California Family Rights Act Senate Bill 1383 Expands Employee Leave

By Gregory Thyberg on November 28, 2020


Family Medical Leave ActIn September of this year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 1383, which expands upon the California Family Rights Act. Senate Bill 1383 extends employee entitlement to family and medical leave, deviating the rights provided by the California Family Rights Act from those provided by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

In this blog post, employment law attorney Gregory Thyberg goes over the key changes established by SB 1383. We’ll note how the changes will affect workers in Sacramento, CA, and surrounding areas once they go into effect on January 1, 2021.

SB 1383 Extends Family Leave Rights to Employees at Smaller Businesses

Previously, to qualify for the family and medical leave rights provided by the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), individuals needed to work at an agency that had 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius. These guidelines were in line with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

Under the new California senate bill, leave rights have been extended private sector workers in agencies that employ five or more people. This is a significant difference, and expands the rights of many individuals working for small businesses.

To qualify for family and medical leave benefits, employees must meet these standards:

  • The employee has worked for the employer for at least 12 months (this does not have to be consecutive)
  • The employee has worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 month period prior to filing for leave

SB 1383 Expands the Type of Leave Eligible Under CFRA

Another significant change enacted by SB 1383 is the type of leave that is now covered by CFRA. Previously, employees could file for family and medical leave to care for a parent, child, spouse, or registered domestic partner with a serious medical condition. Again, these guidelines were on par with the regulations set forth by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Under SB 1383, all employees who qualify for leave (including those previously covered by the CFRA and those who are covered by the new guidelines) can take leave to care for the previously listed family members, as well as a grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.

It should also be noted that SB 1383 eliminates a restriction that prevented employees from taking leave to care for a child over the age of 18, unless they are physically or mentally incapable of self-care. This bill now allows employees to take leave to care for any adult child who is suffering a serious health problem.

Other Notable Changes

There are a few other notable changes enacted by SB 1383 that our Sacramento law office would like to note.

First, if an employer employees both parents who are applying for leave to bond with a child, they can no longer limit their leave to a combination of 12 weeks. Instead, each parent is now eligible for their own 12-week leave.

Second, SB 1383 eliminates the “key employee” exemption, which allows employers to deny a right to reinstatement to key employees, or those who are the highest paid 10 percent. Now, employers must offer a right to reinstatement to all employees taking leave under CFRA.

Finally, because the rights now provided by CFRA are significantly different than those provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees who are covered by both CFRA and FMLA may not have to take eligible leave concurrently. This means they may actually be entitled to longer periods of protected leave.

Learn More About Employment Law

If you require medical leave to care for yourself or a family member, and would like to learn more about the rights provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act, attorney Greogry Thyberg can answer any questions you may have. Send us a message online at your earliest convenience, or call our Sacramento law firm at (916) 204-9173 to schedule a consultation.

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