California’s New Parent Leave Act (S.B. 63), which requires small business employers (20-49 employees) to provide employees with 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental bonding leave went into effect on January 1, 2018.

Covered employers must now provide 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental leave upon the request of eligible employees to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. Employees may choose to use any type of accrued paid time off, such as paid vacation and sick leave, during the parental leave. As with other “leave laws,” employers may not retaliate and/or discriminate against an individual for taking parental leave and may not interfere with, restrain or deny an employee his or her right to leave under the act, and must provide a guarantee of employment in the same or a comparable position upon return to work.

What does this mean for you? This new law only applies to employers with 20-49 employees. If an employee is subject to both the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) and the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), the employee is not eligible for the New Parent Leave Act. CFRA and FMLA have the same eligibility requirements (hours worked and months of service) as the New Parent Leave Act, but require that the employee work at a worksite with 50 or more employees within 75 miles.

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