"Crime Victims Leave" - Are California workers entitled to it? (2023)

Crimes victims leave is time off from work granted to people in California who are victims of a crime. There are two variations of this leave:

  1. victim’s leave for judicial proceedings related to the crime; and
  2. leave for any proceeding involving victims’ rights.

Both are similar and in many cases provide for the same rights to take unpaid leave when a crime has been committed against an employee.

Who is considered a “victim?”

A person is a victimunder the law if:

  • he or she suffers
  • physical, psychological, or financial harm
  • as a result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act.

A victim also includes that person’s immediate family member or guardian, including:

  • spouse or domestic partner,
  • parent,
  • child, or
  • sibling.

The term is defined broadly under state law to grant entitlement to nearly any person who has been affected by a crime.

Notification Requirements

California law requires that employees provide reasonable advance notice of the intent to take leaves of absence from work unless reasonable advance notice is not possible.

If an employee misses work and that absence is unscheduled, the employer has the right to ask for certification of the event which caused the employee to miss work.

No Discrimination or Retaliation

An employer is not allowed to:

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  • demote,
  • wrongfully terminate,
  • refuse to rehire,
  • fail to promote,
  • suspend, or
  • in any other way discriminate against the employee for taking leave.

If the employer violates the law by committing one of these acts, the employer is guilty of a California misdemeanor. Additionally, an employment attorney can file a claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement of the Department of Industrial Relations on your behalf.

Below, our California employment and labor lawyers discuss the following frequently asked questions about California workplace leave laws for crime victims:

  • 1. Are victims of crime entitled to leave in California?
  • 2. What crimes are covered?
  • 3. Do I have to notify my employer if I take leave?
  • 4. Am I entitled to pay while I am off work?
  • 5. Can an employer punish me for taking time off work?
  • 6. What if my employer violated my rights?
  • 7. How does AB 2992 affect crime victim leave laws?

1. Are victims of crime entitled to leave in California?

California law provides two different forms of crime victims leave:

  1. for judicial proceedings related to the crime; and 1
  2. for any proceeding involving the victim’s rights. 2

Both are largely similar, and this article will reference all of the rights you have under both laws.

2. What crimes are covered?

Under the two forms of protected leave, the types of crimes included are:

  • a violent felony
  • a serious felony
  • a felony provision of law proscribing theft or embezzlement
  • vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
  • felony child abuse likely to produce great bodily harm or a death
  • assault resulting in the death of a child under eight years of age
  • felony domestic violence
  • felony physical abuse of an elder or dependent adult
  • felony stalking
  • solicitation for murder
  • hit-and-run causing death or injury
  • felony driving under the influence causing injury; and
  • sexual assault. 3

Many different crimes are covered under California law, and the definition of “crime” is intended to be broad. Victims have eligibility for coverage in many different situations.

3. Do I have to notify my employer if I take leave?

An employee is required to give his or her employer reasonable advance notice – such as to Human Resources – if he or she intends to take time off from work. If advance notice is not feasible, it is notrequired.4

If the time taken off work is unexpected or an unscheduled absence – like in a crisis situation – an employer may require certain written documentation to show that the employee was the victim of a crime. Proof can include:

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  • a police report from a law enforcement agency regarding the incident of domestic violence or sexual assault;
  • a court order which separates the employee from the alleged perpetrator, or other documents from the court; or
  • documentation from a medical professional such as a doctor, domestic violence advocate, health care provider, or a therapist providing psychological counseling.

An employee is not required to prove that a crime has occurred as part of the advance notice.

If the leave would cause the employer undue hardship, the victim may tell the prosecuting attorney in the case. Then the court hearing may be rescheduled.

"Crime Victims Leave" - Are California workers entitled to it? (2)

Victims of domestic violence may take time off work to attend a judicial proceeding related to the crime.

4. Am I entitled to pay while I am off work?

Employees are not guaranteed the right to a continued paycheck by law. However, certain union or employment agreements may guarantee the right to pay during such times. To receive a paycheck, California law allows employees to use any accrued:

  • vacation days,
  • personal leave, or
  • compensatory time.

