Legal Information: California

Workplace Protections

Updated: 
January 2, 2017

How much notice do I need to give my employer if I need to take time off from work to deal with domestic violence?

You must tell your employer ahead of time if you need time off from work to deal with domestic violence against you or your children unless it is impossible to do so. California law does not say exactly how many days in advance you need to tell your employer – just that you must give “reasonable advance notice.”*  However, it is wise to tell your employer as early as possible, if you know that you will need a certain day or days off to go to court, to see a doctor, or to take time off to prevent domestic violence or sexual assault.


If there is an emergency because of domestic violence or sexual assault and you cannot give advance notice, your employer cannot fire you or punish you for taking an “unscheduled absence” (sudden time off from work).  However, within a reasonable amount of time after your absence, you have to give your employer proof that that you were absent because of domestic violence or sexual assault.**  For examples of what types of proof you can give, see Do I need to give my employer any documentation (any proof in writing), if I take time off from work for my domestic violence situation?

Note: It might be a good idea to ask your employer in writing for the time off to deal with domestic violence issues and to keep a copy of the letter. This way, if the employer denies you the time off, you have some proof that you asked for it in case you decide to bring legal action against the employer for violating the law.


* Ann.Cal.Labor Code § 230.1(b)(1) & 230(d)(1)

** Ann.Cal.Labor Code §§ 230.1(b)(2) & 230(d)(2)