Overview of the New Parent Leave Act

With the turning of the calendar to 2018, a host of new laws in California, and employment law is no exception.  This post explains how mid-size businesses must pay attention to an expanded law mandating unpaid leave for new parents.

The New Parent Leave Act (SB 63) amends Government Code section 12945.6.  Under this Act, California employers with at least twenty employees (20+) within a 75-mile radius must provide up to twelve weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to new parents for the purpose of bonding with a newborn child, adopted child, or foster-placed child.  The leave must be taken within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or placement.  The employer must guarantee employment in the same or comparable position upon the termination of the leave.  While on leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s health insurance.

To be eligible, the employee must have worked at least half-time for the employer, for at least one year.  Employees may also use accrued vacation pay, paid sick time, other accrued paid time off, or other paid or unpaid time off negotiated with the employer, during the parental leave.

This law essentially expands the baby bonding protection of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to smaller employers.  The CFRA already required employers with fifty or more employees (50+) within a 75-mile radius to offer parental leave protections to new parents.  If you have a question about whether this law applies to your business or how to comply with the law, be proactive in asking your attorney.

© 2018 Ben Jakovljevic