California Expands Family Leave Protections
Just this past Thursday, September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed into law SB 1383 (“Bill”) that is set to take effect on January 1, 2021. This Bill will expand the California Family Rights Act, which currently applies to employers with 50 or more employees, to now be applicable to any employer with 5 or more employees. This new law is going to significantly impact small businesses and be a challenge for all employers already trying to keep up with the various leaves already in play, not to mention all the new available leaves due to Covid-19 and the Family First Coronavirus Act.
The new bill provides as of January 1, 2021 employers with 5 or more employees will be required to provide employees with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid protected leave during any 12-month period to bond with a new child of the employee, or to care for themselves or a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner. While this Bill does not require employers to pay employees while they are on this leave, employers will be required to hold the position open for the employee until they return to work, and will require an employer who employs both parents of a child to grant leave to each employee as well.
Since this Bill was first introduced, the California Chamber of Commerce and other business groups have strongly opposed the passing of this Bill, as it will put an undue stress on smaller businesses, in particular those restaurants and mom-and-pop shops that are currently struggling to survive during the Covid-19 pandemic. While yet another win for employees, this creates a huge burden on, and is disappointing for, employers. Unfortunately, as a result, now is the time for small businesses to update their leave policies to reflect this new change in order to ensure they comply properly with the new legislation.
If you would like to learn more about this Bill and how it will affect your business, contact the Employer Lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt.
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