5. Can an employer punish me for taking time off work?

No. It is illegal for an employer to punish an employee for taking reasonable time off work under these circumstances.

Employers may not:

  • demote,
  • wrongfully terminate,
  • refuse to rehire,
  • fail to promote,
  • suspend, or
  • in any other way discriminate against the employee for taking leave.

Abuse of an employee for taking needed time off from work can come in many forms. If you have questions about how you were treated, an experienced employment attorney can tell you if your rights were violated.

6. What if my employer violated my rights?

If an employer illegally acts against an employee because of the use of crime victims leave, the employee may file a claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement of the Department of Industrial Relations.

The Division will review the employee’s claim for illegal actions on the part of the employer. If the employee’s rights were violated, he or she may be entitled to:

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  • reinstatement,
  • reimbursement for lost wages, and
  • reimbursement for work benefits.

The employer may also be found guilty of a misdemeanor. 5

7. How does AB 2992 affect crime victim leave laws?

The 2020 California Assembly Bill 2992 expands protections for crime victims in the following three ways:

  1. Employers are now prohibited from discharging, discriminating, or retaliating against victims of any misdemeanor or felony crime – not just domestic violence, stalking, or rape – for taking time off work to obtain relief (such as getting a restraining order).
  2. Employees can now use documentation by a victim advocate to show the employer why the absence to obtain relief was necessary. Alternatively, employees can now use a written statement signed by themselves (or someone representing them) as documentation. Prior to the new law, the only forms of acceptable documentation included police reports, court orders, and reports from health care providers or counselors.
  3. Businesses employing 25 or more people now cannot fire or retaliate against crime victims for missing work to obtain services from a victim services organization or agency. This is a broadening of the prior law, which specified services from only domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers. 6

"Crime Victims Leave" - Are California workers entitled to it? (3)

Call our employment law attorneys for help.

For questions about crime victims leave or to confidentially discuss your case with one of our skilled California employment attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at the Shouse Law Group.

We have local law offices in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.

Helpful California links:

Legal References:

  1. California Labor Code § 230.2.
  2. California Labor Code § 230.5.
  3. California Labor Code Section 230.5.
  4. California Labor Code § 230.5(b).
  5. California Labor Code § 230.5(c).
  6. California Labor Code § 230 & 230.1. AB 2992 (2020) was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 28, 2020.

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Does California Paid Family Leave protect your job? ›

Does PFL Provide Job Protection? PFL does not provide job protection, just paid benefits. However, employees may qualify for job protection through other laws that can be taken at the same time as PFL. Employees should check with Human Resources about job protection before applying for PFL.

Are California employers required to provide bereavement leave? ›

Quick Summary: California employers with five or more employees will be required beginning Jan. 1 to provide up to five days of protected bereavement leave to employees for the death of a family member, including a domestic partner or extended family member.

Can an employer deny a leave of absence in California? ›

The simple answer is yes. The law doesn't require California employers to offer unpaid time away. However, if it is for an illness or crisis, then it may be covered under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

What qualifies for leave of absence in California? ›

Generally speaking, a qualified employee can take a leave of absence in California for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, or longer if needed, for a personal serious health condition, to care for a child, parent or other family member with a serious health condition, or to bond with a child.

Who qualifies for California Paid Family Leave? ›

You may be eligible for PFL if you are unable to work and lose wages when you need time off work for family leave. If eligible, you can receive benefit payments for up to eight weeks. Payments are about 60 to 70 percent of your weekly wages earned five to 18 months before your claim start date.

Who pays for Paid Family Leave in California? ›

Paid family leave, like the state's disability insurance program, is funded through a 1.1 % tax on most workers' paychecks. Those who claim the benefit can receive paid leave based on their income for up to eight weeks.

Does your employer have to give you compassionate leave? ›

This time off might be called 'compassionate leave' or 'special leave'. In all circumstances there's no legal right for this time off to be paid, but some employers might offer pay. Employers and employees should check the employee's contract or organisation's policy.

