Q. We recently learned that a new law was passed allowing the spouses of military personnel to take unpaid leave. Is this true?
A. Yes. In accordance with California law, “qualified employees” may take up to 10 days of unpaid leave during the same period their spouses or domestic partners are on leave from active duty. To qualify for this leave, the following requirements must apply:
- The spouse or domestic partner must be a U.S. armed forces member who has been deployed during a “period of military conflict” to an area designated as a combat theater or combat zone by the president of the United States.
- Alternatively, the spouse or domestic partner must be a member of the National Guard or Reserve who has been deployed during a “period of military conflict.”
- The employee must work for the employer for an average of 20 or more hours per week.
To request leave, an employee must notify the employer of the intent to take leave within two business days of receiving official notice that the spouse or domestic partner will be on leave from deployment. The employee must also provide written documentation showing that the requested leave will occur during the same period the spouse or domestic partner is on leave from active duty.
California’s Military and Veterans Code, Section 395.10 authorizes this unpaid leave for spouses. It took effect in October.