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Step-by-Step Guide to Requesting Baby Bonding Leave in California under the FairEmployment and Housing Act (FEHA)

September 6, 2023

If you are a new parent in California and need to take time off from work to bond with your
baby, you may be eligible for baby bonding leave under the Fair Employment and Housing Act
(FEHA). FEHA requires employers with five or more employees to provide reasonable
accommodations, including baby bonding leave, to employees with disabilities. In this blog
post, we’ll outline the step-by-step process for requesting baby bonding leave under FEHA in
the California workplace.

Determine if you are eligible for baby bonding leave.

The first step in requesting baby bonding leave is to determine if you are eligible. To be eligible
for baby bonding leave under FEHA, you must have worked for your employer for at least a
year, and for at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months before your leave. This leave must
be used to bond with a newborn baby (until the age of one year) or with an adopted or foster
child (up to age 18) within the first year of being placed in your home.

Request baby bonding leave from your employer.

If you are eligible for baby bonding leave, the next step is to request the leave from your
employer. You can do this either orally or in writing, but it’s best to put your request in writing.
In your request, be sure to specify the dates you need to take off, the reason for the leave, and
any other relevant information.

Consider your employer’s response.

After you have made your request for baby bonding leave, your employer should respond
within a reasonable time. Your employer may approve your request, deny your request, or ask
for additional information. If your employer denies your request, they must provide you with a
written explanation of their decision and the legal basis for it. If your employer asks for
additional information, you should provide the requested information as soon as possible.

Seek legal advice.

If your employer denies your request for baby bonding leave or you have any other questions
or concerns about the process, it’s important to seek legal advice. An experienced employment
attorney can review the facts of your case and advise you on your rights and options under
FEHA. They can also help you gather any additional evidence and represent you in legal
proceedings, if necessary.

Consider your options for pursuing a claim.

If you believe your employer has unlawfully denied your request for baby bonding leave, you
may have several options for pursuing a claim. You may be able to file a complaint with the
California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or you may be able to file a lawsuit in court. Your attorney can
advise you on the best course of action based on the specific circumstances of your case.
Requesting baby bonding leave in California under FEHA can be a complex process, but by
following the steps outlined in this blog post, including determining your eligibility, making a
written request, and seeking legal advice if necessary, you can protect your rights and ensure
that your employer provides you with the reasonable accommodations you need.

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