kin care“Kin Care” is a right granted to eligible California employees which authorizes you to take the time needed to care for a sick family member. But, which family members and how is Kin Care any different from your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act?

Under California Labor Code Section 233, the “kin” in Kin Care can be a child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.

While Kin Care might offer a more inclusive definition of family than FMLA or CFRA, the law doesn’t mean that those caring for their kin are allocated additional sick leave from work.

Instead, Kin Care protects California employees taking their own sick leave to care for a family member—the coverage extends up one-half of the sick leave that you’ve accrued in a year. This means that your absence from work to care for a qualifying family member can’t be “counted against” you as a basis for discipline.

Who Can Take Kin Care?

Any California employee who accrues sick leave is eligible for Kin Care. However, you must have the days available. If you’ve exhausted your sick leave, than the absence can’t be covered under Kin Care and you may need to consider whether options, such as FMLA or CFRA, are applicable.

Additionally, those who don’t accrue sick leave, such as per diem employees, aren’t eligible for Kin Care.

What Kinds of Illnesses Are Covered Under Kin Care?

When it comes to Kin Care, the term “illness” should be read broadly. It can mean something minor, such as a cold or the Flu, as well as more serious health conditions. This is different from coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which is limited to serious or chronic health conditions.

Note that Kin Care and FMLA can be used for the same purpose—and even at the same time. Should you take a sick day to care for a family member with a serious or chronic health condition, the absence may qualify under both FMLA and Kin Care.

In such cases, your supervisor is required to notify you that the absence falls under both, and will be deducted from your annual entitlement for both Kin Care and FMLA.

However, there is a benefit: While FMLA (or CFRA) leave is unpaid, Kin Care provides paid coverage. Additionally, you can use accrued sick day for Kin Care during an FMLA or CFRA leave.