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CALIFORNIA EXPANDS FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE

  • October 06, 2020
  • Blog
Potente, Business Lawyer and Company Formation

Beginning January 1, 2021, California employers with five employees or more must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected family and medical leave to eligible California employees during each 12-month period. Senate Bill 1383, recently signed into law by Governor Newsom, significantly expands the California Family Rights Act. Under the new law, in addition to lowering the minimum number of employees to five, the definition of “family member” has been expanded to include grandparents, grandchildren, adult children, and siblings (previously, only minor children, parents, spouses, and registered domestic partners were covered under the CFRA).

Additionally, unlike the current law, Senate Bill 1383 discards the “75-mile radius” rule, which required employees to work within a 75-mile radius of the employer. This is a major shift; meaning, if an employer with five employees only has one employee located in California, the California employee will be eligible for leave so long as they’ve met the 1250-work hour threshold, whether or not that employee lives within 75 miles of the employer. This also means that the relatively recent “New Parent Leave Act” (which provided 12 weeks of baby bonding leave to employees who worked for an employer with 20 or more employees) is no longer necessary (and repealed as of January 1, 2021), since such leave is now available to employers with over five employees.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and calls from the business community to not impose this mandate at a time when the economy and businesses small and large have been struggling, the governor insisted on moving forward with this proposal and the legislature passed it by the slimmest of margins. Regardless of these circumstances, now is the time for California employers to begin to develop policies and procedures to implement and administer these new leave requirements.

You may also click here for the full text of the bill.

This post is for informational purposes only, and merely recites the general rules of the road. Many legal rules have exceptions, and every case is unique. Never rely solely on a blog post in evaluating your situation — always contact a business attorney when your legal rights and obligations are on the line.

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