kindergarten or grades 1 to 12. 

Child related activities include the following reasons: 

  • To enroll the child.
  • To deal with a school emergency, such as a natural disaster.
  • To deal with a childcare provider.
  • For disciplinary problems.

Under Labor Code section 230.7, the parent or guardian of any size employer is also entitled to time off if the parent or guardian has provided reasonable notice to the employer that the school has requested the parent or guardian to appear at school.

Labor Code §230(a)

Labor Code Section 230.8

Employers must provide employees time off to serve on a jury. 


Labor Code §230(b)

An employer must provide an employee who is a victim of a crime with time off to appear in court or to be a witness in any proceeding.  


Labor Code section 230 (c)

An employer must provide an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking time off from work to allow the employee to obtain relief, such as going to see his or her attorney, to go to court or to the police. Under Labor Code section 230.1, an employer with more than 25 employees shall provide a victim employee with additional time off. 


Labor Code §230.2

All employers must provide an employee who is a victim of a violent felony or serious felony or whose immediate family member (spouse, child, stepchild, brother, stepbrother, sister, stepsister, mother, stepmother, father, or stepfather) is a victim of a violent felony or serious felony, time off in order to attend judicial proceedings related to that crime.


Labor Code §230.3

Employers must provide employees time off to perform emergency duty as a volunteer firefighter, a reserve peace officer, or emergency rescue personnel. If the employer has more than 50 employees, the employee is entitled to a 14 days of protected leave. 


If you need additional information regarding your leave of absence rights such as FMLA or you have been the victim of retaliation, discrimination or termination because you have requested to take a leave of absence in the workplace, it is imperative that you speak to a qualified Los Angeles employment attorney who successfully represented the rights of employees. Please contact Los Angeles Family Leave Attorney Morris Nazarian by calling (310) 284-7333 to make an appointment for a free initial consultation or please fill out the Employment Law Case Evaluation Form and we will call or email you as soon as possible.