Paid Leave Programs Available to Californians

Both California and the federal government offer a variety of leave programs to support workers when they or a family member are sick. These include:

  • California Paid Family Leave
  • California Paid Sick Leave
  • FFCRA Emergency Paid Sick Leave (federal)
  • FFCRA Emergency Paid Family & Medical Leave

The linked chart was developed around COVID but provides an excellent overview of the various programs available.  Comparison Chart of Leave Programs

Additional leave programs include:

California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

PDL entitles eligible employees of covered employers (with five or more employees) to take up to four months of unpaid, job-protected leave for disability during pregnancy and/or childbirth, with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. An employer must maintain the employee’s position or a similar position to which the employee may return at the conclusion of his/her leave.

PDL only applies during a period of disability where a doctor has established that the employee is unable to work due to pregnancy, childbirth and/or a related medical condition. This leave runs concurrently with FMLA, but not CFRA. Therefore, an employee could take up to four months for pregnancy disability/FMLA leave and still have another 12 weeks of protected leave under CFRA for bonding with a new child or to care for the employee’s/family members’ serious medical condition.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA)

The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees and requires an employer to reasonably accommodate a qualified employee with a disability. FEHA requires all employers with five employees or more to reasonably accommodate employees who have a disability.  A reasonable accommodation may include a protected leave of absence from work, the duration of which depends upon the disability.

An employer’s policy may not impose a limit to time off work for a disability. All cases are to be evaluated separately and all accommodations that do not impose an undue hardship on the employer must be granted. Whether a leave will impose an undue hardship on the employer is a very fact-intensive inquiry and will depend on the duration and type of the leave as well as the size and resources available to the employer.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)
USERRA requires employers of any size to provide an employee up to five years of protected leave for military service. The employee must be a member of “uniformed services,” including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and engaged in active duty, active duty for training, initial active duty for training, inactive duty training, full-time National Guard, or absences for fitness-for-duty examinations. The five years is calculated according to the cumulative amount of time the employee spends in the uniformed military service.