Expansion of California Family Rights Act

AdobeStock_252112056-300x200Changes to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) took effect on January 1, 2021, after the passage of Senate Bill 1383. The expansion of the CFRA has brought significant changes to employers and employees in California.

Below, we will summarize everything California employers should be aware of to ensure compliance with the CFRA expansion.

SB 1383: Sweeping Changes to the California Family Rights Act

Before the expansion of the CFRA at the beginning of 2021, the Act covered only employers with at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the worksite. SB 1383 greatly expanded the California Family Rights Act to cover all employers with five or more employees regardless of the radius.

After the passage of SB 1383, qualified employees can now take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, protected leave to bond with or care for:

  • Themselves
  • A parent
  • A spouse
  • A domestic partner
  • A grandparent
  • A grandchild
  • A sibling
  • A child, regardless of age

The new law is applicable to all employees who work for a company that employs at least five employees.

How Does the Expansion of California Family Rights Act Impact Employers?

California employers should be aware of all the new rules and requirements after the passage of SB 1383. The expansion of the California Family Rights Act, effective January 1, 2021, brought several notable changes that may impact employers:

  • Eliminate an employer’s ability to deny a request for family leave to employees at small worksites;
  • Eliminate an employer’s right to refuse to reinstate an employee’s same or comparable job position if the employee is defined as a “key employee”;
  • Eliminate the employer’s ability to limit employees’ total amount of CFRA leave when both parents work for the same employer; and
  • Give employees the right to sue employers for retaliation, refusal to grant CFRA leave, or refusal to reinstate an eligible employee at the end of their leave.

The expansion of CFRA is not limited to the above-mentioned changes. Contact a knowledgeable employment lawyer in California to find out how the new law might impact you as an employer.

A California Employer’s Guide to Compliance with the CFRA Expansion in 2021

In light of the passage of SB 1383, most employers in California are now covered by the California Family Rights Act. For this reason, covered employers should revise their policies and review the rules and requirements related to their obligation to provide leave to qualified employees.

  1. If you are a newly covered employer, revise your handbook describing leave of absence to include applicable CFRA policies;
  2. Display a new poster that contains information regarding CFRA policies in your place of business (the updated poster is available on the website of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing);
  3. Train your supervisors and human resources (HR) staff regarding the new CFRA policies; and
  4. Implement applicable forms and procedures to make sure that your company is prepared to provide CFRA leave to eligible employees.

Contact our San Jose employment lawyers at Structure Law Group, LLP, if you need assistance navigating the latest changes to the California Family Rights Act. We can help you understand what steps you need to take to comply with the CFRA expansion. Call (408) 441-7500 or contact us online to receive a consultation.