Like all the previous years, 2021 brings with it a handful of new employment laws that will affect businesses nationwide, particularly small businesses. We’ve highlighted two laws in particular, that we believe will be beneficial for you to know for your business.
SB1383- CFRA Expansion (Effective January 1, 2021)
What is Changing?
On January 1, 2021, employers with 5 or more employees anywhere in California will be subject to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which requires employers to provide employees with 12-weeks of job-protected leave to care for themselves or family members. Currently, CFRA only applies to employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.
CFRA also expanded the scope of those considered a family member for whose care employees are entitled to CFRA leave. As of January 1, 2021, employees will be able to take leave to care for family members that include grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and domestic partners with a serious health condition, in addition to existing leave to care for a parent, spouse, or child.
Both employee parents will also be entitled to baby-bonding leave under the new CFRA. An employer will be required to grant employees who are both parents of a child up to 12 weeks of leave for each parent for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.
Employees will also be entitled to leave for a qualifying exigency related to active duty or call to active duty of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the US Armed Forces.
Who is Eligible for CFRA?
To be eligible for CFRA, the employee must have:
- Worked for the employer for at least 12 months, and
- Worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month prior to taking CFRA leave.
Once an employee qualifies for CFRA leave, they are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid protected leave during any 12-month period, which can be used in increments. CFRA leave can be used in addition to other leaves available under California law such as Pregnancy Disability Leave.
- Employer must continue health insurance benefits as if the employee was continuously employed during the CFRA leave period.
- Employer must reinstate an employee returning from leave to the same or a comparable position.
How Should You Prepare?
- Know the rules and requirements before the law becomes effective on January 1, 2021.
- Employers with 5 or more employees, even those that are currently covered by CFRA, must update their handbooks and train their point person on the new, expanded CFRA rules.
- Train your supervisors on:
- Leave requests
- Documentation requirements
- Deadlines related to leave
- Tracking leave
AB 1867: California Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (Non-Food Sector Worker)
This law went into effect on September 19, 2020, for non-food sector employers and retroactively to April 16th, 2020, for food-sector employers. It is set to expire on December 31, 2020, or upon expiration of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act portion of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) if it is extended past December 31, 2020. However, the expiration date does not affect an employee’s ability to complete leave that started before expiration date.
Who is a covered employer?
In the non-food sector:
- Employers with 500 or more employees in the U.S.
- Health care providers and emergency responders with fewer than 500 employees that elected to exclude employees from receiving emergency paid sick leave under the FFCRA. Health care provider is defined under Section 826.30(c) of Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (e.g. doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, etc.)
Who is eligible?
For non-food sector employees:
- Worker must leave home to complete work for employer
- Worker is unable to work because of any of the following qualified reasons:
- The covered employee is subject to federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- The covered employee is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19; or
- The employer prohibits the covered employee from working due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of COVID-19.
How much leave are employees eligible for?
Covered employers are required to provide the following amount of supplemental paid sick leave to each covered employee:
For full-time employees:
- 80 hours
For part-time employees with a fixed schedule:
- Total hours normally scheduled over two weeks
For part-time employees with a variable schedule:
- 14 times the average number of hours worked each day in the last 6 months
Important things to remember:
- Employers may not require certification from a healthcare provider before allowing an employee to take paid leave.
- Employers may not require employees to use other paid or unpaid time off before or in lieu of taking supplemental paid sick leave.
- Non-food sector employers must list the supplemental paid sick leave on employee’s paystubs starting the next full pay period after September 19, 2020.
While we only highlighted two new employment laws in this article, there are other important legal updates for you to be aware of as we move into 2021. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the other new employment laws, please reach out to Andrea Paris, Esq. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-529-0007.
Andrea Paris is the principal at Andrea Paris Law, PC, in Newport Beach. She focuses her practice on wage and hour, PAGA, and discrimination cases. Andrea particularly enjoys bringing her decade of employment law practice to help guide businesses through the human element of employment disputes. Outside of work, Andrea is the incoming President of the Associate Board of Project Youth OCBF, a non-profit that helps local at-risk youth stay healthy and get to college, and plays golf.