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  • Sick employee at work

    California just made history as the second state to require paid sick days for employees! On August 30, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.

    Employees will get three days of sick leave (24 hours) per year

    Starting July 1, 2015, employees in California who work for 30 or more days within a year will be entitled to paid sick leave. They will accrue paid sick time at a rate of one hour per 30 hours worked, to a maximum of 24 hours or 3 days per year. Employees will be permitted to use the time off beginning on the 90th day of employment.

    When can paid sick leave be used?

    An employee will be able to use the paid sick time for:

    1. The employee’s own care – whether for diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition or for preventive care;
    2. Care for the employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling – whether for an existing health condition or for preventive care; and
    3. Certain uses by an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

    Logistics of Using Paid Sick Leave

  • On July 14, 2014, Ramit Mizrahi will be speaking about pregnancy rights and accommodations at the Orange County Bar Association Labor and Employment Section meeting. She will be speaking alongside Nancy Inesta, partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP.

    Here are the details:

    Pregnancy and Beyond: Understanding Workplace Accommodation, Leave, and Lactation Rights

    Description: Multiple laws and regulations protect pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace. Recent regulations and cases have further clarified and expanded upon employers’ obligations to provide accommodations and protections. This panel will cover the most frequent issues that arise in the workplace from early pregnancy through the postpartum period. The panel will address requests for accommodations and transfers both during pregnancy and in the post-postpartum period; pregnancy, childbirth, and baby-bonding leave coverage; understanding job-protected leave vs. paid leave via the EDD; and lactation-related accommodations.

    Date and time: July 14, 2014, 12 p.m.

    Location: Radisson Hotel, 4545 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach, CA 92660

    To register . . . .

  • Family Celebrates 10 years of PFL

    Happy tenth birthday to California’s Paid Family Leave Law! Paid Family Leave (PFL) first went into effect ten years ago today on July 1, 2004. For the past decade, most California workers have been entitled to paid leave when they take time off of work to care for a seriously ill parent, spouse, or child. Coverage was also expanded to cover care for a domestic partner. In addition, parents are entitled to paid leave to bond with a new baby during that first year or to connect with an adopted or foster child.

    With paid family leave, California workers don’t have to choose between caring for a sick loved one and making ends meet. PFL provides for up to six weeks of wage replacement at about 55% of your pay, up to $1067 per week-through California’s Employment Development Department (EDD).

    Today is a special day for PFLL for a second reason: the law, thanks to the passage of SB 770 last year, now provides you with paid leave if you take time off to care for . . . .

  • worker denied disability leave

    This is another post in my series on mistakes employers make. In this post, I discuss employer leave policies–specifically those that impose maximum leave amounts and “no fault” attendance policies–and why they can end up unlawfully denying employees their rights. While this post covers obligations under both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), I will refer to the ADA only with the understanding that it sets the “floor of protection” under the FEHA (and the FEHA, in fact, affords workers greater protections).

    An Inflexible Maximum Leave Policy Violates the ADA

    Many employers have “maximum leave” policies, under which employees are automatically terminated. . . .

  • Here’s a scenario that I come across regularly: A worker with health issues goes out on a medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Her employer tells her that once her FMLA/CFRA leave is exhausted, she will be terminated if she cannot return to work immediately. The worker is unable to return to work at the required date and is fired.

    Big mistake. Here’s why: Even if the worker’s leave is no longer covered by the FMLA/CFRA (or was not covered in the first place), other protections may apply, including those created by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). . . .

  • son kissing his father

    This is the final post in a four-part series on California’s parental and family care leave laws. In the previous posts, I identified and discussed several barriers that prevent workers from taking time off to bond with new babies and care for sick relatives: lack of information about the law, the lack of job protection, and the financial hardship caused by unpaid leave. In this post, I address what I believe is the trickiest barrier: fear by workers that they will be penalized at work for taking job-protected leave.

    A 2012 Department of Labor Survey on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) found that in a given year, among those protected by the FMLA, approximately 13% of workers took FMLA leave while another 5% of workers . . . .

  • Thanksgiving Dinner

    The Mizrahi Law Blog wishes all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving (or, Thanksgivukkah if you are celebrating that!).

    There are so many reasons to be grateful this year. While many of them are personal to each of us, there is one that all of us should celebrate: the expansion of paid family leave to California workers.

    Family leave laws are tremendously important. They allows workers — female and male — to put their families first and take time off to care for them when they are in need. Leave laws are one component in a broader set of laws that protect workers who care for their families, allowing men and women both to lead richer, fuller lives without fear of losing their jobs or being “mommy tracked” or “daddy tracked.” This issue has always been close to my heart, but as a parent myself, it has particular significance. . . .

  • Business talk

    Can you say with confidence if you are eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA), Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), or other laws? Do you know how much time you would be permitted to take off under each of these laws? Do you know the total time you could take off? If you answered anything other than “yes” to these questions, you are like most workers I speak with who don’t yet know what their leave rights are. Read on, and hopefully you will find the information you are looking for.

    This is the third post in a four-part series on California’s parental and family care leave laws. In the first two posts, I identified the barriers that prevent workers from taking time off to bond with new babies and care for sick relatives and discussed two of them: the need for job-protection and the financial hardship caused by unpaid leave. In this post, I address yet another barrier to California workers taking the full leave time to which they are entitled: a lack of knowledge about their rights.

  • Couple Discussing Whether They Can Afford Family Leave

    This is the second post in a four-part series on California’s parental and family care leave laws.

    Last week, I identified the main barriers that prevent workers from taking time off to bond with new babies and care for sick relatives. In that post, I discussed the first barrier—lack of job protection—and covered some of the laws that offer job protections to California employees as well as avenues to expand them. This post discusses the second barrier that prevents employees taking time off from work to care for their child or for another family member: that they cannot financially afford to take the time off from work.

    We have crafted laws that allow for workers to take unpaid leave for caregiving, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). However, many people who have the option of taking job-protected leave cannot do so because of the financial strain caused by unpaid leave.

    What good is job-protected leave if you can’t afford to take it? . . .

  • pregnant worker contemplating her leave

    Will you take family leave?

    California moms: did you know that the majority of you may be eligible for nearly seven months of job-protected time off related to the birth of your child?[1] Did you know that most of your time off would be partially paid—with wage replacement of about 55% of your pay, up to $1067 per week—through California’s Employment Development Department (EDD)?[2]

    Dads: did you know that most of you are eligible for 12 weeks of job-protected leave to bond with your new baby? Did you know that you can take that time off any time within the first year, including in increments? Did you know that up to six weeks of that time would be paid through EDD’s Paid Family Leave program (also 55% of pay up to $1067)?

    Moms and dads: Knowing that, will you take the maximum job-protected leave allowed to you? No? How about the maximum amount of leave that is paid? Why not?

    I have asked dozens of new parents these questions. . . .