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California Small Employers: Are You Ready for Parental Leave?

(posted: November 20th, 2017)

Calfornia parental leave act

California's new "Baby Bonding" law, The Parental Leave Act (PLA), takes effect on January 1, 2018 and requires employers with 20 to 49 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of protected leave for new parents.

The new law will cover about 16% of California's workers. It will exclude around 90% of California businesses, those with under 20 employees.

What Does the New Law Do?

California's new law 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.

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.

If an employee chooses not to return to work after their leave period ends, employers can recover the cost of the health insurance premiums.

If the employee fails to return to work due to a serious health condition or does return to work, then the cost of the premiums must be born by the employer.

Who is Covered?

Employers: Any employer who has at least 20 employees in a 75 mile radius.

Employees: To be eligible, employees must have worked for that employer for the previous 12 months. Further, employees must have worked at least 1,250 hours with their employers during that time frame.

What Should Employers do Now?

If you have between 20 and 49 employees you need to review your leave policies to ensure you are in compliance starting January 1st. You will also need to update your employee handbooks and make sure you have the correct notices posted. You may also want to start developing a strategy for how you will cover for an employee who is taking leave. As a smaller business you may find it harder to cover an extended absence with your current staff, or you may determine that you have greater flexibility to move people around temporarily.

And, of course, HRSPI is here to help! Please Contact Us with your questions about California's new Parental Leave Act.

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