Legal Information: California

Workplace Protections

Updated: 
June 18, 2018

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

You must tell your employer ahead of time if you need time off from work to deal with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking 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.”1 However, it is wise to tell your employer as early as possible.

If there is an emergency because of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking 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, sexual assault, or stalking.2 For examples of what types of proof you can give, see Do I need to give my employer any documentation (proof in writing) if I take time off from work?

Note: It might be a good idea to ask your employer in writing for the time off to deal with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking 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.

1 Cal.Labor Code § 230.1(b)(1) & 230(d)(1)
2 Cal.Labor Code §§ 230.1(b)(2) & 230(d)(2)