There are few experiences that compare to bringing a child into the world, or meeting an adoptive child for the first time. It is exciting, exhausting, scary, and heart-warming, all at the same time. Further, those first several months of that new relationship are so important, not just for the ever-lasting memories, but because of the indisputable emotional and health benefits that one-on-one time with your new child provide. That is why it is so important for new parents to be able to take leave from work to focus on a new child. It is in the best interest of children to bond with their parents, and it makes parents happier and emotionally healthier to be able to focus on their new child instead of on work.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) are state and federal mandates that protect employees who have to take leave for qualified family or medical reasons. It applies to all public employers and to other employers with fifty or more employees that work with 75 miles of the employee seeking leave. Employees must have worked for the employer for at least twelve months total and for 1,250 hours in the past year.
Significantly, the CFRA and the FMLA-which run concurrently-provides 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave for both female and male employees to bond with a newborn baby, or a foster or adoptive child who has been placed in the employee’s care. Referred to as “bonding leave”, the CFRA and FMLA provide that:
- Both parents may exercise this leave.
- An employee must take bonding leave within twelve month of a new child’s birth, or the placement of a foster child or adoptive child in the employee’s home.
- For a new mother, the CFRA will not run concurrently with Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), but can be used after her PDL is exhausted.
- Under the CFRA, an employee is entitled to take leave in 2 week increments. In contrast, incremental leave is the employer’s option under the FMLA.
- If an employee has accrued any vacation leave, that employee will receive pay for that leave while on bonding leave. Otherwise, neither the CFRA nor the FMLA obligate an employer to pay an employee during this time period.
- An employer may require an employee to exhaust their vacation and sick leave while on bonding leave.
- If an employee is on an employer-paid health insurance plan, the employer must continue to provide this health insurance coverage during the bonding leave.
- An employee is entitled to resume his or her job upon their return from leave, or they are entitled to a comparable job.
You Have Rights
Not only is bonding time with your child a priceless and important experience, it is the law. If your employer is not allowing you take bonding leave, your lawful parental rights are being impeded. You need an attorney who understands the law and understands what it means to be a parent. Let us help you fight for your legal rights. We don’t charge any fees up front and only get paid if you do. Call Moss Bollinger at (866) 535-2994, or contact us online.