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What "Leaves of Absence" Are Protected for Employees?

Time off for Noble Deeds

If employees want to help save the world, in California, they can do so without fear of losing their job.  Lab. Code §§ 230.3-.4; 1501-1507.  Employers in California are required to allow employees to take unpaid leaves of absence to serve as volunteer firefighters, reserve peace officers, emergency rescue personnel, or as a member of the Civil Air Patrol.  Any employer who discriminates against an employee for taking time allowed under the law is guilty of a criminal misdemeanor, and the affected employee is entitled to reinstatement, lost wages, and benefits.

Time off for Saving Lives

If an employer employs 15 or more employees, an employee that has worked for the employer for at least 90 days is entitled to take up to 5 business days of paid leave during any one-year period to donate bone marrow, and up to 30 business days of paid leave during any one-year period to donate an organ.  Lab. Code §§ 1508-1513.

Time off for Classroom Assistants

Parents, guardians, and grandparents with custody can take unpaid time off (or use vacation/personal leave) up to 8 hours per month and 40 hours per school year to participate in their child's school or daycare activities.  Lab. Code § 230.8.  The penalty for violating this provision includes reinstatement, lost wages, and benefits, as well as a civil penalty of three times the lost wages and benefits.

Time off for Addicts and Those Who Need Help Reading

Employers are also obligated to allow employees to take unpaid leave as a “reasonable accommodation” to participate in alcohol or drug rehabilitation programs, or adult literacy programs, if they employ 25 or more employees.  Lab. Code §§ 1025-26; 1041.

Fired for one of the situations referenced above? View our wrongful termination page for more information about legal claims.

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