The 12 days of California Labor & Employment Series – Day 1 "Additional CFRA Expansion"

Hinshaw & Culbertson - Employment Law Observer
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Hinshaw & Culbertson - Employment Law Observer

It is hard to believe 2021 is coming to a close. COVID-19 continues to impact many aspects of our everyday life. Employers continued to pivot throughout 2021 with the everchanging local and state mandates, orders, and laws. While we hope for a calmer 2022, one thing that has remained constant is the evolving employment laws. Before popping the champagne and saying goodbye to 2021, it is time to reprise our annual review of key labor and employment law developments in California. In the spirit of the season, we are using the "12 days of the holidays" blog series to address new California laws and their impact on California employers. So, on the First Day of the Holidays, my Labor and Employment attorney gave to me - a partridge in a pear tree and AB 1033.

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA), part of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), makes it unlawful for an employer who meets the criteria under CFRA to refuse to grant a request by an eligible employee to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid protected leave during any 12-month period. Last year, California passed SB 1383, which was addressed in last year's Blog Series. Initially, CRFA allowed a qualified employee could take leave to care for a parent, child, spouse, or registered domestic partner with a serious health condition. SB 1383 expanded CFRA to include grandparent, grandchild, and sibling with a serious health condition as well.

AB 1033 acts as an add-on to SB 1383 as the legislature realized that parent-in-law was omitted from the prior bill. As such, with the addition of AB 1033, under CFRA, an eligible employee may take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid protected leave during any 12-month period to care for a parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, sibling and now parent-in-law with a serious health condition. AB 1033 is effective as of January 1, 2022. With the passage of AB 1033, employers need to update their CFRA policy to include parent-in-law. An addendum to your handbook notifying employees of the change is recommended.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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