Employment Law Bulletin | February 11, 2021

California Family Rights Act Revisions – All Employers, Take Notice!

Revisions to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) effective January 1, 2021 require all employers of 5 or more employees to update their employee handbooks and policies.  The major changes are outlined below by employer size:

Employers of 5 or more

The CFRA now applies to employers of 5 or more employees (down from 50 or more employees) and requires employers to provide eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of job-protected leave per year (1) for the employee’s serious health condition; (2) to care for the employee’s eligible family member’s serious health condition; (3) to bond with the employee’s new child following birth, adoption or foster care placement; and (4) to attend to certain “military exigencies.”

To be eligible for CFRA leave, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least one year and at least 1,250 hours in the year before the leave is to begin.  CFRA leave is not paid by the employer, unless the employee uses their accrued paid time off, but the employer must continue to make the same contributions to group health insurance plans during the leave and  restore the employee to the same or a comparable job position when the leave expires.

Employers of 20-49

Before 2021, employers of 20 to 49 employees were subject to the California New Parent Leave Act which required them to provide up to 12 workweeks of job-protected leave to bond with a new child.  Now that the CFRA requires employers of 5 or more employees to provide child bonding leave, the New Parent Leave Act has been repealed.

Employers of 50 or more

The CFRA revisions also contain changes for employers of 50 or more employees that (1) remove the 75-mile radius requirement from the definition of an “eligible employee;” (2) delete the “key employee” exception to reinstatement; and (3) require employers to provide both parents with separate CFRA child bonding leaves if they work for the same employer.

All Employers

The CFRA is complicated and has employee notice and leave certification requirements with short deadlines.  If this law is new to you or you need a refresher, please reach out to an SMT employment attorney to update your handbook and receive training.

Lisa Ann Hilario


DFEH Publishes Pay Data Report Template and FAQs Ahead of March 31, 2021 Filing Deadline

A new law effective January 1, 2021 requires California employers with 100 or more employees to report pay and hours-worked data by establishment, job category, sex, race, and ethnicity to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).  Reports must be filed by March 31, 2021, and annually thereafter.  Employees located inside and outside of California are counted when determining whether an employer has 100 or more employees, although only data for employees assigned to California establishments and/or working within California must be included in the report.

The Pay Data Report requires extensive reporting of employee data during a single pay period between October 1 and December 31 of the reporting year (the “snapshot period”).  Employers select the snapshot period and then assign each employee to one of ten designated DFEH job categories and provide data according to their gender (female, male, non-binary), race and ethnicity.  Employee self-identification is the preferred method of identifying this information.

The DFEH recently published a User Guide, Report Template, and FAQs which can be found at https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/paydatareporting.  Employers must use the DFEH online Pay Reporting Portal to submit their pay data reports; reports will not be accepted by email or mail.  The Portal is expected to be available by February 16, 2021.  In the meantime, employers should select their “snapshot period” and begin compiling the required data.  Employers must keep the pay data reports for a minimum of 10 years.

Please contact an SMT employment attorney if you have questions about this new law.

Lisa Ann Hilario

No Se Habla Español?

SMT’s employment attorneys can provide your company with employment policies, forms and employee disciplinary documentation in Spanish. Providing such important information to employees in the language they understand is critical to employee performance, providing a welcoming diverse work environment, and protecting your company against employment claims. Contact an SMT attorney today to get started.

Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP
Employment Law Group

Jan Gabrielson Tansil  | Lisa Ann Hilario | Kari Brown

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