Protecting the rights of employees who need to take care of sick family members is all the rage in California. (In fact, we’re a little surprised that our colleague Staci Riordan hasn’t discussed it on her Fashion Law Blog.) Last week, I wrote about San Francisco’s new “Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance.” As expected, Mayor Ed Lee signed that ordinance today. A couple weeks before that, Governor Brown signed a law expanding Paid Family Leave (PFL) rights.
Like State Disability Insurance, Paid Family Leave is paid for with deductions from employees’ paychecks. When enacted, the law provided up to six weeks of wage replacement benefits to workers who took time off to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, or domestic partner; or to bond with a newborn or a child recently placed through adoption or foster care. (The Employment Development Department’s website explains the general requirements in more detail here.) On September 24, 2013, Governor Brown signed a bill extending those rights to workers who need time to care for siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and parents-in-law.
While we’re on the topic, if someone asks for time off under CFRA or FMLA to care for her sick grandmother, don’t be too quick to say it’s not covered. Both laws define “parent” broadly enough to include someone standing “in loco parentis” — Latin for “in the place of the parents” (not to be confused with “en parentes locos” which is Spanish for “in crazy parents”). So if the grandmother raised the person, the leave may in fact be protected. This Department of Labor Fact Sheet (pdf) explains the issue in the FMLA context.
The new law takes effect July 1, 2014. Given this trend, can similar extensions to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) be far behind?