2021 is just around the corner and with it comes significant changes to the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) from Senate Bill (“SB”) 1383. The CFRA is the state companion statute to the federal Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). It generally provides qualifying employees up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or because of an inability to work because of a serious health condition. Employees qualify if they have worked for an employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period prior to taking CFRA leave. The law does not entitle employees to wages during CFRA leave, but employees may use accrued leave time. Furthermore, employers must keep employees on group health plans and must reinstate employees to a comparable position upon their return.
SB 1383 Significantly Expands Coverage for Employees at Small Businesses
One of the biggest changes to the CFRA is the expansion of who must comply with the CFRA’s requirements. Currently, the CFRA applies to business with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. As of January 1, 2021, the CFRA will apply to businesses with 5 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. This means that many small businesses that were previously exempt must now comply with the CFRA’s leave requirements. The burden that small businesses may face with these changes cannot be understated. A small business with five employees may have to accommodate 12 weeks of leave for 20% or more of their workforce at a time under this amended policy.
SB 1383 Expands Grounds for Employees to Qualify for Leave
SB 1383 also expands the reasons for which an employee may take leave. Employees currently qualify for leave in order to care for a spouse, domestic partner, minor child, or parent with a serious health condition. SB 1383 expands the law to allow employees to qualify for leave in order to care for adult children, grandparents, grandchildren, or siblings with serious health conditions.
SB 1383 brings the CFRA in line with the FMLA by permitting leave related to active duty or call to active duty for an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the United States Armed Forces.
Do you have questions as to how these extensive changes to the California Family Rights Act impact your business? Gibbs Giden can help.
Contact; Matthew Wallin, Esq.
Matthew Wallin is a senior associate in the Los Angeles office where he practices labor and employment law. He has extensive experience defending private business and public entities in litigation involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour disputes. He has also defendant against assault and workplace violence claims.
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