What Is a California Stress Leave?

While California does not have a stress-leave law, under the California labor law, an employee can be compensated under workers’ compensation when a psychiatric or stress-related injury is diagnosed by a medical professional. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act is another option for employees to take unpaid job-protected leave.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act dictates that companies with 50 or more employees can give eligible employees the right to take unpaid job-protected leave for certain medical conditions. The federal law has certain guidelines to determine who is eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act, and employers can add to those guidelines.

For a workers’ compensation case, the burden of proof for the stress-related injury falls on the employee, and that proof must include the prior medical history of the employee, the financial issue the employee has, and any other personal or family issues. The employee must also have been employed by the employer the employee is seeking compensated stress leave from for at least six months.

California law dictates that all stress claims must be backed up by a physician’s testimony. The proof may also include personal records, coworker’s statements, military and academic records, interviews with family members, and psychometric test data.