Maternity leave became law in the United States in 1993. Many have criticized the law, claiming it doesn’t go far enough. Among the many suggestions for improvement is the creation of paternity leave.
Most states haven’t created such a program. That being said, there is an active program for paternity leave in California. The California Family Rights Act expanded on the original Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. This new law granted fathers the right to paid paternity leave in 2004.
Paternity leave still differs from maternity leave in some ways. Read on to learn about the nuances of paternity leave in California.
Paternity leave in California gets complicated. The main reason for this is that there isn’t one comprehensive law that governs it. There are three statutes on the books that serve as paternity leave laws.
The first law is the Family and Medical Leave Act, also known as the FMLA. This was the original federal law from 1993. It guarantees as much as twelve weeks of unpaid parental leave in businesses with at least 50 employees.
There’s no law on the books mandating paid leave for either parent. Many companies offer it anyway because it increases employee retention. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) makes slight changes to the FMLA as it applies to California.
Finally, there’s the New Parent Leave Act. This law expanded the CFRA. It states that businesses with as few as 20 employees must offer parental leave to their workers. This is less than half of the original employee number stated in the 1993 law.
Filing for Paternity Leave
Any new parents in need of family leave, except the expectant mother, must file an SDI claim. The easiest way to do this is online.
Fathers and other parents who aren’t carrying the child need to fill out the first five sections of the paperwork. They also need to prove that they’re related to the baby.
Proof of relation can take many forms. You could use a birth certificate. Either your copy or the hospital’s copy will work. You could also use a declaration of paternity. You could also use a document from a foster care agency if you’re fostering the child. The same applies to adoption agencies if you’re adopting.
Duration of Paternity Leave
How long is paternity leave? The answer is interesting. The state doesn’t pay for the maximum amount of paternity leave. It covers up to eight weeks, while the full length of leave can be up to twelve weeks.
The payment will also not replace your paycheck. You’ll receive between 60 and 70 percent of it.
A Guide to Paternity Leave in California
Paternity leave in California is complicated. There are many reasons for this, but it mostly has to do with the many laws that govern it.
We’ve discussed the basics of California’s paternity leave laws here, but we encourage you to learn more. You can learn more about family leave and other aspects of running a business by reading our blog.
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