Fathers Shouldn't Have to Choose Between Job & Familyjunio 22, 2015
Sunday, June 21st, was Alfonso Garcia’s first Father’s Day. His baby Naomi was born on May 26th. Alfonso works as battery technician for an emergency road side service company in Mountain View. After his partner Gardenia gave birth to their daughter, the pediatrician told Alfonso and Gardenia that their baby required a special battery of blood tests over a period of time. Because Gardenia was recovering from childbirth, Alfonso requested six weeks of Paid Family Leave so that he could take his baby to the hospital for the tests and follow up appointments and help his partner as she recovered. But his employer denied his request, allowing him only one week off.
Because Alfonso pays into California’s worker-funded Paid Family Leave program, he, like all fathers, is eligible to receive up to six weeks of Paid Family Leave at partial pay. But because his employer has about 30 (not the minimum threshold of 50) employees, the California Family Rights Act does not protect Alfonso’s right to return to his job—a right provided to covered employees when they take time off to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member. As a result, Alfonso can take six weeks of Paid Family Leave to attend to his newborn’s medical needs. But he would do so at his peril because his employer does not have to hold his job open for him. Alfonso needs his job and so he returned to work. With only one week off, Alfonso had to forego his full bonding leave and is struggling to care for his daughter while juggling his job.
And Alfonso is not alone. Forty percent of Californians work for employers that are not covered by the CFRA. That means they are not entitled to a single day of job-protected time to bond with a newborn, adopted or foster child.
This week, the California Assembly will be voting on SB 406 (Jackson), already passed by the California Senate. The bill co-sponsored by Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, which amends the CFRA to cover employers with 25 or more employees within 75 miles. It also expands the definition of family so that workers can care for seriously ill extended family members including grandparents, siblings, grandchildren, adult children, and parents-in-law.
Keep the Father’s Day celebration going this week and please encourage your Assemblymember to vote for SB 406, so that dads like Alfonso do not have to choose between their families and their jobs.