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California's New Parental Leave Act

(posted: January 31st, 2018)

California's new baby bonding law

This is a reminder that California's New Parental Leave Act went into effect on January 1st, and a refresher on what it is and who is eligible.

Effective January 1, 2018, California enacted the NPLA, expanding entitlement leave to smaller businesses that weren't subject to these leave obligations before.

Similar to the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), the NPLA allows protected leave for eligible employees working at a small business (20-49 employees) to take time off to care for or bond with a new child.

Similar to FMLA and CFRA, to be eligible for NPLA, an employee must:

  • Work for their employer for at least 12 months; and
  • Work at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to taking the leave of absence; and
  • Work for an employer with at least 20 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.

Under NPLA, eligible employees will be able to take up to 12 weeks of leave to:

  • Bond with a new baby within one year of the child's birth; or
  • Bond with a new child placed with the employee through adoption or foster care placement.

What are the differences between FMLA, CFRA and NPLA? While they all provide protected leave, FMLA and CFRA have additional qualifying reasons, such as caring for a seriously ill family member or for the employee's own health condition, while NPLA is specifically just for baby bonding. Also, FMLA and CFRA apply to employers with 50 or more employees, whereas NPLA is for small businesses with 20-49 employees.

A few additional things about NPLA:

  • This is a protected leave, meaning employers must guarantee reinstatement of the employee in the same or comparable position.
  • While on NPLA leave, the employee's benefits are still continued as if they were actively working.
  • NPLA is a job protection entitlement and is unpaid; it runs concurrently with California's Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits but not Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL).

Don't forget that, as with any leave, a request and designation notice should be established and be put in writing.

Please Contact Us for help managing your leaves of absence.

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