August 5, 2015

Reminder: Workplace Postings of California Leave Laws (article)

The golden state has implemented several employment-based leave laws over the past several years.  These include the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), the Pregnancy Disability Leave law, the paid Family Leave Program, and more recently, the Paid Sick Leave law.  Each of these state laws may impact some or all employers as it relates to applicability, types and amount of leave, coordination and continuance of benefits during leave, workplace postings, employee notification obligations, among other requirements.  To add to the confusion, there are three different state agencies who oversee and enforce the laws:

·         The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) enforces the paid sick leave law;

·         The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) enforces CFRA and the Pregnancy Disability law; and

·         The paid family leave program is enforced by the Employment Development Department (EDD).


There have been recent regulatory changes made to paid sick leave law and the CFRA provisions that became effective July 1, 2015, as follows:


Paid sick leave – Workplace Posting Reminder.  As mentioned earlier this year (see California Sick Leave Notification in Continuing Expansion of Paid Sick Leave in the States, Benefit Beat, 3/4/15) employers are required to provide a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked by their employees beginning July 1, 2015.  All new hires employed on or after January 1, 2015 must be provided notification about the paid sick leave law upon their date of hire.  In addition, employers are required to provide the same notification to their existing employees beginning July 8, 2015. The DLSE’s website provides resources for employers, including the required poster and notice to employees (available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese), together with FAQs and Fact Sheets.


Amendments to California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

Similar to the federal Family and Medical Leave law (FMLA), the CFRA is intended to provide workplace rights and protections for employees who take time off for bonding with a newborn, adopted or foster child, or to attend to the serious health condition of the employee or his/her family member.  The law requires private employers employing at least 50 employees, as well as state and political subdivisions, to provide employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period.  An employee entitled to CFRA leave is one who has completed at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer within the 12-month period preceding the need for leave. 


Recently the CFRA was amended to align its provisions with FMLA, as well as clarify certain aspects of the law to distinguish it from the federal law.  The DFEH provides an overview of CFRA, as well as a comparison chart highlighting the differences between FMLA and CFRA.   Among the changes that took effect on July 1, 2015 are:


Employer posting requirements.  Covered employers are required to post an updated notice explaining the CFRA provisions and providing information concerning the procedures for filing complaints with the DFEH.   The notice must be posted in conspicuous places throughout the worksites; electronic posting is sufficient to meet the posting requirement.


Relationship between Pregnancy Disability leave and CFRA.  The state mandated pregnancy disability law requires employers employing 5 or more employees to provide up to 4 months of leave for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. A woman who is eligible for CFRA leave could be eligible for up to four months of pregnancy disability leave and also be entitled to up to 12 weeks of CFRA leave.  The recent CFRA amendments affirm the requirement that an individual is entitled to both CFRA and the pregnancy disability leave; they do not run concurrently as pregnancy leave runs concurrent with FMLA.   


It is also important to note that health coverage must be continued for the full duration of the pregnancy disability leave as well as CFRA leave.


Employer posting requirements - Pregnancy Disability leave.  Like CFRA, employers subject to the Pregnancy Disability Leave law are also required to provide notification of the availability of the leave.  The DFEH recently issued a revised “Joint Notice for Family Care and Medical Leave (CFRA Leave) and Pregnancy Disability Leave” describing these two leave provisions, which is required to be posted in the worksite locations.  This revised notice, effective July 1, 2015, is slightly different from the prior combined notice (known as “Notice B, Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave”). According to the DFEH, they will be reconciling these notices to discontinue use of a joint notice, which would then result in a separate notice for CFRA leave and one for Pregnancy Disability Leave.  In the meantime, the DFEH indicates that it will not take enforcement action against an employer who posts either notice until these two revised notifications are released.

The information contained in this article is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This article is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. Please consult a CBIZ professional. This information is provided as-is with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.

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