Change for California’s Families and Businesses – CRFA
Known by the acronym CRFA, the California Family Rights Act grants employees 12 workweeks of family or personal leave within a 12 month period for conditions that qualify. Employers affected are those with a minimum of 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. Employees qualify after a minimum of 12 months of employment and with a minimum threshold of 1250 work hours during a qualifying 12 month span. The rights commenced on July 1, 2015 and are being made congruent with the recent federally initiated Family and Medical Leave Act also known as the FMLA. The two laws vary widely in some important areas.
The CRFA expands the definition of covered employers to include joint employers and successors-in interest. It also defines the qualifying factors that would cause a work relationship to rise to the level of a joint employment or successors-in-interest role.
The work-site definition is also expanded to include any primary, fixed work-sites or a series of related work-sites. In the absence of a fixed work-site, the work-site that an employee reports to, receives assignments from or shows up to is deemed a qualifying work-site.
Because the law allows all types of leave that is available to new employees to qualify as work hours, employees that would not normally qualify due to inadequate lengths of employment can be covered if the additional time equals the qualifying amount of work time. When the employees become qualified, the employer can consider it as CFRA leave. In addition, the definition of spouse has been updated to include domestic and same-sex partners that are legally bound by marriage.
Employer Restrictions, Definitions and Responsibilities
The new statute further restricts employer’s ability to terminate a key employee. Key employees are defined a salaried employees who are compensated in the top 10 percentile of salaries in the company. These employees can only be terminated if their absences would cause significant financial injury to the company.
Although it is incumbent upon the company to prove the assertion, employees that receive leave fraudulently will not be protected by the job restoration statutes. They will also not be privy to any further benefits.
Qualifying 12-month periods include any calendar year, the 12-month period starting from the date of leave going backwards or the 12-month period preceding the initiation of the leave period. The employer can make a designation, if they do not, the option that is most beneficial to the employee will be automatically utilized. Any employer changes in designation must be made known to the employee 60 days prior to initiation.
Employees that have varying weekly work schedules will have 12 months of hours averaged to determine if an employee qualifies for the 12 week entitlement. This 12-month period is the 12 months immediately prior to initiating the CRFA. Additionally, the hours that an employee would normally work in overtime can be deducted from the employee’s CRFA leave if that employee cannot satisfy that normal overtime load because of a qualifying condition.
Intermittent leave must be used to shorten the designated CRFA time unless the employee is unable to perform their duties with a reduced schedule, shift or with intermittent leave. The total CRFA leave must be considered CRFA leave time if this is the case. However, this time will count against the entitlement.
Employers must now respond to leave requests within 5 days of their receipt, and they must also determine which leave requests qualify as CRFA requests. The employers must also have a valid reason for doubting a medical certification. When this is satisfied, then the employer can seek the opinion of an additional healthcare provider. Additionally, employers can only contact healthcare providers to verify the certification, they cannot require a fitness exam as a condition for return, and any other testing must be job related. Employers can require a medical work release with the exception of multiple intermittent leave absences.
This employment law article was provided to inform and protect businesses like yours from compliance problems. When you’ve got employees, you must have quality labor law protection. If you’re operating from Altamonte Springs, use one of these labor posters for complete compliance protection. Their in-house legal staff works tirelessly to keep their employment posters updated for their clients security and peace of mind.
Any vacation or off time that the employee has can be used as a portion of the CRFA leave, and group health coverage is continued along with regulations determining paid or unpaid leave. Additionally, CRFA leaves are not considered seniority disqualifying breaks in service. It is the employer, employee and the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s responsibility to determine if reasonable accommodation is possible. Additionally, the law mandates that employees are unable to waive their rights, and any employer retaliation or intimidation is heavily prohibited.
The new CRFA provisions must be publicly posted by qualifying employers as are directions for official employee complaints pertaining to filing. All information must be translated into any language that is spoken by at least 10 percent of the workforce, and it is also incumbent upon the employer to update all of their pertinent publications to reflect the new policies.