It’s the gift that keeps on giving. In the month of September, Governor Gavin Newsom has signed dozens of employee-friendly bills into law, several of which will directly affect California employers. We have discussed some of these laws over the last few weeks, including the pay transparency law, expanded cannabis protections for employees, and new CCPA compliance requirements for employers. To add to this never-ending list is AB 1041, which will expand family leave and sick leave to allow employees to take leave for “designated persons”.
AB 1041: Expansion of CFRA and Paid Sick Leave
AB 1041 will amend the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) (Government Code section 12945.2) and California paid sick leave (Labor Code section 245.5) to add “designated person” to the definition of a “family member” for whom an employee can take protected leave. The law will become effective on January 1, 2023.
The bill defines “designated person” under the CFRA as “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” The employer may require an employee to identify the “designated person” when they request CFRA leave. Furthermore, the employer will be allowed to limit an employee to one designated person per 12-month period.
Under California paid sick leave, “designated person” will be defined as “a person identified by the employee at the time the employee requests paid sick days”. Similar to the CFRA, the employer can limit an employee to one designated person per 12-month period.
Who is a “Designated Person”?
While it is not clear who will qualify as a “designated person” the Assembly Floor Analysis of AB 1041 indicates that it is intended to address an outdated definition of “family member” that does not accurately reflect the way many people now depend on and serve their chosen family, as opposed to their nuclear family. Until more guidance is issued, employers are advised to interpret the term “designated person” broadly if faced with making a decision about qualifying leave requests.
Next Steps for Employers
Employers should begin reviewing their paid and unpaid leave policies, practices, and procedures to determine if any changes are needed to comply with the new designated-person standards under the CFRA and Labor Code. Employers should also keep their eyes peeled for upcoming advice from the Labor Commissioner and California’s Civil Rights Department (formerly the Department of Fair Employment and Housing).
MNK Law will continue to monitor developments related to AB 1041 and its effect on employers. For more information about AB 1041 and how to best prepare for compliance with AB 1041, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.