The State of California has expanded protected parental leave eligibility to employees of qualified companies with 20 to 49 employees. Effective January 1, 2018, the "New Parent Leave Act" provides up to 12 months of protected leave for eligible employees to bond with a new child.
Under SB 63, employees at smaller companies can now take New Parent Leave to spend time with their new child within one year of the child's birth, adoption of a child, or placement of a foster child. Previously, only companies with 50+ employees were required to provide baby bonding leave of this type. Now, employers with 20 to 49 employers are also required to offer protected leave.
Employees are eligible for New Parent Leave if they have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, have worked at least 1250 hours in the past 12 months and work at a worksite with at least 20 employees within a 75-mile radius. This law does not apply to employees to whom FMLA or CFRA already applies.
When an employee returns from Parental Leave, employers must reinstate the employee to the same or comparable position. Notice must be give to an employee prior to their going out on New Parent Leave that they will be reinstated to the same or comparable position at the conclusion of their leave.
Additional regulations pertaining to the New Parent Leave Act will be coming out soon from the California Fair Employment & Housing Council and employers and employees should check their website regularly.
Laws pertaining to these issues can be complex and confusing. Employers should seek counsel regarding the extent of their obligations under the law. Contact Freeland Law APC for a free 30-minute consultation with Michael Freeland, experienced employment lawyer serving San Diego, California. Michael Freeland has been practicing law for more than 27 years and specializes in employment law matters.
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