California offers New Parent protection outside of the FMLA protection

The new California law allows 12 weeks of bonding time for employees of even small companies.

For you California readers, and employers who have employees in California, you need to be aware of a new law that will be effective January 1, 2018. This new law, called the New Parent Leave Act, extends coverage of an existing California law, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).


The new law applies to employers who have 20 or more employees, whereas the FMLA covered employers with 50 or more employers. The 20 or more employees have to work within 75 miles of each other in order to be covered. According to the Senate Bill 63, the new law says it will be illegal to:

Refuse to allow an employee with more than 12 months of service with the employer, who has at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer during the previous 12-month period, and who works at a worksite in which the employer employs at least 20 employees within 75 miles, upon request, to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. If, on or before the commencement of this parental leave, the employer does not provide a guarantee of employment in the same or a comparable position upon the termination of the leave, the employer shall be deemed to have refused to allow the leave. The employee shall be entitled to utilize accrued vacation pay, paid sick time, other accrued paid time off, or other paid or unpaid time off negotiated with the employer, during the period of parental leave.

The law also requires employers to provide medical coverage during the leave time, as stated, it is illegal to:

Refuse to maintain and pay for coverage for an eligible employee who takes parental leave pursuant to this section under a group health plan, as defined in Section 5000(b)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, for the duration of the leave, not to exceed 12 weeks over the course of a 12-month period, commencing on the date that the parental leave commences, at the level and under the conditions that coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued to work in his or her position for the duration of the leave.

Burdon to smaller employers

The passage of this law will incorporate many smaller employers that had previously been not been covered under the CFRA or the FMLA. It will be interesting to see what happens with employment. Some employers may be tempted to cull their staff to get under 20 employees or reduce hours. We will see.

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