California Greatly Expands Availability of Maternity and Paternity Leave
October 19, 2017 by John C. Provost
Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation last week that will greatly expand the number of employees to whom employers must offer maternity and paternity leave.
Under current law, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) – as its federal counterpart, the Family and Medical Leave Act – requires employers who employ at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to bond with their newborn child or one that is newly adopted or placed for foster care. The new law, which takes effect January 1, 2020, will expand this requirement to smaller employers — those who employ between 20 and 49 employees within a 75 mile radius.
As is already required for larger employers, these smaller employers will be prohibited from discriminating against employees who take maternity or paternity leave, must keep their jobs open for them until they return, and must maintain their medical benefits while they are on leave.
To be eligible, an employee must have been employed by their employer for one year and must have worked at least 1,250 hours within that year or any subsequent 12 month period. If two eligible employees of the same employer want leave for the same child, they can be jointly limited to the maximum of 12 weeks that is allowed for one employee.
As under the current provisions of California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave law already gives pregnant women, regardless of the size of their employer, up to four months of unpaid leave if they are disabled due to pregnancy, but now more new moms will be eligible to take up to 12 weeks off after the birth of the child in order to bond with their new baby.
SB 63, the bill that was signed by the Governor, was sponsored by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).
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