If you work in California and have a family member who is sick or injured, you may be wondering if you have the right to take time off work to care for them. The answer is yes, thanks to California’s “Kin Care” law. This law allows employees to use up to half of their annual sick leave to care for ailing family members, including spouses, children, parents, and domestic partners. Please continue reading and reach out to a seasoned Los Angeles protective leave lawyer from RD Law Group to learn more about what kin care leave is, who qualifies for it, and what to do if your employer violates your rights. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What is kin care leave?
Kin care leave is a type of paid sick leave that employees can use for family-related reasons. It is not a separate entitlement, but rather a part of the existing paid sick leave law that went into effect in 2015. Under this law, employers must provide at least three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave per year to employees who work at least 30 days in California. Employees can use this sick leave for their own health condition or preventive care, or for the health condition or preventive care of a family member.
The kin care law allows employees to use up to half of their annual sick leave for specific family members as defined by California law. These include:
- a child — biological child, adopted child, foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child for which the employee stands in loco parents;
- a parent — biological parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian;
- a spouse;
- a registered domestic partner;
- a grandparent;
- a grandchild;
- a sibling; or
- designated person.
The kin care law also expands the reasons for which employees can use sick leave to care for a family member. In addition to seeking diagnosis, care, or treatment for an existing health condition, employees can also use kin care leave to support a family member who was the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Who qualifies for kin care leave?
To qualify for kin care leave, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must work in California for the same employer for at least 30 days within a year.
- You must accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour per every 30 hours worked, or receive at least three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave per year as a lump sum.
- You must have available paid sick leave that you have not used yet.
- You must request kin care leave verbally or in writing from your employer as soon as possible.
- You must provide reasonable documentation if your employer asks for it.
What if your employer violates your rights?
Your employer cannot deny you kin care leave if you meet the requirements and follow the procedures. Your employer also cannot retaliate against you for using kin care leave or filing a complaint about it. Retaliation can include demotion, termination, suspension, harassment, discrimination, or any other adverse action that affects your employment.
If your employer violates your rights under the kin care law, you may be entitled to reinstatement and back pay. You may also file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner’s Office or pursue a civil lawsuit for damages.
Contact RD Law Group Today
If you have a family member who needs your care or support, you should know your rights and responsibilities under the kin care law. If you have any questions or concerns about your situation, you should consult an experienced California employment lawyer from RD Law Group who can advise you on your options and protect your interests, every step of the way.