Updated CFRA Regulations

January 29, 2016 2:30 am

Significant changes recently took place to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), for employers with 50 or more employees, which may impact your policies and practices, including but not limited to:

  • Updated guidelines on what can be included on a medical certification form. For leaves running concurrently with FMLA, be sure to use a medical certification form that is compliant with California’s FEHA guidelines, which prohibits asking for a medical diagnosis.
  • In-patient care is defined as having been admitted with the ‘expectation of remaining overnight’ versus FMLA language that more clearly requires an actual overnight stay.
  • Spouse definition now includes married same-sex partners and registered domestic partners.
  • Employers cannot require the use of paid time-off if an employee is receiving disability or paid family leave benefits during CFRA leave.
  • Requiring a second opinion is only permitted for an employee’s own serious health condition and only if you have a “good faith, objective reason to doubt” the validity of a medical certification.
  • Unlike FMLA, under CFRA you may only require recertification after the initial certification has expired.
  • Calculating leave entitlement for an employee with an irregular work schedule requires a 12-month look-back to determine average weekly hours worked.
  • Interference with CFRA leave rights includes refusing to authorize and/or discouraging an employee from using such leave.
  • Expanded definition of employee worksite, including those that work remotely.

Sierra HR Partners is available to help determine if you are a CFRA covered employer and to ensure your policies, practices, notices and forms are compliant and adhere to best practices.

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