November 20, 2020
Authored by: Allison Eckstrom, Christopher Archibald and Sharlene Meno
On September 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 1383, which repealed the current California Family Rights Act (CFRA), eliminated the California New Parent Leave Act, and replaced those statutes with a new CFRA, codified in California Government Code Section 12945.2, et seq. Effective January 1, 2021, CFRA will cover employers with as few as five employees and expand the reasons for which CFRA leave may be used, among several other changes. Important aspects of the new law, as well as key considerations for employers to consider in developing compliance plans, are set forth below.
Expanded to Cover Smaller Employers
Currently, CFRA (modeled largely after the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)) applies to private employers with 50 or more employees and public employers of any size. The new CFRA lowers the employee threshold and applies to private employers with five or more employees.
Therefore, CFRA will now apply to much smaller employers. Many smaller employers likely never had to comply with FMLA or CFRA, so there may be a steep learning curve between now and January 1, 2021.
Expanded to Cover More Employees: 75-Mile-Radius Eligibility Requirement Eliminated
To be eligible for leave under the current CFRA, employees must (1) have more than 12 months of service with the employer; (2) have at least 1,250 hours of service with the company during the previous 12-month period; and (3) work for an employer with at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius. These three requirements mirror the