Expansion of CA Family Rights Act – SB 1383

On Behalf of Griswold LaSalle Cobb Dowd & Gin LLP

Governor Newsom signed SB 1383 on September 17, 2020, significantly expanding the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”). This new law becomes effective January 1. 2021, meaning businesses should be preparing now.

What is the CA Family Rights Act?

The CFRA is a law that allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave during a 12 month period. Essentially, employees who have worked for a company for a certain amount of time are able to take up to 12 weeks for a qualifying reason, without losing their job or health insurance.

The CFRA as it Stands Now:

Under current CFRA law, a qualifying employee may take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the follow reasons: (1) birth of a child, adoptions, or foster care placement of a child, (2) To care for an immediate family member (spouse, domestic partner, minor child, or parent) and (3) employee is unable to work due to serious health condition.

Employees are eligible for this leave if they work for public entity or a private company with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius, and have worked for the company for at least 12 months and put in at least 1,250 hours with the company to be eligible.

Changes to the CFRA under SB 1383:

Effective January 1, 2021, CFRA will require businesses with five or more employees to provide 12 weeks of family eave to eligible employees. This is much broader that then previous 50 or more employee cutoff, which widens the number of businesses that must comply.

Additionally, SB 1383 will expand the definition of “family member” to now include: Grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and adult children. This also broadens the availability of this leave to by expanding the eligible family members that trigger it.

CFRA as Stands Now CFRA changes under SB 1383
>   Defines employer to include public agencies and private sector employers with 50 or more employees >   Lowers private sector employer threshold to 5 or more employees
>   Family Members include: minor child, spouse, domestic partner, and parent. >   Expands family members to include grandparents, grandchildren, adult children, and siblings.
>   Employee eligible if company has 50 or more employees working within 75 mile radius >   No longer has 75-mile radius requirement
>   Exception for high salaried employees in the highest paid 10% >   Removes high salaried employee exception
>   No leave specified for call to active duty of employee or family member of employee >   Allows leave related to call for active duty of Employee or family member of employee.


Key Differences under SB 1383

CFRA No Longer Consistent with Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA provides 12 weeks leave per year for serious health conditions of employee or employee’s child, parent, or spouse for employees working for company with 50 or more employees.

Companies covered by both the updated CFRA (starting Jan. 1, 2021)  and the FMLA may face a stacking problem if an employee takes leave covered under CFRA that is not covered under FMLA. For Example, if an eligible employee takes leave to care for a Grandparent, they may do so under CFRA, however, this is not covered under FMLA. That Employee’s FMLA leave would remain unused and available for later date within that same 12 month period.

How should Employers Prepare for Changes to CFRA?

Employers, especially those with less than 50 employees, should begin preparation now—as they were not previously obligated to provide such leave to employees.

HR Personnel should begin developing policies and procedures before January 1, 2021. Even employers who were already covered under CFRA (50 or more employees) should update personnel policies to accommodate expansions (i.e. definition of family member.)

If you are in need of an experienced business attorney to help navigate SB 1383, our attorneys can work with you to ensure you are prepared for January 1, 2021. All of our attorneys are available via teleconference or video conference for a consultation.

Call 559-584-6670 now to schedule a consultation.

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