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New California Family Medical Leave Act law: Domestic disputes

There are many reasons that California employees can legally request time off from work. Commonly, laws concerning the Family Medical Leave Act apply to maternity or paternity leave or to employees who are caring for other family members. However, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a new employment law into effect that requires employers to notify their employees of their rights to take leave due to domestic violence.

Per the law signed on September 14, 2016, Brown expanded employer notice requirements to include written notification to employees of the rights to request protected leave in cases of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault. This new law would require employers to inform employees of their rights upon hire and at any other time upon request. It is important to note that this bill only applies to employers who have 25 or more employees.

During the interim in which employers are required to comply with the new law, the government requests that employers review their policies on the existing rules regarding domestic violence leave. According to current laws, employees in California have the right to take time off for sexual assault, stalking or domestic violence when they notify their employer appropriately. This includes requesting time off for obtaining services from a domestic violence shelter or rape crisis center, seeking medical attention for injuries, obtaining psychological services or participating in safety planning (including temporary or permanent relocation.)

Unfortunately, this is a part of California's Family Medical Leave Act law that many companies and its employees are unaware. Employees who are dealing with domestic violence and are denied time off from work may wish to seek the counsel of a qualified employment law attorney. Attorneys who are experienced in this area of law will be able to assist their clients in achieving justice and financial stability during this difficult time.

Source: The National Law Review, "California Employers Must Provide Written Notice of Right to Take Domestic Violence Leave", Sept. 20, 2016

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