The California Family Rights Act applies to companies with 50 or more full- or part-time employees. It allows those employees to take extended leave of up to 12 weeks under certain conditions and with certain benefits. Basically, those who have been employed for 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours during that time would be eligible for CFRA leave. While away from the workplace, they would still be entitled to coverage under the company's health insurance plan and would be able to return to the jobs they had or, if unavailable, to comparable positions. Updates to the act were made in 2015, but some companies may not have made all the adjustments. Here are five changes employers should implement:
1. Posting of CFRA rights
The poster entitled "Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave" has been revised with expanded rights information, including how to file a complaint. This poster must be displayed in a conspicuous place and posted electronically. In addition, the posted versions must be translated into every language spoken by 10 percent or more of the company workforce.
2. Request response time
The original version of the act allowed employers 10 calendars days in which to respond to the request of an employee for CFRA leave. In the updated provisions, the response time has been reduced to five business days.
3. Length of service provision
Although an employee must still meet the 1,250-hour requirement, there is a change to the length of service provision. If an employee who is granted CFRA leave has not yet met the 12-month requirement by the date the leave begins, he or she can now satisfy this requirement while on leave.
4. New light duty requirement
The main purpose of light duty work is to allow someone coming off leave to transition slowly back into the workforce. The updated provision directs that if an employee must take intermittent leave during a shift-an hour off for a medical appointment, for example-the employee will not be required to allocate the whole day to CFRA leave if he or she can return and perform another kind of work that is physically possible. An example might be a flight attendant who obviously cannot return to a flight but instead can do administrative work in the airport.
5. Broader scope
California residents who work remotely can now be protected under the CFRA. This means that someone who telecommutes from home in northern California and reports to a supervisor at company headquarters in Chicago can be covered. The stipulation stated in the original act is still the same: the employer must have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of headquarters.
Looking for clarification
People seeking CRFA leave may need the extended time off for several different reasons: to bond with a newborn or adopted child, or to manage serious personal medical needs or to care for a child, spouse or parent struggling with a major illness. However, the provisions of the California Family Rights Act sometimes need clarification. On the other hand, those who require leave may be faced with issues raised by their employer. An attorney experienced with California employment laws is standing by to answer questions and ensure the rights of all employees are protected.