Does my employer have to give me bereavement leave? ›

Whilst employers have no legal obligation to pay employees while they are on bereavement leave, some may choose to. To find out if your company offers paid bereavement or compassionate leave, check your employment contract or employee handbook.

Are employees entitled to bereavement leave? ›

You do not have a statutory right to be paid for any time you take off around the time or after your friend or relative dies. But many companies do offer some paid bereavement leave – so it's worth checking your contract of employment your company's policy on compassionate leave if they have one.

Can a manager deny your leave? ›

The employer can refuse to grant the leave until a later date if he can show good cause, but he may not stipulate that the employee can "only take 5 days" or "can only take 7 days" If the employee has 11 days accumulated to him, he is entitled to take the 11 days consecutively. (section 20 (3))

When your days off requests are denied? ›

If your vacation request is not covered under FMLA, your employer can deny it. To appeal to a denied request, find out why it was denied by having a conversation with your manager and take the issue to an HR representative if you're having a difficult time finding out why it was denied.

Can supervisors deny leave? ›

You may deny a medical leave request if the frequency, length or unpredictability of an employee's requested leave poses significant difficulty or expense for your business.

What are personal reasons for leave? ›

Workers may want time off for personal reasons, eg to:
  • move house.
  • attend a wedding.
  • when someone gets ill or injured.
  • carry out house renovations.
  • attend a religious ceremony/event.
  • deal with a family problem, eg a divorce.
  • attend a doctor's or dentist's appointment.
  • attend the funeral of a friend or non-dependant relative.

What is considered absent without leave? ›

absent from duty without official permission but with no intention of deserting. abbrev. AWOL.

What is a good reason for a leave of absence? ›

Common reasons are childbirth, adoption, caring for an ill family member, serious health conditions or military leave. In cases such as these, employees may be entitled to leave by federal or state law.

How long does it take to get approved for Paid Family Leave California? ›

Once a properly completed claim application is received, the EDD usually determines eligibility within 14 days.

How does the family leave act work in California? ›

If eligible, you can receive benefit payments for up to eight weeks. Payments are about 60 to 70 percent of your weekly wages earned 5 to 18 months before your claim start date. You will receive payments by debit card or check — it's your choice! PFL provides benefit payments but not job protection.

What is the maximum Paid Family Leave in California? ›

About Paid Family Leave Benefits

Paid Family Leave (PFL) provides short-term wage replacement benefits to eligible California workers for up to eight weeks of family leave in a 12 month period.

Do men get Paid Family Leave in California? ›

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for PFL benefit payments, you must have: Welcomed a new child into the family in the past 12 months through birth. Paid into State Disability Insurance (noted as "CASDI" on most paystubs) in the past 5 to 18 months. Not taken the maximum eight weeks of PFL in the past 12 months.

Does EDD contact your employer for Paid Family Leave? ›

We may give this information to an employer if their employee provides written permission on their initial DI or PFL claim forms. The employee must answer Yes to the question, “May we disclose benefit payment information to your employer(s)?” when completing their claim form.

Can you be denied compassionate leave? ›

The employee will need to request the time off and their employer has to agree to the period being taken as bereavement leave. However, employees do have the right to take time off for family and dependants, as such the employer cannot refuse requests for reasonable time away from work to deal with such issues.

What is the difference between compassionate leave and bereavement leave? ›

While we often use both phrases to mean the same thing, bereavement leave is specifically when an employee takes time off after the death of a loved one. Compassionate leave, on the other hand, can refer to time off to look after a dependant, or a sick relative, too.

How does compassionate leave pay work? ›

There is no legal requirement that your employer pays you during compassionate leave, so this will depend on your contract and your employer's policy. Ultimately, your employer may offer as much or as little pay as they wish during your compassionate leave.

What are the rules on compassionate leave? ›

You have the right to take time off work to deal with an emergency involving someone who depends on you. This is sometimes called 'compassionate leave'. Your employer can't penalise you for taking the time off, as long as your reasons for taking it are genuine.

