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Approved uses for family leave expanded under California law

Elder Care

A California law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2021, has modified the existing California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which provides job-protected leave for eligible California employees who need to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a newborn, adopted child or foster child.

CFRA is the state’s version of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). When you are eligible for CFRA and FMLA, typically the two run concurrently, or at the same time, meaning you may take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave in a rolling 12-month period.

Under the newly modified CFRA rules:

  • California employees may now take job-protected leave for the serious health condition of a grandparent, grandchild or sibling, in addition to the family members already covered: spouses, registered domestic partners, parents or children. Adult children over age 18 with a serious health condition are now also included.
  • When both parents are employed by the university and taking CFRA baby bonding leave, each is now individually entitled to a total of 12 weeks, and they do not have to run concurrently. CFRA previously limited the entitlement to 12 weeks total when spouses work for the same employer.
  • The law now grants protected qualifying exigency leave for families of members of the Armed Forces. This runs concurrently with existing FMLA leave and does not extend military leave.

Although CFRA and FMLA both provide job protection and often run at the same time, the new CFRA rules create some uncommon scenarios in which a California employee might be eligible for 12 weeks of CFRA and 12 weeks of FMLA in the same 12-month period. When you start a claim with Stanford’s leaves administrator, they will confirm all of the leave types for which you are eligible. (For questions, call AbsenceOne at 866-566-1906).

While CFRA and FMLA themselves do not provide income replacement, Stanford does provide eligible employees with full or partial pay while on a family leave, and these changes to CFRA do not change the way the university administers paid family leave. Read more here.

What if I live outside of California?

Job protection for out-of-state employees would be covered by FMLA, the federal law, when eligible. FMLA provides 12 weeks of leave in a rolling 12-month period if you are caring for a seriously ill family member or to bonding with a newborn, adopted child or foster child; however, FMLA does not currently define “family member” to include grandparents, grandchildren, siblings or registered domestic partners. Stanford also provides out-of-state employees with full or partial pay while on a family leave, though administration varies by state. For questions, call AbsenceOne at 866-566-1906.

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