California’s Small(er) Businesses Now Subject to Parental Bonding Leave

APPLIES TO

All Employers of 20-49 CA Employees

EFFECTIVE

January 1, 2018

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

Last month, Governor Brown signed SB 63, which provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental bonding leave to employees of businesses with as a few as 20 employees.  This new leave follows similar eligibility requirements as the existing California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”), and may provide significant amounts of time off when combined with other available state and federal leaves.

Who is eligible?  Any employee with: (1) more than 12 months of service with an employer who has (2) completed at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period, and who (3) works at a site with at least 20 employees within a 75 mile radius. Employees covered by CFRA and FMLA are not eligible for this leave.

How much leave is granted?  Up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.  Employees may use vacation, sick leave, or other types of time off concurrently.

Is it job-protected leave?  Yes.  Employers are required to provide a guarantee of employment in the same or a comparable position upon return to work.

How does this effect employee benefits?  Employers must maintain and pay for coverage for any eligible employee enrolled in the employer’s group health plan, at the level and conditions that coverage would have been provided if the employee continued to work.  Employers may recover the costs of the premium if the employee fails to return to work at the end of the leave period.

As one might expect, employers are prohibited from interfering with, or taking adverse employment action against, employees who exercise their right to take this leave.

The bill requires the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to create a parental leave mediation pilot program.  An employer who receives a right-to-sue notice may request all parties to participate in the mediation program, which would prohibit employees from bringing any civil actions until the mediation is complete.  This program will end on January 1, 2020.

Action Items

  1. Review the text of SB 63 here.
  2. Have handbooks and policy documents revised to incorporate information regarding this new leave.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2017 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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