by Alexandra P. Saddik and Jonathan R. Babione

On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed SB 1383, expanding the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”).

Under the original CFRA, employers with 50 or more employees were required to provide 12 weeks of job-protected leave in any 12-month work period to employees who need time off to care for a family member. Additionally, employers with 20 or more employees were required to provide 12 weeks of job-protected leave to bond with a child.

SB 1383 sunsets both these leave policies at the end of 2020; the new law takes effect January 1, 2021. Under SB 1383, employers with 5 or more employees are required to provide 12 weeks of job-protected leave to 1) bond with a new child; 2) take care of a family member (defined by the law as a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner); or 3) to deal with a qualifying exigency related to the military service of a spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent. An employee may opt to use other leave policies, but the employer is not allowed to require the employee to use other leave options. Leave under SB 1383 runs concurrently with federal family and medical leave.

This legislation significantly expands the scope of CFRA, as employers with less than 20 employees have previously never had to offer CFRA leave or parental bonding leave. Employers should consider how providing this new 12-week leave will affect business operations moving forward. Additionally, employers should make sure that this expanded CFRA leave is incorporated into their handbooks or offered as a standalone policy. Ferber Law is ready to assist with ensuring that your employment policies are updated.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.