Overview of the Parental Leave Act
California’s new Parental Leave Act (PLA) provides up to 12 weeks of leave for new parents. This includes parents who have given birth to a child and parents who have had a child placed with them through foster care or adoption.
It does not offer medical leave so employees that are covered under the new act cannot take time for their own medical needs nor for a family member’s needs. Covered employees can use the leave within the first 12 months after becoming new parents.
Employers must provide employees with a guarantee of the same or similar job upon the employee’s return before the employee starts the leave. If the employer doesn’t provide this guarantee, then the employer is considered to have denied leave to the employee.
In addition, employers must provide group health insurance coverage for the 12 weeks that employees are on leave. Employers can only recover the cost of the health insurance premiums if the employee fails to return to work after the leave as long as the employee did not return due to a serious health condition.
If the employee fails to return to work due to a serious health condition or the employee does return to work, then the cost of the premiums must be born by the employer.
Employees Covered Under the Parental Leave Act
The act covers any employer who has at least 20 employees in a 75-mile radius. CFRA covers any employer who has 50 or more employees and does not include 75-mile radius requirements.
Employees who work at qualified employers must have worked at their employers for the previous 12 months. Further, employees must have worked at least 1,250 hours with their employers during that time frame.
In addition, the State of California, all cities and all subdivisions of the state or city governments fall under the act.
Differences between the Parental Leave Act and the Existing Family Right Act
The Parental Leave Act expands coverage under the Family Rights Act. While the Family Rights act covers employers of 50 or more, the Parental Leave Act covers employers with 20-49 employees.
Furthermore, the CFRA covers leave for medical or serious health conditions of the employee and the employee’s family. CFRA expands the coverage of the Federal FMLA, which covers employers with at least 50 employers in a 75-mile radius. CFRA also provides expanded coverage for family members above what FMLA provides.
In contrast to CFRA, California Pregnancy Disability Leave provides up to 4 weeks of paid leave for employees who are disabled due to pregnancy, including birth.
The new act does not specifically address whether Pregnancy Disability Leave should be taken concurrently with New Parental Leave or consecutively.
Getting Paid While on Leave
California Parental Leave Act isn’t a paid leave. However, California offers required paid sick leave for employees which provides up to 48 hours a year of paid time off.
The act allowed employees to use other paid time off or employer paid time during the Parental Leave.
Further, female employees can be paid for the first 4 weeks of Parental Leave through California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave which provides 4 weeks of paid leave due to a disability caused by pregnancy.
Employers with 5+ employees (effective January 1, 2019):
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The state of California currently requires mandatory sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training for supervisors working for employers with 50 or more employees. California-based supervisors must be trained every two years. New supervisors must be trained within six months of assuming the position.
2020 Training Requirements
By January 1, 2020, all employees working for employers with five or more employees will need to be trained. Supervisors must receive two hours of training once every two years, while non-supervisory employees must receive one hour of training once every two years.
What Kind of Training Must Employers Provide?
Employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training in a classroom setting, through interactive E-learning, or through a live webinar. E-learning training must provide instructions on how to contact a trainer who can answer questions within two business days.
Any training must explain:
- The definition of sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964;
- The statutes and case-law on prohibiting and preventing sexual harassment;
- The types of conduct that can be sexual harassment;
- That harassment may be based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation;
- The remedies available for victims of sexual harassment;
- Strategies to prevent sexual harassment;
- Supervisors’ obligation to report harassment;
- Practical examples of harassment;
- The limited confidentiality of the complaint process;
- Resources for victims of sexual harassment, including to whom they should report it;
- How employers must correct harassing behavior;
- What to do if the supervisor is personally accused of harassment;
- The elements of an effective anti-harassment policy and how to use it;
- “Abusive conduct” under Government Code section 12950.1, subdivision (g)(2).
Finally, any training must include questions that assess learning, skill-building activities to assess understanding and application of content, and hypothetical scenarios about harassment with discussion questions.
Who Can Provide The Training?
There are three types of qualified trainers:
- Attorneys who have been members of the bar of any state for at least two years and whose practice includes employment law under the Fair Employment and Housing Act or Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964;
- Human resource professionals or harassment prevention consultants with at least two years of practical experience in one or more of the following areas: designing or conducting training on discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention; responding to sexual harassment or other discrimination complaints; investigating sexual harassment complaints; or advising employers or employees about discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention; or
- Law school, college, or university instructors with a post-graduate degree or California teaching credential and either 20 hours of instruction about employment law under the FEHA or Title VII.
Neither DFEH nor any other state agency issues licenses or certificates validating a person’s qualifications to teach sexual harassment prevention training classes.
What About Seasonal and Temporary Employees?
Beginning January 1, 2020, employers must provide training for seasonal and temporary employees, as well as any employee that is hired to work for less than six months, within 30 calendar days of hire or within their 100 hours worked, whichever comes first. Temporary services employers are responsible for training their employees.
Please note that posting requirements vary by statute; that is, not all employers are covered by each of the Department’s statutes and thus may not be required to post a specific notice. For example, some small businesses may not be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act and thus would not be subject to the Act’s posting requirements.
The elaws Poster Advisor can be used to determine which poster(s) employers are required to display at their place(s) of business. Posters, available in English and other languages, may be downloaded free of charge and printed directly from the Advisor. If you already know which poster(s) you are required to display, see below to download and print the appropriate poster(s) free of charge.
Please note that the elaws Poster Advisor provides information on federal DOL poster requirements. For information on state poster requirements, please visit state Departments of Labor.
- Required for all employers;
- Required for employers in certain industries;
- Required for an employer based on the number of its employees within a state or municipality; or
- Recommended for an employer, but not required.
The Employment Law Manual’s Employee Communications: California section offers detailed information regarding state-specific postings and compliance requirements.
NEED POSTERS? Order at Labor Law Center