California Medical & Family Leave expansion

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The California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which provides leave for employees for their own (or a family member’s) serious medical condition as well as baby bonding underwent significant changes in the last two years, making it different from FMLA leave in several ways:

  1. Employers with only 5 or more employees now must provide this job-protected leave of up to 12 weeks – the requirement of 50 employees within 75 miles no longer applies.
  2. Where both parents of a new child work for the same company, employers can no longer limit the amount of leave taken by both parents to a combined total of 12 weeks—employers now must separately provide 12 weeks to each employee.
  3. Employers no longer can refuse to grant CFRA leave under the “key employee” exception, which allowed employers to opt out of providing the leave to salaried employees who are among the highest paid 10 percent of the company’s employees.
  4. The definition of who is a family member has been expanded and covers those not included under FMLA: a spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, or child (of any age), grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings, as well as parents-in-law.

Please contact counsel to ensure your handbooks and policies are up to date and for help with implementing the new policy and evaluating leave requests.