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California Expands the Employee’s Rights to Family and Medical Leave

On September 17th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new law, SB 1383, that expands on the current family and medical leave entitlements. The law goes into effect on January 1st, 2021 and it requires employers with as a few as five employees, to provide family and medical leave rights. It also expands the covered reasons for protected leave and the type of family members that an employee can take leave for.

 

CFRA and NPLA are repealed

Originally, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) stated that an employee was not eligible for family care and medical leave if their place of employment had less than 50 employees working within a 75-mile radius. Similarly, the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) stated that an employee was not eligible for baby-bonding leave if their place of employment had fewer than 20 employees within a 75-mile radius.

SB 1383 repeals both the NPLA and CFRA and it requires employers with at least five employees to provide eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid job-protected leave during any 12-month period for specific covered reasons. Additionally, the employer is responsible for paying and maintaining the employee’s coverage under a group health plan for the duration of the leave. There is little guidance on how employers are to recover insurance premiums in the event of an employee not returning to work.

Reasons for leave and types of covered family members

With this new law, eligible employees can now take leave to care for themselves, a child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, spouse, domestic partner, or sibling. They can also take leave to bond with a new child. The prior regulations did not include grandchildren or grandparents.

Employers are now required to provide up to 12 weeks of leave, per parent, if both are employed through the same employer. It also extends coverage for leave due to an employee’s spouse, child, or domestic partner’s call to active duty in the armed forces of the United States. In this case, an employer must provide the employee up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave during any 12-month period.

This new law does not allow an employer to refuse reinstatement of Key Employees (the highest-paid 10%) after a protected leave of absence.

Employees must still meet the requirements for eligibility, which includes a minimum of 12 months of services and 1,250 hours worked for the company in a 12-month period.

In preparation for January 1, 2021 employers that employ a minimum of five employees should amend their current policies and procedures for leave, to include these new requirements.

Is there anything Payroll Systems can help you with as you accommodate rapid legislation changes? Reach out and talk to us about easy-to-scale solutions you need for your business.

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This article provides general information and shouldn’t be construed as legal or HR advice. Since employment laws may change over time and can vary by location and industry, please consult a lawyer or HR expert for advice specific to your business. You can also contact Payroll Systems to inquire about our HR support services.