After a busy legislative session, the California Governor was faced with two bills that amended three leave laws, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) (SB 406), the California Kin Care law (SB 579), and the Family Partnership Leave law (SB 579). On October 11, Governor Brown vetoed changes to CFRA, and signed off on the changes to Kin Care and the Family Partnership Leave.
Amendments to CFRA? Not This Time!
California Assembly Bill 406 would have extended the protections of CFRA to care for grandparents, adult children, grandchildren, siblings, domestic partners, and in-laws. It also would have removed the 12-week shared parental leave entitlement provision for parents working for the same employer. The bill’s goal was to sync up CFRA’s provisions with the new California paid sick leave law. The Governor’s veto message, however, indicated that while he applauded efforts to ensure care for seriously ill family members, the expansion in the amendment created a disparity between CFRA and FMLA that could require employers to provide up to 24 weeks of family leave per year. The Governor left the door open to a tweaked version of the bill saying he was, “open to legislation to allow workers to take leave for additional family members that does not create this anomaly.” As always, we are standing by to track changes to CFRA and all other leave laws, and we will keep you updated on the latest and greatest.
California Kin Care – More Kin, More Care
California’s Kin Care law doesn’t actually offer more leave for employees – instead it allows employees to use accrued sick leave to provide care for a family member’s illness. This leave was amended to better coordinate with California’s paid sick leave law. Effective January 1, employees may take leave to care for grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings. Also, the amendment clarifies and expands the reasons an employee may take for leave. While the prior version covered “leave to attend to an illness,” the new version covers:
- the diagnosis, care, or treatment for an existing health condition, or for preventive care (prior law specified “illness” only)
- certain absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
California Family Partnership Leave law
Finally, the Governor signed some fairly minor adjustments to the Family-School Partnership Act (FSPA) which allows an employee who has custody of a child as a parent, grandparent, or guardian to take time off from work to participate in school or child-care activities. The amendment makes the following changes:
- changes the term “licensed child day care facility” to “licensed child care provider”
- expands definition of “parent” (i.e. extends protections) to an employee who is a: stepparent, foster parent, or a person who stands in loco parentis to the child
- adds as leave reasons:
- time used to find, enroll, or reenroll a child in a school or with a child care provider
- time needed to address a child care provider emergency or school emergency
What Employers Need to Do
California employers are responsible for compliance with the changes to California Kin Care and the Family Partnership Leave law by January 1, 2016. You’ll need to update employment policies to reflect the changes and train appropriate personnel (Human Resources, Benefits, supervisors, managers etc.) on the changes in the laws.
What Reed Group is Doing
We are busy training our staff, updating our signature LeavePro leave management software, and the California Family Partnership Leave and California Kin Care law chapters in Leave Advisor.
More questions? Reed Group provides up-to-the-minute information on new and pending leave legislation through our online compliance tool, LeaveAdvisor. For more information, and access to a free trial, please click here to visit our website, or call 1-800-347-7443.