In SHRM, Greg Demers Discusses New California Medical and Family Leave Requirements
New provisions under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) went into effect earlier this year after being signed into law in 2020 by California Governor Gavin Newson. The CFRA, which is similar to the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), now guarantees up to 12 weeks of leave for benefits including the birth of a child; adoption or foster care; caring for oneself or a family member with a serious health condition; and a qualifying military exigency related to the call to active duty.
Tax, employment, and benefits counsel Greg Demers noted in SHRM that while CFRA and the FMLA share many of the same core features, employers in California “must understand the differences between the two statutes to accurately designate leave and notify employees.” Greg added that California employers should “train HR professionals on the differences between the CFRA and FMLA so that they are attuned to circumstances when a request for leave may be permissible under one statute but not another.”
In addition to the added reasons for qualified leave, the CFRA expands the law’s reach by covering private companies with five or more employees and eliminating a previous requirement that employees work within the same 75-mile radius. Companies with employees in multiple states may need to develop separate handbooks and written policies for employees who live in California to minimize confusion.