California Increases Family Leave to Employees of Small Employers
On September 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 1383 (SB-1383), which would increase employee eligibility for family and medical leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The law goes into effect on January 1, 2021. It will reduce the number of employees required for an employer to be covered under the CFRA and also expands the reasons why employees may take these leaves.
Currently, private employers with 50 or more employees working in a 75-mile radius are required to provide employees with leave under the CFRA, while private employers with 20 or more employees are required to provide limited leave time for baby bonding pursuant to the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA).
Amendment to Existing Provision
This Act will expand the leave entitlement to cover smaller employers, requiring employers with 5 or more employees to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period for a qualifying reason. An employee qualifies for these rights upon 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the previous 12-month period. Qualifying reasons include:
- Leave for the birth of a child of the employee or the placement of a child with an employee in connection with the adoption or foster care of the child by the employee.
- Leave to care for a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner who has a serious health condition.
- Leave because of an employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position of that employee, except for leave taken for disability on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
- Leave because of a qualifying exigency related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Also as per the amendment, qualified employees will be entitled to take leave to care for the serious health condition of a grandparent, grandchild, or sibling in addition to the current requirement covering an employee’s parent, child, and spouse or domestic partner.
The Bill further eliminates the current CFRA rule allowing employers to limit leave for two parents working in the same company. Under the new law, each eligible parent is entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a qualifying reason.
Additional Notes: Although the FMLA and CFRA generally run concurrently, there may be circumstances where an employee is eligible to take leave under the new regulations, but not under the FMLA, such as leave to care for a grandparent.