Work & Family Project

Many workers are forced to risk their jobs and income when they need a leave of absence or a workplace accommodation due to pregnancy, their own illness, or the need to care for a seriously ill family member.  LAS-ELC’s Work and Family Project protects the employment rights of pregnant women, new parents, military families, and other workers dealing with family and medical crises.

The Work and Family Project provides free advice, representation, and advocacy to workers, including families of service members and veterans, about their right to receive accommodations on the job and take job-protected and/or paid leave to recover from their own medical conditions or to care for their families.

I’m pregnant.  Do I have the right to take leave from work before and after childbirth?  
Women in California who work for employers with 5 or more employees may take up to four months of job-protected leave, with health benefits continuation,  while they are disabled by pregnancy, childbirth or a related condition.  Eligible workers can receive partial pay while on leave. 

Can my employer force me to take pregnancy leave if I don’t need it?
No.  Employers may not force a pregnant woman to take leave.  In California, pregnant workers are entitled to reasonable accommodations, such as sitting on a stool, taking frequent bathroom breaks, or receiving help lifting heavy objects.

My partner and I want to take time off to bond with our new child.  How much time off can we take?
In addition to pregnancy disability leave, eligible workers in California may take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to bond with a new child.  Both parents, including same-sex parents, may take this leave.  Eligible workers can receive up to 6 weeks of Paid Family Leave benefits while bonding with a new child.    

My sister was diagnosed with cancer, and I need to care for her.  Can I receive Paid Family Leave?
Beginning July 1, 2014, eligible workers may receive Paid Family Leave benefits to care for seriously ill siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and parents-in-law.  (Workers already may receive benefits while caring for seriously ill parents, children, spouses, and registered domestic partners, or while bonding with a new child.)  Workers receiving PFL should take job-protected time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act, or should secure permission to take leave from their employer.

I need time off work for back surgery.  Can I take leave and return to my job?
Eligible workers who need time off for a serious health condition may take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave (with health benefits continuation) under the Family and Medical Leave Act and California Family Rights Act.  Eligible workers with disabilities also may take time off as a reasonable accommodation.  Workers on leave for their non-workplace related illness or disability may receive State Disability Insurance.