Updates in California Pregnancy Laws and Policies

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04/25/2017

Hi Visitor,

Updates in California Pregnancy Laws and Policies

By: Susannah L. Ashton

New Policy and Posting Requirements

Effective April 1, 2016, employers must comply with new policy and notice requirements related to Pregnancy Disability Leave (“PDL”):

  • New Posters: Previous law required employers with 5-49 employees to post PDL Notice A and employers with 50 or more employees to post PDL Notice B.
          -“Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee” replaces Notice A
          -“Family Care and Medical Leave (CFRA Leave) and Pregnancy Disability Leave” replaces Notice B
  • New Handout: When an employee provides notice of pregnancy or the need for leave or reasonable accommodation related to pregnancy, the employer must provide the employee with the new “Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee” Notice
  • New Company Policy: Employers are now required to either:
          (1) Update their handbooks to include notice of PDL rights, or
          (2) Send employees a notice of such rights on an annual basis.

New Posters and Handouts can be accessed directly from the Department of Industrial Relations, http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Publications_Publications.htm.

Increased Benefits for Family Leave

Workers who take time off to bond with a new child (or to care for a seriously ill or injured family member) currently are entitled to up to six weeks of benefits through the Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) and State Disability Insurance (“SDI”) programs. Under the current law, weekly benefits are calculated by multiplying the worker’s base wages by 55% and dividing that number by 13. Additionally, existing law imposes a seven day waiting period before the worker may receive benefits.

On April 11, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 908 which creates a minimum weekly benefit of $50.00 and increases the benefit rates to specific percentages, but not to exceed the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to existing law. AB 908 also removes the seven day waiting period.

Note that this law becomes effective on January 1, 2017, but benefits will not increase until January 1, 2018.

San Francisco Parental Leave

In April, San Francisco legislators approved an ordinance that will provide fully paid leave to employees to take time for the birth or adoption of a child. The ordinance applies to employers in any location that have employees who spend at least 8 hours per week and 40% of their workweek in San Francisco.

The ordinance is a supplement to California’s PFL, requiring employers to cover the difference between the benefits received through PFL and the employee’s actual pay. The ordinance is effective as of January 1, 2017 for employers with 50 or more employees, and will become effective on a rolling basis for other employers as follows: July 2017 for employers with 35 or more employees, and July 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees.

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

Employers throughout the State of California should immediately replace workplace postings with the updated “Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee” Notice and distribute the Notice to relevant employees. Additionally, employers should prepare and distribute a notification informing employees of their PDL and PFL rights, including the increase in benefits in 2018. Additionally, employers should audit their workers to determine whether any one worker spends at least 40% of their time and 8 hours per week in San Francisco as those workers will be eligible for increased parental leave benefits beginning January 1, 2017.

If you have any questions regarding compliance with the update regulations and policies, do not hesitate to contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.


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