2021 LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY, EMPLOYMENT LAW PART 2
February 19, 2021 by Catherine Holzhauser, Christopher Hammer, Kena Cador, Lorrie Bradley, Peder J.V. Thoreen, Sarah Kanbar, Stephanie Platenkamp, Tony Rice and Travis WestProtected Leave
SB 1383, Expansion of Family Rights Act – This bill dramatically expands the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to apply to most employers and cover additional reasons for leave. Under existing law, CFRA provides employees 12-weeks of unpaid leave to care for their own or a family member’s serious medical condition, or to bond with a new child after birth or after placement for adoption. CFRA guarantees the right to return to work after a qualifying leave but does not require that employees be paid during the leave, though employer-provided health benefits must be maintained. Beginning January 1, 2021, CFRA applies to all private sector employers with 5 or more employees (the previous threshold was 50 or more employees within 75 miles) and continues to all public sector employers. Employees may now take leave to care for additional categories of family members: grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, adult children and parents-in-law (in addition to a child, parent, spouse or registered domestic partner). If both parent-employees are working for the same employer, each has an independent right to take 12 weeks of leave. Employees may also take leave due to a military exigency, meaning if their spouse, domestic partner, child or parent is called to active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.
AB-2992, Protected Leave Time for Victims – Existing law prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or for taking time off from work to obtain relief to help ensure the health, safety, or welfare of the victim or victim’s child. This bill prohibits an employer from taking action against an employee for an unscheduled absence if the employee victim of crime or abuse provides certification that the absence was for the purpose of receiving services for injuries resulting from the crime or abuse.
AB 2017, Designation of Kin-Care Leave – This bill prohibits employers from auto-designating employee sick leave as Kin-Care leave. Existing Kin-Care law protects the rights of employees to use half of a year’s worth of accrued sick leave to care for an ill family member. It is now up to employees to designate time off taken to care for a family member; employers may not designate the leave as Kin-Care without the consent of the employees.
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