Can my employer refuse to let me go to a funeral? ›

It may come as some surprise but, in cases that do not involve a dependent, there is actually no statutory right to time off for the purposes of attending a funeral. However, it is common for employers to allow you to take time off under their company policy.

How many days off do you get for a death in the family? ›

Employees in Quebec are entitled to a maximum of five days off, including two paid days, for an immediate family member's death or one unpaid day for the death of a grandchild, grandparent or in-law. Employees are required to take these days between the death and the funeral.

How long should I take off work after a bereavement? ›

Grief experts recommend 20 days of bereavement leave for close family members. 4 days is the average bereavement leave allotted for the death of a spouse or child. 3 days is the average time off given for the loss of a parent, grandparent, domestic partner, sibling, grandchild or foster child.

Do employers ask for proof of bereavement? ›

A: Depending on your employer, you may be asked to provide proof of death of your loved one before being granted bereavement leave. This may come in the form of an obituary, a death certificate, or a notice from the funeral or wake ceremony.

Is leave a right or privilege? ›

Leave is a legal entitlement of an employee, but not a prerogative. It is a conditional right and an inseparable piece of the total employment package.

What do you do when your boss doesn't give you leave? ›

Five ways to get boss to grant leave
  1. Log in Extra Hours. A few weeks before asking the supervisor for leave, log in extra hours and get work done as you would before appraisals. ...
  2. Check Company Policy. ...
  3. Time it Well. ...
  4. Keep a Back-Up Ready. ...
  5. Space it Out.
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What is unreasonable refusal of annual leave? ›

The employer's unreasonable refusal meant the employee's failure to attend work did not represent misconduct. Therefore there was no valid reason for the employee's dismissal, and the claim for unfair dismissal was established.

Can an employer ask why you are taking a personal day? ›

No federal law prohibits employers from asking employees why they are out sick. They are free to ask questions such as when you expect to return to work. They may also require you to furnish proof of your illness, such as a note from a physician.

What are bosses not allowed to do? ›

Not pay you overtime or minimum wage. Promise a job to an unpaid intern. Discriminate against workers. Allow you to work off the clock.

Can my employer ask why I am calling out? ›

Laws allow your employer to ask why you are taking a sick day, as well as the general details of your illness. He or she may ask you to produce a doctor's note, particularly if you are taking more than one day of sick leave. However, there are ways in which some employers abuse this leeway.

Can a boss ask why you are sick? ›

An employer is prohibited from asking any specific questions about an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protected illness.

Can my employer deny my request for one day off? ›

If your employment contract specifically states that your employer provides you with vacation days, you are entitled to the days you have accrued. However, employers in California can control how and when their employees take vacation days and may even deny vacation requests.

Can an employer deny FMLA in California? ›

If you are denied leave guaranteed under FMLA or CFRA, you have rights. Under CFRA, a worker denied protected leave can file a complaint with California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), within three years of the wrongful denial or discrimination.

What to say when they ask why you want to leave? ›

Consider the following:
  1. I want to learn more.
  2. I feel like I'm ready to take on more responsibility.
  3. I believe I've progressed as far as I can in my current role.
  4. I need a change of environment to motivate me.
  5. I want to develop a new skill that isn't required in my current job.

What are examples of personal leave? ›

Personal Leave
  • Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
  • Funeral Leave.
  • Government Contracts.
  • Holidays.
  • Jury Duty.
  • Personal Leave.
  • Sick Leave.
  • Vacations.

What are the four types of absences? ›

Here are the four types of absences you can expect, and the four best ways to respond to them:
  • Planned absence. Planned absences are the best-case scenario, because they give you the most time to prepare. ...
  • Last-minute absence. These things happen. ...
  • Unexpected absence. Uh-oh, someone didn't show up. ...
  • Virtual absence.
27 Jun 2013

What is unjustified leave? ›

In the case of unjustified absences, they occur when the employee is absent from work and there is no plausible justification and required by law for not having attended the company.

