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California Governor Signs “New Parent Leave Act”

Posted in FMLA and Other Leaves of Absence, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations, Wage & Hour

On October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 63 (“the New Parent Leave Act”).  Under the new law, employers may not refuse to allow certain employees to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child.  When the leave is taken, the employer must guarantee the same or comparable position upon the employee’s return. 

Background

Existing law prohibits an employer from refusing to allow a female employee disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medication condition from taking leave for a reasonable time (up to 4 months) before returning to work.  Current law also prohibits employers from refusing to maintain heath care coverage for an employee who takes that leave.

Summary of New Law

The “New Parent Leave Act” prohibits an employer from refusing to grant employees up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child.  Employees are eligible if they have worked for their employer more than 12 months and have at least 1,250 hours of service in that 12 month period.  Further, the law only applies to employers that have at least 20 employees within 75 miles.  The employer is required to maintain health coverage under a group health plan during the employee’s leave.  The law specifically applies to employees who are not already covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Lastly, employers are required to guarantee employment for that employee in the same or comparable position at the end of their leave.

California Employers Should

  • Determine whether they are covered by the new law and which employees are eligible for this leave
  • Train all managers, supervisors, and human resources to ensure they are aware of the new provisions for parental leave

Our Labor & Employment attorneys have extensive experience counseling and defending employers in all areas of employment law and are happy to assist employers in training, handbook revisions, and further compliance with this new law.  Please feel free to contact any of our Labor & Employment attorneys.