A woman looks down at a sleeping baby in her arms.

California Expands Family Leave Protections to Small Business Workers

On Sept. 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed CA S.B. 1383 into law, ensuring job-protected family leave for Californians who work for an employer with five or more employees to bond with a new child or to care for themselves or a family member. The new law, which is set forth in the newly added Government Code §12945.2, is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

S.B. 1383 expands rights under the pre-existing California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which already provides leave protections for workers at larger employers who employ 50 or more workers. Now, with the new law, those who work for small businesses will also receive job-protected leave.

“Californians deserve to be able to take time off to care for themselves or a sick family member without fearing they’ll lose their job,” Newsom said in a statement.

Like the former CFRA, employers with five or more employees will now be required to grant up to 12 workweeks of “family care and medical” leave in any 12-month period to employees who have at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer during the previous 12-month period. The employer must guarantee the employee the same or comparable job position upon return from leave.

Family care and medical leave may be taken for any of the following reasons:

  • Birth of a child of the employee or placement of a foster or adopted child with the employee;
  • To care for a family member (child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner) with a serious medical condition;
  • Employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position (except for leave taken for pregnancy-related disability, childbirth, or related medical conditions, which are covered by other laws); and/or
  • A qualifying exigency related to active duty or call to covered duty of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent, in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Employers may not interfere with or deny employees’ rights to exercise family care and medical leave. Similarly, employees are protected from retaliation by their employers for requesting or using family care and medical leave.

If you feel your employer has violated your family care and medical leave rights, you may be able to hold the company liable for damages.

For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with an attorney who can help, contact Haeggquist & Eck, LLP online or call us at (619) 468-5222.

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