New Parent Leave Act For Small Employers – January 1, 2018

Effective January 1, 2018, California’s New Parent Leave Act for Small Employers (SB 63) requires California employers with 20-49 employees within a 75-mile radius to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to new parents for the purpose of bonding with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.  This leave is in addition to pregnancy disability leave under California Government Code section 12945.  Some additional details of the New Parent Leave Act include the following:

Covered Employers

California private employers who employ 20-49 employees within a 75-mile radius.  (Note that employers with 50 or more employees will be covered under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).)

Eligible Employees

Employees who have at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer during the previous 12-month period, and who work at a worksite in which the employer employs at least 20 employees within 75 miles.

Terms of Leave

Up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

The employer must maintain and pay for insurance coverage under a group health plan for an employee who takes this leave, on the same terms and conditions as for employees who are actively at work. The employer can recover insurance coverage costs if the employee fails to return when leave expires for a reason other than the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition or other circumstances beyond the control of the employee — the same circumstances as under the CFRA.

If both parents work for the same employer and both are entitled to this parental leave, their combined mandated leave is capped at 12 weeks. The employer may (but is not required to) allow both parents to take this mandated leave simultaneously.

On or before the commencement of parental leave, the employer must provide a guarantee of employment to the same or comparable position upon termination of the leave.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office and our attorneys would be happy to assist you.

Author:  Rebecca L. Gombos, Esq.