California Family Rights Act Expansion

September 18, 2020

Learn about the recently signed Senate Bill 1383 that will expand the California Family Rights Act.

At a Glance

  • Effective January 1, 2021
  • Expands coverage and family member definition
  • Removes two provisions from original bill text
  • Small employers are eligible to participate in a Mediation Pilot Program if they receive a right-to-sue


Governor Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 1383 that will expand the California Family Rights Act.  Currently, the CFRA requirements certain employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for purposes of family and medical leave.  The new requirements will become effective January 1, 2021.

Coverage Expansion

The new legislation will now apply to private employers with five or more employees and eliminates the requirement that employees work within 75 miles of the worksite.

Broadens Family Member Definition

Currently, the definition of ‘family member’ only includes a minor child, a spouse, or a parent.  SB 1383 will expand that definition to include siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and domestic partners.  The definition of child will also now include all adult children and children of a domestic partner.

Other Changes

There are two other important changes for the expansion of CFRA.  First, the updated law removes a provision that specifies if both parents work by the same employer, the employer is not required to provide more than a total of 12 weeks of leave in connection to a birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.  With the removal of that provision, an employer may now be required to provide 12 weeks to both employees.

Second, SB 1383 removes language from the CFRA that allowed an employer to refuse reinstatement to salaried employees who are among the highest 10% of the employees and where the refusal is necessary for the business.

Mediation Pilot Program

With growing concern from employers regarding this bills passage, AB 1867 was amended to include a small employer family leave mediation pilot program which will apply only to employers with 5-19 employees.  The amendment provides that employers may, within 30 days of receipt of DFEH right-to-sue letter, request mediation.  This pilot program will be effective until January 1, 2024.

Next Steps

Employers who were previously not covered by the CFRA should immediately begin the process to prepare for the requirements of this law.  Employers should review their policies and procedures and make any updates necessary.

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This information is provided as a courtesy, may change and is not intended as legal or tax guidance. Employers with questions or concerns outside the scope of a Payroll Service Provider are encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified CPA, Tax Attorney or Advisor.