Oct 18, 2007 General Employment Issues

California Statute Gives Qualified Military Spouses 10 Days of Unpaid Leave – Effective Immediately

While existing California law provides certain benefits for “qualifying members” of the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard, and Reserves, those rights have been extended through Section 395.10 of the Military and Veteran’s Code.  This statute, signed by California Governor Schwarzenegger on October 9, 2007, took effect immediately. 

According to the statute, California employers with 25 or more employees must allow a “qualified employee” who is a spouse of a member of the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves to take up to 10 days of unpaid leave during a “qualified leave period” when the employee’s spouse is home on leave from military duty. 

A “qualified employee” is a person who satisfies all of the following:

  • Is the spouse of a “qualified member” of the armed forces (one who has been deployed to the scene of a military conflict);
  • Performs service for hire for an employer for an average of 20 or more hours per week (excluding independent contractors);
  • Provides the “qualified employer” with notice (within two business days of receiving official notice that the “qualified member” will be on leave from deployment) of his or her intention to take the statutory leave; and
  • Certifies in writing to the “qualified employer” that his or her spouse will be on leave from deployment during the time the “qualified employee” plans to take the leave.

The “qualified leave period” is the period during which the qualified member is on leave from deployment during a period of “military conflict”.  According to the statute, “military conflict” is considered the period of war declared by Congress or a deployment authorized under specified sections of the federal Armed Forces Code. 

This statute does not affect a qualified employee’s rights with respect to any other employee benefit under other laws.

If you have any questions about the application of this new law, please direct them to any of our attorneys in San Francisco or Los Angeles.