California Requires Employers to Provide 12 Weeks of Job Protected Leave to Care for a Parent-in-Law

By SHLC on September 30, 2021 in Legal Update

On September 27, 2021, Governor Newsom signed AB 1033 into law to include leave to care for a parent-in-law within the definition of family care and medical leave. Last year, SB 1383 amended and expanded the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) to apply to small California businesses. For more information, read our blog on SB 1383 here and listen to Sutton Hague’s podcast here. AB 1033 also amends 12945.21 of the Government Code by creating additional requirements for the small employer family leave mediation pilot.

Starting this year, on January 1, 2021, all California businesses with five (5) or more employees must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for any of the four (4) qualifying reasons:

(A) Leave for reason of the birth of a child of the employee or the placement of a child with an employee in connection with the adoption or foster care of the child by the employee.

(B) Leave to care for a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner who has a serious health condition. AB 1033 defines “parent” to include a “parent-in-law,” which means the parent of a spouse or domestic partner.

(C) Leave because of an employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position of that employee, except for leave taken for disability on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

(D) Leave because of a qualifying exigency related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces of the United States, as specified in Section 3302.2 of the Unemployment Insurance Code.

Employer Takeaways

  • Revise employee handbooks and forms (leave requests and designation) to acknowledge this additional family relationship.
  • Become familiar with the provisions of CFRA and understand how it might affect your business.
  • Include a carve-out from attendance and discipline policies for CFRA, just like other protected leaves of absence.
  • Train those in supervisory positions and those that help with human resources functions to identify whether an employee may be eligible for CFRA leave.
  • This law and other new California laws for employers will be discussed at our upcoming WHAT EMPLOYERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT…™ California New Year Employment Law Update LIVE Webinar on December 8, 2021. For more information on these and other events, visit our Events Page.