Effective January 1, 2021, California lawmakers will expand an employee’s ability to take family and medical leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) under SB 1383. Here’s what employers need to know:
Currently, California businesses with 50 or more employees must provide eligible workers with up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave under CFRA and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). California employers with 20 to 49 workers need to provide only the job-protected baby-bonding leave.
Under SB 1383, CFRA will now include employers with at least five employees. It also eliminates the requirement that eligible employees work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. Now, employers with employees scattered in other locations will now become eligible for CFRA.
In addition to applying to smaller businesses, CFRA will now cover:
- Leave to care for more family members, such as grandparents, grandchildren and siblings, in addition to parents, children, spouses and registered domestic partners.
- Key employees who are currently exempt under certain circumstances.
- 12 weeks of baby-bonding leave for both parents, even if they work for the same employer. Currently, parents have to split the leave time.
- Leave for certain qualifying reasons related to the active military duty of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child or parent.
Now that CFRA will require employers to provide time off for employees to care for a wider group of family members, CFRA leave will not always run concurrently with FMLA leave. This means employees may be eligible to take as much as 24 weeks off under CFRA and the FMLA.
For example, an employee could take 12 weeks of CFRA leave to care for a sibling (a reason that is not covered by the FMLA) and then take 12 additional weeks of FMLA leave to care for a parent (a reason that is covered by both CFRA and the FMLA).
All employers with at least 5 employees will need to ensure that their employment policies and notices to employees are updated to include the new qualifying reasons for time off. Employers also will need to obtain and display a new poster that includes the updates.