Question:  I’m confused about which leave laws apply to my business. Can you provide a summary of the types of leaves of absence employers have to provide?


Answer:  Many leaves of absence laws apply to all employers while others apply only to larger companies. The following apply to all employers, regardless of size, and are unpaid leaves unless otherwise noted:

  • Time Off for Jury Duty for an employee who receives a jury summons. The employer can ask the employee for a copy of the jury summons to verify that he/she has been called for jury duty and can require the employee to come in to work for any part of the day he/she is not serving.
  • Witness Leave for an employee called to testify in court pursuant to a subpoena or other court order. The employer can ask the employee for a copy of the subpoena or court order.
  • Crime Victims’ Leave for an employee to attend court proceedings when the employee or his or her immediate family member, registered domestic partner, or the child of his or her registered domestic partner is a victim of a crime. The employer may request documentation confirming the court proceeding from the court, the District Attorney’s office, or the victim’s office assisting the employee.
  • Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault/Stalking Leave for an employee who has been a victim and needs time off to obtain relief including, but not limited to, a restraining order or other relief to help ensure the health, safety, or welfare of the victim or his or her child. The employer may request documentation confirming the need for the time off including a police report, a restraining order, or certification from a physician that the employee is undergoing treatment for injury or abuse.
  • School Appearance Leave for an employee who is a parent or guardian of a student when the school makes a request that the employee appear at the school.
  • Volunteer Civil Servant Leave for an employee who needs time off to perform emergency duty as a volunteer firefighter, a reserve peace officer, or emergency rescue personnel.
  • Voting Leave for an employee who does not have enough time outside of working hours to vote in a statewide election. Up to two hours of paid leave must be provided. The time must be used at the beginning or end of the employee’s regular shift. The employee must give the employer at least two days advance notice.
  • Military Leave, pursuant to a federal law known as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act or USERRA, for employees absent from work due to service in the uniformed services.

In the case of all of these leaves, unless otherwise stated, an employee must give reasonable advance notice to the employer of the need for the leave, if feasible. Except for jury duty, the laws specify that it is unlawful for an employer to fire, discriminate, or retaliate against an employee for taking the time off. All employers should be aware of and follow these laws.