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What are some differences in state and federal family leave?

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You may be well aware of the fact that federal legislation mandates employment protection for people who need to take time away from work for qualifying personal situations. The State of California also has a family leave provision. But, just what are some of the differences between these two programs? If you have ever been confused about this, you're not alone.

As explained by the U.S. Department of Labor, the state and federal programs share many elements. However, some differences come into play regarding the length of leave. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act gives people the ability to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time away from their jobs in a given 12-month period. Under the California law, an employee may be able to extend leave to a full 12 months. This may be possible if the leave is to take care of a new baby or child born to or adopted by the employees.

Also part of the state law but not part of the federal law is the provision that spouses who work for the same employee are able to take their own leave separate from each other. In other words, each spouse may take up to the 12 weeks or up to 12 months of leave individually rather than having to share that time between them.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is rather meant to give Californians an overview of some of the key ways in which the state and federal family leave programs differ.

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