New CA labor law effective July 2014 needs employers’ attention NOW.

Recently, changes were enacted to expand the definition of “family” with respect to Paid Family Leave,  which is an employee-paid disability insurance program in California.  Until now, it helped replace some of the employee’s wages in the event they took an unpaid leave to care for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse or registered domestic partner, for the employee’s own serious illness, or for a new parent for bonding purposes.  Leaves for these reasons are also mandated by the State.  However, beginning July 1, 2014, the provisions of the insurance benefits are broadened to include the serious illness of a grandparent, grandchild, sibling and parents-in-law.

 

What’s a bit confusing and will certainly be confusing to employees is that this new legislature does NOT expand the right to take a leave to provide care for relatives in this new category.   It just permits benefits IF the employee is able to get an approved absence for the care of such relatives.  Employers will need to decide if they will voluntarily expand their existing policies to include leaves requested for relatives in these new categories.  Whatever the employer’s decision, full explanations are advised to be communicated to the employees before next July 1.

 

At present, mandatory family leaves under California Family Rights Act effect only employers with more than 50 employees in the US and its territories and is engaged in business in California.

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Cathy S. Taylor, SPHR


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