California Family Rights Act: Your Questions Answered

November 28, 2023

Family is important, and so is taking care of your loved ones when they need it the most. In California, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) plays a pivotal role in ensuring you can balance work and family responsibilities.

Whether you are a new parent, need to care for a sick family member, or are dealing with your own health issues, this guide will break down everything you need to know about the California Family Rights Act.

The California Family Rights Act Explained

The Family Rights Act of California is an act that grants qualified employees the right to take unpaid leave for certain family-related reasons. It means that employees can attend to important family matters without the worry of losing their position at work.

California has implemented this legislation to emphasize the importance of aiding its citizens in managing both work and family duties, which is a vital support structure for employees during demanding periods.

Types of Leaves under the Family Rights Act

To meet residents' different requirements, California offers a number of different types of leave for a variety of reasons. These categories ensure that people can manage personal, familial, and societal challenges without the strain of job insecurity.

  • Bonding Leave: Specifically for parents looking to spend time with a newly welcomed child.
  • Family Care: Dedicated to those caring for family members with severe health conditions.
  • Personal Health: Pertains to addressing one's own significant health concerns.
  • Military Support: Tailored for those assisting family members currently serving in the military.
  • Organ Donation: Geared towards those involved in crucial organ or bone marrow donation procedures.
  • Violence Support: Allocated for those grappling with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking situations.

With these provisions, the act aims to ensure that employees in California can prioritize personal and family welfare without compromising their professional position. It's a testament to the state's dedication to supporting its workforce in multiple facets of life.

a woman playing with a baby on the bed

Benefits and Duration Of The California Family Rights Act

Employees who qualify under California's Family Rights Act can take advantage of a number of protections and perks during their time off for family or personal matters. Let's take a closer look at the major benefits and leave time granted by this law.


  • Potential Wage Replacement: Eligible employees can potentially receive between 60-70% of their weekly wages during their leave, helping to offset the financial challenges that might arise when taking time away from work. Should an employee qualify, paid leave is administered through the State of California's Employment Development Department and not paid for by the employer.
  • Job Protection: The act guarantees that those taking leave won't lose their jobs. Employees should expect to retain their original or comparable position when they return, reinforcing job stability.

Specific Leave Durations:

  • Welcoming a new child: Parents can take up to 12 weeks off to spend time with a newly born, adopted, or fostered child, emphasizing the value of early family bonding.
  • Assisting a seriously ill family member: Up to 6 weeks of leave is available for those caring for a gravely ill relative, be it children, parents, spouses, or registered domestic partners.
  • Recovery from major health issues: The duration of leave for an employee's health recovery varies per the medical requirements, allowing individuals to focus on their health.
  • Supporting military families: Employees can take leave when a family member is deployed for active military duty. The length of this leave adjusts to fit the specific needs of military families.
  • Healthcare benefits continuation: Generally, employers must keep providing health insurance benefits throughout the leave period, ensuring uninterrupted access to healthcare.

The benefits and duration offered by the Family Rights Act California provide financial relief to employees and ensure that they have sufficient time to address the specific needs of their family or their own health.

Criteria for Eligibility under California's Family Rights Act

In order to determine if you meet the California Family Rights Act requirements, it is necessary to comprehend the law in its entirety. Below is an overview of the most important ones:

Employer Size

Covered employers are any employer who employs 5 or more employees.

Length of Employment

Eligible employees must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months. During these 12 months, you need to have completed a minimum of 1,250 hours of service. This criteria demonstrates a level of commitment and work history with the employer.

California Employment

Your workplace must be in California to get Family Rights Act California benefits. It also implies qualification for the California Paid Family Leave (PFL) programs, which extend the reach of the policy.

Valid Reasons for Leave

You can bond with a new kid, care for a very ill family member, heal from a serious illness, or support a family member on active military duty. Specific conditions that match one of these scenarios determine your eligibility.

Notice and Documentation

Employees are required to give their employers sufficient notice and must furnish the necessary documents when applying for leave under this act. It's imperative to adhere to these procedures to validate the entitlement to the benefits.

It's important to note that the Family Rights Act in California has these specific eligibility guidelines to efficiently support those in genuine need of family or medical leave while ensuring a standardized and fair approach for all involved.

a woman hugging the woman in white

Applying for Family Rights Act California

Navigating the Family Rights Act California (CFRA) may seem like a daunting task, but with a step-by-step approach, you can ensure a smooth process. Here's a practical guide to help you get started:

Step 1: Inform Your Employer

  • Begin by informing your employer about your intention to take leave. Providing your employer with reasonable notice allows them to plan for your absence effectively.

Step 2: Complete the Required Paperwork

  • Next, your employer may ask you to complete specific forms or paperwork to initiate the leave process. Be sure to fill out these documents accurately and promptly, as they are essential for the procedure.

Step 3: Coordinate with California's State Paid Family Leave

  • Depending on your situation and the reason for your leave, you may need to coordinate with California's State Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave programs. This may involve filing a claim to receive the wage replacement benefits you are entitled to.

Step 4: Submit Medical Documentation

  • In cases involving medical conditions, you may be required to submit medical documentation to support your leave request. Ensure that you provide the necessary medical information as per your employer's or program's requirements.

Step 5: Maintain Communication

  • Keep open lines of communication with your employer and, if applicable, the SDI or PFL program. Inform them of any changes in your situation, such as an extended leave period or an early return to work.

Step 6: Understand Your Rights

  • Familiarize yourself with your rights under the Family Rights Act of California to ensure you receive the job protection and benefits you are entitled to during your leave.

Step 7: Prepare for Your Absence

  • Before your leave begins, take proactive steps to prepare for your absence. Make arrangements to hand over your responsibilities or delegate tasks to colleagues, ensuring a swift transition during your time away.

By following these steps and maintaining clear communication, you can smoothly navigate the process and secure the support you need during your leave, ultimately fostering a healthy work-life balance.

Your California Family Rights Act Advocates – Freeburg & Granieri

Are you dealing with the complexities of California's Family Rights Act? At Freeburg & Granieri, we are here to simplify the process for you! Our dedicated attorneys have the expertise to guarantee you receive the benefits and protections you deserve.

Why choose us?

  • In-depth knowledge of California laws
  • Tailored solutions for your unique situation
  • Client-focused, compassionate approach

Let us help you secure your family's future while you focus on what truly matters. Book a FREE consultation today and experience the difference of having a trusted legal partner by your side!


The Family Rights Act of California is a valuable resource for employees in California, offering job protection and support during family-related absences. Understanding its eligibility criteria, benefits, and application process is a must to make the most of this legislation.

Remember that clear communication and adherence to regulations are essential for a successful leave experience.


Can my employer deny my CFRA request?

If you meet the necessary eligibility requirements and provide the appropriate notice, your employer should grant your CFRA request. Denying your request without a valid reason would go against the Family Rights Act of California.

Can CFRA leave be used intermittently or on a reduced schedule?

Yes, you have the flexibility to use CRFA leave intermittently or on a reduced schedule as needed, provided you have qualifying reasons for doing so. This option allows you to address family and medical needs more effectively while accommodating your work schedule.

How can employers stay compliant with CFRA regulations?

For employers to remain in compliance with CFRA guidelines, it's essential to understand the law thoroughly. It's also crucial to have effective systems in place to monitor employee eligibility.

What happens if my employer violates my CFRA rights?

If you believe your CFRA rights have been violated by your employer, you have the right to submit a complaint to the California Civil Rights Department (CCRD).


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