July 2015 Updates to California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and Posting Requirements

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

On July 1, 2015, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing made significant amendments to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Now, all private employers with 50 or more employees in at least 20 workweeks in a year and within a 75-mile radius will have to update their leave policies and posted notices, as well as train supervisors and managers in order to comply with the regulations. Employers also include government entities and joint employers or successor in interest to a covered employer.

The purpose of the amendments is to incorporate those of the federal regulations in the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), but there are still some differences in the state law.

Summary of Changes

Some of the changes in the regulations include the following provisions:

  • Employers must maintain an employee’s group health benefits for the entire time an employee is on unpaid, protected, pregnancy disability leave of up to four months and a subsequent CFRA leave of up to 12 weeks.
  • If an employee is ineligible for CFRA leave at the start of a leave because he or she has not been employed the requisite 12 months, the employee may still become eligible while on a leave as it counts toward the time requirement.
  • The definition of “worksite” includes “either a single location, or a group of contiguous locations.”
  • Registered domestic partners are included in the definition of “spouse.”
  • Employers’ required response date to any CFRA leave request is 5 business days after receiving the request.
  • The amendments make clear that an employer may not contact a health care provider for any reason other than to authenticate a medical certification.

The text of the new regulations is available here.

Posting Requirements

Employers must update the notices posted by their business in accordance with the updated text in the new regulations. This includes any notices on the company website. Notices should be accessible to both employees and applicants, posted in a conspicuous place where employees tend to congregate, and may be posted electronically. Download the poster here.

Employee Handbook Requirements

Company handbooks that list other kinds of personal or disability leaves available to its employees must contain the amended texts, including a description of CFRA leave, in the next edition it prints.

The California Family Rights ActEmployeeHandbook_Pop_6467

The CFRA provides employees with up to 12 workweeks of leave within a 12-month period for a qualifying event, such as family care leave or leave for an employee’s own serious health condition. To qualify under the CFRA, employees must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave.

To ensure that your business remains compliant with this new law, consult a licensed California employment attorney. Employee Handbooks should be updated annually in order to keep up with the changes in California employment law.

To schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s employment attorneys, call (323) 450-9010, or fill out a Contact Request Form.  The Grady Firm attorneys can update your business’ company policies/Employee Handbook, create new policies, prepare employment forms, and explain the detailed nuances of the new law.

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