Effective January 1, 2013, an unusually large number of new employment laws will affect private employers with employees working in California. Several of these new laws require immediate attention from most employers. Heading into the end of 2012 is a good time for employers to make sure that their policies and practices are compliant with California’s evolving employment laws and regulations.
New Pregnancy Regulations Approved -
On Friday, November 30, 2012, 28 pages of new pregnancy regulations were approved by the Office of Administrative Law. They become effective December 30, 2012, and will affect virtually every California employer. While some of the amendments are technical and simply update certain terms in the existing regulations, other changes are significant. (Access the full text of the new regulations here: FEHC’s Pregnancy Regulations) For example, the written notices that employers are required to post and to give to employees who are affected by pregnancy (“Notice A” for employers with less than 50 employees, and “Notice B” for employers with 50 or more employees) are completely re-worded. Thus, new postings and notices are required as of December 30, 2012. Other substantive changes include the requirement that employers must notify an employee in writing of any medical certification requirement each time a certification is required and provide the employee with a form for the employee’s health care provider to complete. The regulations include an approved form for this purpose entitled “Certification of Health Care Provider for Pregnancy Disability Leave, Transfer and/or Reasonable Accommodation.” The new regulations also attempt to clarify the term “four months” of leave, which the drafters found ambiguous because calendar months do not have an equal number of days. The new definition of four months now includes various methods of calculation and defines the period as the number of days the employee would normally work within four calendar months (one-third of a year equaling 17-1/3 weeks), if the leave is taken continuously following the date the pregnancy disability leave commences. The definition becomes more involved under the new regulations when intermittent leave is taken.
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