As we all may already know, the California legislature frequently makes tweaks to the state’s numerous leave laws every year, and 2023 is no different. To keep you updated with the latest changes in law, we’ve put together a list of the 2023 changes in California leave laws for you. Keep on reading to learn about the changes.
2023 Changes in California Leave Laws
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) gives eligible employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of leave within a 12-month period for a qualifying reason. As a result of a previous change that was initiated on January 1, 2021, significantly more employers are now subject to CFRA. Under that earlier amendment, private employers that employ a total of 5 or more employees (including both part-time and full-time employees) must comply with the CFRA. Prior to 2021, the threshold was 50 employees. CFRA is also applicable to state and local government employers of any size.
How does an Employee Qualify for CFRA leave?
An employee becomes eligible for CFRA leave when they have:
- More than 12 months of service with the employer
- A minimum of 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period
Leave may be taken due to the following reasons:
- Serious Health Condition of Employee – A health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the duties of their job (except for disabilities related to pregnancy—which would fall under Pregnancy Disability Leave, or PDL).
- Serious Health Condition of a Qualified Individual – A serious health condition of the parent, sibling, spouse, registered domestic partner, child, grandparent, grandchild, or parent-in-law of the employee.
- Birth of a Child – The birth and care of a newborn.
- Placement of Child for Adoption – Placing a child for adoption or foster care.
- A Qualifying Exigency – An exigency related to covered active duty or call to covered active duty of the employee’s partner, spouse, domestic partner, or child in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Passage of A.B. 1041
On January 1, 2023, the bases for leave changed. With the passage of A.B. 1041, eligible employees will also be able to take CFRA leave due to the serious health condition of a “designated person.” A designated person is an individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is close to that of a family relation. The employer cannot require the employee to name the designated person ahead of time—instead, the employer can:
✔ Ask the employee to identify the designated person at the time the employee requests the leave
✔ Limit the employee to one designated person per 12-month period
Changes in California’s Paid Leave Law
A.B. 1041 also amended the paid leave law for California—the Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act of 2014. Under the paid leave law, an eligible employee can take a paid sick leave for:
- Diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, the employee or the employee’s family member
- Recovery after being a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault
Unpaid Leave Upon Death of a Family Member
Governor Newsom signed A.B. 1949 (Ch. 767), establishing the right to up to five days of unpaid bereavement leave upon the passing of a family member. The new law (Cal. Gov Code § 12945.7) applies to employers with five or more employees, with the inclusion of state and local government employers. To be eligible, the employee must have worked for 30 days for their employer. Employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement may not be subject to this law (such as unions). This law does not include a “designated person: within the definition of a family member. The bereavement leave must be completed within three months of the date of death of the family member. The bereavement leave does not need to be taken on consecutive days.
If requested by the employer, the employee shall provide documentation of the death of the family member within 30 days of the first day of leave. Documentation includes (but is not limited to):
- A death certificate
- A published obituary
- A written verification of death, burial, or memorial services from a mortuary, funeral home, burial society, crematorium, religious institution, or governmental agency
The employer shall maintain the confidentiality of any employee requesting the leave. Any documentation provided by the employee shall be maintained as confidential and not disclosed except to internal personnel and counsel, as necessary/required by law.
That concludes the list of 2023 changes in California leave laws. To keep up with the law, updates, and helpful insights, be sure to keep up with us. Check in with our monthly blogs and follow us on social media for new materials.