Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

CFRA Expansion Effective January 1, 2021

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) currently permits eligible workers employed by a government employer or a private employer with 50 or more employees to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month period to bond with a new child of the employee, for the employee’s own serious health condition, or to care for a child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, or registered domestic partner’s child with a serious health condition.

On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed into law California SB 1383, which will amend and expand the CFRA in the following ways:

  • All private employers with five or more employees will be subject to the provisions of the CFRA, greatly expanding the reach of the law to cover small businesses;
  • Eligible employees will be permitted to take leave to care for their grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings who have a qualifying serious health condition;
  • Eligible employees will be permitted to take leave to care for their child with a serious health condition regardless of the age of the child, whereas currently the child must be under 18 or an adult dependent child;
  • Military exigencies will constitute qualifying leave reasons under the CFRA (where the covered military member is the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent);
  • The “key employee” exception will be eliminated, which currently allows employers to deny job restoration to certain highly compensated employees on CFRA leave; and
  • Covered employers will be required to provide the full entitlement of CFRA leave to each parent of a new child for the child’s birth or placement for adoption or foster care, whereas currently an employer that employs both parents can require the parents to share the 12-week CFRA leave entitlement.

These amendments go into effect on January 1, 2021. The legislation does not alter the CFRA’s requirements that employees have 12 months of service with their employer and 1,250 hours worked in the 12-month period preceding leave to be eligible for CFRA leave.

New Parent Leave Act Repealed Effective January 1, 2021

Effective January 1, 2021, SB 1383 will also repeal the California New Parent Leave Act (NPLA), which requires employers with 20 or more employees to allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a newborn or a child placed with the employee for adoption or foster care. Employees who are currently covered under the NPLA will be eligible for parental leave under the CFRA beginning January 1, 2021.

What Employers Should Do

Employers should revisit their policies and practices and amend them as necessary to comply with the expanded law prior to its effective date. Employers should also prepare to communicate the changes to their California employees and consider providing training to human resources personnel and managers on the new requirements.

What ReedGroup Is Doing

ReedGroup is working to update impacted leave plans and will be prepared to administer the CFRA in accordance with the expansions effective January 1, 2021.

If you’re looking for assistance managing claims or to ensure compliance across your organization, ReedGroup has solutions for you. Check out our offerings here. If you missed Part 1 of this series, you’ll find it here.


Information provided on this blog is intended for general educational use. It is not intended to provide legal advice. ReedGroup does not provide legal services. Consult an attorney for legal advice on this or any other topic.

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