California’s New Parent Leave Act (NPLA), which goes into effect on January 1, 2018, will expand family leave benefits to employees who are ineligible for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) and CFRA (California Family Rights Act). The new law allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave to bond with a new child. The law applies to employers with at least 20 employees, whether or not they are covered by FMLA/CFRA. This is lower than the 50-employee threshold required by FMLA/CFRA.
The NPLA provides eligible employees with 12 weeks of leave to bond with a child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. This is in addition to any leave provided under the Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) law.
In order to be eligible for the NPLA, employees must have more than 12 months of service with the employer, and have worked at least 1250 hours during the previous 12-month period. Also, they must not be eligible for FMLA/CFRA.
The law applies to all California employers who have at least 20 employees, including those already covered by FMLA/CFRA who have locations with between 20-49 employees. Employers must continue group health insurance coverage for employees on parental leave, and must provide a guarantee of employment in the same or similar position upon the employee’s return.
Unlike FMLA, the NPLA does not provide leave to recover from the employee’s own serious health condition, or to care for family members with a serious health condition, or for pregnancy disability.
If you are an employer who will be affected by the new law, be sure that you update your form leave letters, Maternity Leave policies, and Employee Handbook to reflect this new benefit.