Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA
As a certified California attorney referral service, we have heard many questions about how paternity leave works and the rights you have according to California law. Below is a list of common and uncommon questions (as well as answers) we have heard to help answer any you might have.
Paternity leave in California refers to the time off granted to fathers to bond with and care for their newborn child, as protected under the state’s family leave and employment laws.
This is an important benefit that allows fathers to take time off work to bond with their newborn child and support their partner during the early stages of parenthood.
Employees who work for a covered employer and have completed a minimum of 1,250 hours of service in the past year are generally eligible.
Eligible fathers can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within one year following the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.
Paternity leave in California is generally unpaid; however, eligible employees can receive partial wage replacement through the state’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program.
If a father meets the eligibility criteria for California’s Paid Family Leave program, he may receive benefits for a maximum of eight weeks. These benefits are calculated based on a percentage (typically 60-70%) of the father’s average weekly wages earned over a specific period, ranging from 5 to 18 months.
Paternity leave specifically applies to bonding with a newborn, adopted, or foster child, while other types of leave may cover a broader range of family or personal medical reasons.
Yes, both parents can take leave simultaneously, but the combined total cannot exceed the 12 weeks of leave.
No, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate or discriminate against an employee for taking paternity leave.
Employers generally cannot require employees to use vacation or sick time for paternity leave, and it is separate from disability leave, which may be applicable for a mother’s recovery from childbirth.
Self-employed individuals and independent contractors are not covered by the state’s paternity leave laws but can voluntarily participate in the PFL program.
The required documentation typically includes a completed claim form and certain details like the child’s birth or placement information.
Paternity leave can be taken intermittently, subject to the employer’s approval, as long as it is taken within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or placement.
According to California law, eligible employees have the right to paternity leave, and it is generally illegal for employers to deny or retaliate against an employee for taking paternity leave.
Generally, employers cannot require employees to use their vacation or sick time for paternity leave, but employees may choose to use their accrued leave for compensation during the period.
Under California law, if the need for paternity leave is foreseeable, such as for a planned adoption or foster care placement, employees generally need to provide their employer with reasonable advance notice.
The specific amount of notice required may vary depending on the circumstances, but it is recommended to inform the employer as soon as possible to allow for proper planning and coordination.
During paternity leave, the employer is required to maintain the employee’s health insurance benefits under the same conditions as if the employee were actively working.
Covered employers must provide eligible employees with the right to take paternity leave and maintain their job position or a similar one upon return.
Yes, paternity leave can be taken for adoptions or foster care placements, as long as the employee is eligible and meets the necessary criteria.
Employees who take paternity leave generally have job protection and the right to return to the same position or a comparable one with equivalent pay, benefits, and terms upon their return.
Paid paternity leave in California typically provides eligible employees with up to eight weeks of partial wage replacement through the state’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program.
Yes, there are exceptions to the length of paternity leave in California. While the standard duration of paternity leave under the state’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program is up to eight weeks, the actual length of leave can vary based on several factors.
For example, an employee’s individual circumstances, such as their employer’s policies, collective bargaining agreements, and the availability of other benefits, can affect the duration of paid paternity leave. Additionally, employees may have the option to take additional unpaid leave beyond the PFL period if they are eligible under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or other applicable laws.
Below are some important steps to consider before taking paternity leave:
*Remember, each workplace and personal situation is unique, so adapt these steps to fit your specific circumstances. Being well-prepared before taking paternity leave will help you and your employer navigate the process more effectively, ensuring a smoother transition for everyone involved.
Here is some information you should be aware of regarding paternity leave in California:
*Remember, being informed about your rights and entitlements regarding paternity leave is essential. Familiarize yourself with the relevant laws, communicate with your employer to ensure a clear understanding of your rights, and seek guidance from legal resources or organizations specializing in employment rights if needed.
Have a question that we didn’t answer? Reach out to get in touch with a lawyer who specializes in California paternity leave rights. We connect people just like you with lawyers across the entire state for free. Call 24/7. (855) 997-2558