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New California Parental Leave Act Affects Small Employers

Posted on October 26, 2017

New Parental Leave Act – Effective January 1, 2018

Governor Jerry Brown just signed into law the New Parent Leave Act. The bill will require that California small businesses (20 to 49 employees) offer workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected family leave to bond with a new baby or child.

The eligibility for this leave is like the current California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provisions which offers the same parental leave protections to new parents who work for an employer with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius:

  • The employee has worked for the employer for at least 12 months.
  • The employee has at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period.
  • The employee works at a worksite that employs at least 20 employees within a 75-mile radius.

Further, the law states that an employer must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • The employer would be prohibited from refusing an eligible employee protected family leave.
  • The employer would be prohibited from refusing to maintain and pay for coverage under an eligible employee’s group health plan if the employee takes leave.
  • The bill would also authorize, but not require, an employer to grant simultaneous leave to two employees for the same birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
  • The employer would be prohibited from refusing to hire, discharge, fine, suspend, expel, or discriminate against an employee for exercising the right to parental leave provided by the bill, or giving information or testimony as to his or her own parental leave, or another individual’s parental leave, in an inquiry or proceeding.

The law goes into effect January 1, 2018. Employers should ensure they update their Labor postings and Employee Handbooks to comply with the new law.

Lauren Sims is the article author and the Director of Human Resources Consulting for eqHR Solutions.

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