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California Legislature Moves Closer to Expanding the Family Rights Act

July 7 2015

By: Labor & Employment Group

On June 24, 2015 California’s Senate Bill 406 was passed by the Senate and has been sent to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.  If passed this bill would implement changes to the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”).   Under the current law, employees may take up to 12 weeks of protected leave during any 12-month period in order to bond with a child, to care for a family member, or for the employee’s own health condition.  Currently, CFRA applies only to businesses with 50 or more employees.  This bill will lower this threshold, requiring businesses with 25 or more employees to grant CFRA leave.

Additionally, as currently enacted, the law only requires employers to provide leave for an employee to care for a family member that is a child, parent, or spouse of the employee.  The bill would redefine the term “child” to include biological, adopted, or foster children, a stepchild, a legal ward, or the child of a domestic partner, and would remove the current restriction on age or dependent status. The bill also would expand the availability of leave to care for others with a serious health condition to include leave to care for a grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or domestic partner. The bill would include a parent-in-law in the definition of “parent.”