Archives for September 22, 2020

California Expands Family Leave Protections To Small Business Workers

On Sept. 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed CA S.B. 1383 into law, ensuring job-protected family leave for Californians who work for an employer with five or more employees to bond with a new child or to care for themselves or a family member. The new law, which is set forth in the newly added Government Code §12945.2, is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

S.B. 1383 expands rights under the pre-existing California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which already provides leave protections for workers at larger employers who employ 50 or more workers. Now, with the new law, those who work for small businesses will also receive job-protected leave.

“Californians deserve to be able to take time off to care for themselves or a sick family member without fearing they’ll lose their job,” Newsom said in a statement.

Like the former CFRA, employers with five or more employees will now be required to grant up to 12 workweeks of “family care and medical” leave in any 12-month period to employees who have at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer during the previous 12-month period. The employer must guarantee the employee the same or comparable job position upon return from leave.

Family care and medical leave may be taken for any of the following reasons:

  • Birth of a child of the employee or placement of a foster or adopted child with the employee;
  • To care for a family member (child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner) with a serious medical condition;
  • Employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position (except for leave taken for pregnancy-related disability, childbirth, or related medical conditions, which are covered by other laws); and/or
  • A qualifying exigency related to active duty or call to covered duty of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent, in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Employers may not interfere with or deny employees’ rights to exercise family care and medical leave. Similarly, employees are protected from retaliation by their employers for requesting or using family care and medical leave.

If you feel your employer has violated your family care and medical leave rights, you may be able to hold the company liable for damages.

For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with an attorney who can help, contact Haeggquist & Eck, LLP online or call us at (619) 342-8000.

California’s New Notice & Reporting Requirements Relating To COVID-19 Workplace Exposures

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on Sept. 17, 2020 Governor Newsom signed into law A.B. 685 requiring employers to adhere to stricter occupational health and safety rules. The new law also expands Cal/OSHA’s enforcement powers.

Effective Jan. 1, 2021, the new law will require employers to give workers written notification within one day of receiving notice of a “potential” exposure to COVID-19. Along with this notification, employers must also give employees information regarding COVID-19-related benefits to which the employee may be entitled. The employer must also provide employees with its plans for implementing and completing disinfection for a safe worksite. Moreover, an employer shall not retaliate against a worker for disclosing a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis, or for disclosing an order to quarantine or isolate.

The new law also requires an employer that has a sufficient number of COVID-19 cases that meet the definition of a COVID-19 outbreak, as defined by the State Department of Public Health, to report names, number, occupation, and worksite of positive COVID-19 cases to the local public health agency. Cal/OSHA is also given authority to shut down a workplace that creates an imminent hazard due to COVID-19 exposure risk.

If you feel your workplace is unsafe because of COVID-19 and/or you have questions relating to COVID-19 workplace exposures, contact Haeggquist & Eck, LLP online or call us at (619) 342-8000.

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