Small Businesses Now Covered by Expanded California Family Rights Act

California recently passed SB 1383, extending family care and medical leave rights under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to employees working for all employers with five or more employees. Previously, the law was limited to employees of employers with more than 50 employees.
Effective as of January 1, 2021, SB 1383 makes it unlawful for any employer with five or more employees to refuse to grant a request by an employee to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for family care or medical leave.
A request for leave must be granted by the employer in the following circumstances:

  1. The birth of a child, or placement of a child in connection with adoption or foster care.
  2. Employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the job. (A serious health condition is a condition involving either inpatient care or continuing treatment or supervision by a healthcare provider).
  3. Care of a child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner who has a serious health condition.
  4. A qualifying exigency related to active duty or call to covered active duty of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Applicable employees are individuals who have more than 12 months of service with the employer and who have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year. Notably, the CFRA has been expanded to include grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings.

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