The new leave regulations set forth by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, specifically the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) have been amended. The regulations are effective July 1, 2015. CFRA, like the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is applicable to employers with 50 or more employees and contain similar provisions. An employee’s rights within these two acts can overlap.
Here are some highlights of the more important revisions to the CFRA:
- Instead of responding to a CFRA leave request within 10 calendar days, an employer must now respond within 5 business days. An employee on CFRA leave may be required to use accrued vacation or paid time off, however only in instances when leave is unpaid.
- An employer must allow occasional CFRA leave in one hour increments.
- While an employee may be required to provide a health care provider’s certification to their employer, the employer cannot ask the employee or the health care provider about any symptoms or see diagnoses related to employee.
- If an employer requests medical certification from an employee and it is not provided, the employer can deny CFRA leave provided the employee was given advance notification of this consequence.
- Employees will not lose their position, as they are entitled to be placed in the same position he or she held or a position that is similar, if not identical. This should happen even if the position was filled or restructured.
The FMLA and CFRA requirements might sound simple, but they are not. Leave and accommodation issues can be very complex. In fact, FMLA and CFRA issues are some of the most common cases with regards to employment law. Therefore it is imperative that employers are able to navigate both the California and federal statutes with precision and accuracy.