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How To Take Leave From Work In California

En español

It is important to know your rights for taking leave if you become sick or are unable work due to disability or pregnancy. Described below are the different types of leave benefits that you may qualify for if you are living in California.

Paid Sick Leave

This benefit allows for up to five days or 40 hours (whichever is more) of Paid Sick Leave per year. You can use this leave if you are sick, for medical appointments, or to take care of a family member or a designated person. To qualify, you must have worked for your employer for at least 90 days. Paid Sick Leave is paid at the regular rate or the average rate of pay over 90 days. Your immigration status does not impact your eligibility. 

State Disability Insurance

The California State Disability Insurance program provides short-term wage replacement benefits to eligible workers who need time off work. Disability Insurance is for people who are not able to work because of an illness or injury. This does not need to be related to work. If you qualify, the program provides 60% to 70% of the wages you would normally make for up to 52 weeks. This program does not provide job protection. Workers must have paid into the Disability Insurance program to be eligible to receive benefits. This payment will appear in paystubs as a deduction named “CASDI.” Your immigration status does not impact your eligibility. 

  • How to Request: A worker does not submit a Claim for Disability Insurance through their employer. A worker files a claim with the Employment Development Department (EDD). EDD will ask for your social security number to verify your wages. If you do not have a social security number, you need to use the paper application and leave this question blank. You will need to add a letter to your application that explains how much you were paid, how often, and provide proof of payments.
  • Learn More:
    • State Disability Insurance information from the California EDD here.
    • State Disability Insurance information from Legal Aid at Work here (English & Spanish).
    • Learn more about applying for State Disability Insurance without a social security number here (English & Spanish).

Workers’ Compensation

If you are injured at work, or believe you contracted an illness at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to provide you with the medical treatment you need to recover from your work-related injury or illness. This benefit also partially replaces the wages you lose while recovering and helps you return to work. Your immigration status does not impact your eligibility. 

  • How to Request: A worker should inform their employer of the injury or illness immediately. The employer should provide a workers’ compensation form. If they do not, the worker can complete it and give it to the employer (Claim form in English).
  • Learn More:
    • More about the California Division of Workers’ Compensation here.

Paid Family Leave

Paid Family Leave is available for workers who are unable to work because they need to care for a seriously ill family member, bond with a new child, or participate in a qualifying event because of a family member’s military deployment. Eligible workers can receive up to 60% to 70% of weekly pay for up to eight weeks. You are eligible for Paid Family Leave regardless of your immigration status. Paid Family Leave provides job protection.

  • How to Request: Workers can apply for Paid Family Leave on EDD’s website.
  • Learn More:
    • Paid Family Leave information from EDD here

California Family Rights Act

The California Family Rights Act allows some workers to take up to 12 weeks off to care for yourself, a sick or injured designated person, or to bond with a new child. This benefit gives you the right to return to the job once recovered. To qualify, you must work for an employer with five or more employees, have worked for the employer for more than 12 months, and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months. This benefit does not provide income but it does provide job protection. You are eligible for Family and Medical Leave regardless of your immigration status. 

  • How to Request: Workers should apply for the California Family Rights Act benefits by contacting their employer.
  • Learn More:

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