How many days can the official or employee declared as AWOL? ›

Effect of absences without approved leave. - - An official or an employee who is continuously absent without approved leave for at least thirty (30) working days shall be considered on absence without official leave (AWOL) and shall be separated from the service or dropped from the rolls without prior notice.

Is anxiety a reason for leave of absence? ›

Yes. Assuming that you work for a covered employer and are eligible for FMLA leave, you may take leave if you are unable to work due to a serious health condition under the FMLA.

Can I take leave for personal reasons? ›

When an employee seeks a temporary break from their organization due to some personal reasons, they write a leave application letter or letter of absence to the concerned authority. This not only shows professionalism on the employee's part but also gives adequate time to the employer to prepare.

Is mental health a reason for leave of absence? ›


An eligible employee may take FMLA leave for their own serious health condition, or to care for a spouse, child, or parent because of a serious health condition. A serious health condition can include a mental health condition.

Does FMLA protect you from losing your job? ›

The FMLA allows you to take time off (“leave”) without losing your job, your seniority or your employer-provided health insurance.

How long does FMLA protect your job in California? ›

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave.

Can you be fired while on FMLA California? ›

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees cannot be fired simply because they are on leave. However, if there is another reason separate from medical leave, an employer does have the right to terminate an employee.

Does Edd contact your employer for Paid Family Leave? ›

We may give this information to an employer if their employee provides written permission on their initial DI or PFL claim forms. The employee must answer Yes to the question, “May we disclose benefit payment information to your employer(s)?” when completing their claim form.

What does FMLA cover in California? ›

FMLA and CFRA help to protect your job while you are receiving Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave benefits when you must: Take medical leave for yourself. Care for a family member who is seriously ill. Bond with a new child.

Do you get paid while on FMLA in California? ›

If eligible, you can receive benefit payments for up to eight weeks. Payments are about 60 to 70 percent of your weekly wages earned 5 to 18 months before your claim start date. You will receive payments by debit card or check — it's your choice! PFL provides benefit payments but not job protection.

How long does an employer have to hold your job for medical leave in California? ›

A covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons: The employee's own serious health condition. The birth of a child or the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or for foster care.

Can you terminate an employee after 12 weeks of FMLA in California? ›

Overstaying Leave

An employee may lawfully be terminated from employment while on leave if his leave period extends beyond the 12 weeks protected by FMLA. Although the employer may not otherwise terminate the employee for use of the protected FMLA leave, the employee may be terminated for taking any unprotected leave.

What is difference between FMLA and CFRA? ›

FMLA is a federal program, while CFRA is state based in California. Simply being pregnant under FMLA qualifies, while CFRA only covers time off for pregnancy complications. It is more difficult to be covered as a domestic partner by FMLA than by CFRA.

What is the difference between PFL and FMLA in California? ›

Unlike the FMLA and the CFRA, the PFL program does not require any employer to provide time off to employees eligible for PFL benefits. It merely provides for wage replacement benefits for employees off work for reasons covered by the PFL program.

Can you put in your 2 weeks while on FMLA? ›

Can you give a 2-week notice while on FMLA? If you are on FMLA leave, you may notify your employer that you are leaving the company in 2 weeks. Your FMLA protections, including continuing health care coverage, will end when you separate from your employer.

How long is my job protected under disability in California? ›

If you are eligible, you can receive about 60 to 70 percent (depending on income) of wages earned 5 to 18 months before your claim start date. You can be paid benefits for a maximum of 52 weeks.

What can you not do while on FMLA? ›

It's fine to continue to work while you're on FMLA, as long as you're doing it voluntarily and not because your employer is forcing you. Another thing you can't do is lie to your employer about why you're taking FMLA. That's called fraud – it's going to get you fired.

Does EDD talk to your employer? ›

When someone files an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim, we ask for identifying information. We notify the last employer, former employers and current employers when a claim is filed. Employers also help us determine if a claim was filed by the correct person.

How long does EDD pay for family leave? ›

How long can I receive PFL benefits? You may receive PFL benefits for up to 8 weeks within any 12-month period for care, bonding, or military assist claims. You can break up your eight weeks.


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