Governor Newsom recently signed legislation expanding the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) goes into effect on January 1, 2021. This new legislation will impact both small and large employers. Significantly, the new legislation will (1) include organizations with five or more employees, and (2) expands the definitions of covered family members.
1. What is CFRA?
The CFRA is a leave law that provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave and job protection. To qualify for the CFRA, the employee must be employed for one year and accrue 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the previous 12-month period. Currently, the CFRA applies to organizations with 50 or more employees.
The type of leave permitted under the CFRA include the employee’s own serious health condition, a family member’s (minor or dependent child, spouse, parent) serious health condition, and baby bonding,
2. What are the new Changes?
Significantly, the new law expands the application of CRFA to organizations with five or more employees. Additionally, the law expands the type of permissible leave to:
- Care for a child of any age, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling (broadly defined), spouse or domestic partner who has a “serious health condition”
- Undergo various duties related to active duty service in the U.S. armed forces by the employee or the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child or parent.
The new law defines “serious health condition” as a physical or mental condition involving either inpatient care or continuing treatment or supervision by a health care provider.
Given these new sweeping changes, your organization’s employee handbook should include the new changes to the law. Moreover, your organization should prepare the correct leave forms and purchase the new 2021 employment posters include the expansion of the CFRA. It is important that you have an attorney review your leave forms and handbook to verify that you are in compliance.
As a reminder, even with the most careful risk management, a claim or a lawsuit may still arise. Additionally, California has a new three-year statute of limitation with respect to alleged violations of the Fair Employment Housing Act, which violations of the CFRA may apply. It is equally important that you protect your organization and consider an Employment Practice Liability Insurance (E.P.L.I.). There are many things to consider when purchasing an E.P.L.I policy and an experienced broker can assist you with selecting a policy for your organization. Given the new changes that will continue to arise, it is important that you continue to review your policies, terms, conditions and exclusions to ensure there are no gaps in coverage.
Let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding E.P.L.I. or would like us to provide you with a quote for E.P.L.I.. We are here to help!