If your business employees 20 to 49 employees, you must prepare for a significant change that many small businesses deem a significant burden – job-protected parental leave. On October 12, 2017, Governor Brown approved SB 63, which expands the leave requirements of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to employers who employ at least 20 employees within a 75 miles (down from the threshold of 50 employees). If your company does not have a parental leave policy, or has one that does not meet the requirements of the new law, the next couple of months is the perfect time to create one, updated your employee handbook, and establish a contingency plan on how you will cover for employees who may take anywhere between 3 to 7 months of leave.
Here is a short outline of the new Government Code Section 12945.6’s requirements:
Employers with at least 20 employees within 75 miles of the worksite must now do the following:
1. Provide up to 12 weeks of parental leave to an employee who has worked for the employer for more than 12 months and has at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period. Parental leave is leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.;
2. Provide a guarantee of employment in the same or comparable position at the end of the leave.
3. Maintain and pay for group health insurance for the duration of leave up to 12 weeks over the course of a 12-month period. However, employers may recover the premium paid to maintain the employee’s coverage if both of the following conditions occur: a) the employee fails to return to work from leave; and b) the failure to return to work is for reasons other than the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition or other circumstances beyond the employee’s control.
4. Provide pregnancy disability leave in addition to the parental leave if the employee is qualified for the leave.
Learn more about California Pregnancy and Parental Leave.
If you have questions about the new parental leave requirements, feel free to contact me or call (949) 529-0007.
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