seal_calIf you have 50 or more employees in California, be advised that the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is changing in July. On March 4th the California Fair Employment and Housing Council’s Amendments to its California Family Rights Act Regulations were approved. Reed Group wrote about the anticipated changes in a prior blog post, here. The changes are expansive and we will be providing more details and useful tools to understand their impact in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here is a brief summary of what is coming down the pike:

  • incorporates into CFRA the March 6, 2013 FMLA regulations (but not the March 27, 2015 FMLA regulations! However, those regulations only updated the definition of spouse, which CFRA updated as part of these regulatory changes)
  • changes definitions, including the definition of serious health condition, covered employer, eligible employee, and spouse which now expressly includes same-sex marriages and domestic partners
  • changes employers’ posting and written notice obligations
  • expands the key employee provision
  • adds a specific provision regarding employee’s fraudulent use or obtainment of CFRA leave
  • amends the group health benefits section to add requirements relating to payment of group health plans while on leave
  • requires employers and employees to engage in an interactive process if a CFRA leave reason also constitutes a disability and the employee cannot return to work at the conclusion of CFRA leave
  • expands the details surrounding calculating CFRA leave, including leave year method, counting, and possible pay reductions for the use of increments of intermittent and reduced scheduled leave, as well as addressing holidays, overtime, and physical impossibility
  • defines and expands upon intermittent bonding rules, including the employer’s ability to transfer an employee who is using intermittent or reduced scheduled CFRA leave for bonding purposes
  • amends and clarifies the rules regarding certification, including providing for penalties for failure to return a certification, amending the sample Certification of Health Care Provider form, including the addition of CalGINA safe harbor language, and clarifies authentication and second opinion process
  • clarifies an employer’s ability to seek fitness-for-duty and return-to-work information
  • adds details around the employee’s use of paid accrued time off and disability or paid family leave benefits during CFRA leave

Please continue to watch our blog for more information.  In the meantime, we’ve prepared a short list of things you may need to address.

What Employers Must Do Now:

  • Take time to review the new CFRA regulations, the changes are expansive!
  • Prepare to review and update all notice documents/posters, written eligibility and determination letters, employee handbooks and company leave policies in light of these regulatory changes
  • Train Human Resources, Benefits, Supervisor and Manager on how to manage the new CFRA regulations and company policy changes

What Reed Group is Doing:

  • Updating our signature LeavePro™ leave management software to encompass these changes
  • Reviewing client notifications and packets to determine if changes or clarifications are needed;
  • Training staff
  • Updating the CFRA chapter in Leave Advisor™