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California Passes New Parent Leave Act

Law Effective January 1, 2018

California has enacted the New Parent Leave Act. Highlights of the law are presented below.

The law generally applies to employers with 20 or more employees.

The law covers employees with more than 12 months of service with their employers, who have at least 1,250 hours of service with their employers during the previous 12-month period, and who work at a worksite that has at least 20 employees within 75 miles.

Parental Leave Rights
Upon request, an employee may take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child's birth, adoption, or foster care placement. The employee is entitled to utilize accrued vacation pay, paid sick time, other accrued paid time off, or other paid or unpaid time off negotiated with the employer, during the period of parental leave.

Note: If the employer does not provide a guarantee of employment in the same or a comparable position upon the leave's termination, the employer is deemed to have refused to allow the leave.

Health Benefits
Employers may not refuse to maintain and pay for coverage under a group health plan for an eligible employee who takes parental leave for the duration of the leave (not to exceed 12 weeks over the course of a 12-month period), starting on the date the leave begins. Employers may not refuse to maintain and pay for such coverage at the level and under the conditions that coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued to work in his or her position for the duration of the leave.

However, an employer may recover the premium that it paid for maintaining coverage if certain conditions (§ d) occur.

The law takes effect January 1, 2018. However, certain changes to the law are effective January 1, 2020. Click here for more information, including the interaction with other state and federal leave laws.

To review other laws specific to California, visit the State Laws section, click on California, and choose your topic of interest from the left-hand navigation menu.