Legal Alerts Sep 29, 2020

SB 1383 Expands Calif. Family Rights Act

New Law Takes Effect Jan. 1

Senate Bill 1383, signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, now applies the California Family Rights Act to employers with 5 or more employees across the State. Previously, CFRA only applied to employers with 50 or more employees in a 75-mile radius (mirroring the Family Medical Leave Act standard), whereas the New Parent Leave law applied to smaller employers with 20 or more employees in a 75-mile radius.

Signed Sept. 17 and taking effect on Jan. 1, the major changes in the new CFRA provisions include:

  1. Changing the threshold requirement to employers with 5 or more employees across the entire State of California.
  2. Expanding the definition of family member to include care for an adult child over 18 years of age, the child of a domestic partner and a grandparent, grandchild and sibling.
  3. Requiring an employer of both parents of a child to grant up to 12 weeks of leave for each parent.
  4. Deletes the key employee provision under the prior CFRA provisions, as employers were able to deny reinstatement to key employees seeking to return from leave. The provision’s elimination removes an employer’s ability to fill positions of critical high-ranking employees during their leave.
  5. Repeals the New Parent Leave Act as redundant.

In order to be entitled to this leave, a qualified employee must have: worked for the employer for at least 12 months of service (can be nonconsecutive work for employer over a 7-year period, except that any military leave time while employed counts toward this 12 months of service) and worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period prior to taking CFRA leave.

As long as these requirements are met, then up to 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave will be provided to such employee for qualifying purposes in a 12-month period. In addition, the employee shall continue to receive health insurance benefits at the same level as if the employee had been continuously employed during the CFRA leave and the right to reinstatement to the employee’s same or comparable job position to the extent that the employee would have remained in that position if they had been continuously employed during the CFRA leave.

As demonstrated above, these new CFRA provisions will apply to a larger range of employers (both public and private), while the Family Medical Leave Act will still only apply to larger employers that meet the threshold requirements of employing 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.

While the new CFRA provisions can be complex, employers still have time to amend their policies in light of these changes before the Jan. 1 deadline. The attorneys at Best Best & Krieger LLP are available to assist with such review.

Disclaimer: BB&K Legal Alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts, facts specific to your situation or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information herein.

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