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California Family Rights Act Leave Benefits Will Apply To Care For A “Designated Person”
Oct 10, 2022

California Family Rights Act Leave Benefits Will Apply To Care For A “Designated Person”

Topics: Employee Leave, New Laws & Legislation

In its current iteration, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) requires California public employers and private employers with 5 or more employees to provide qualified employees with up to a total of 12 workweeks of leave in a designated 12-month period for family care and medical leave.  

On September 29, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 1041, which expands CFRA to include a “designated person” among the class of people for whom an employee may take leave in order to provide care. As amended, Government Code 12945.2 will define a “designated person” as any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship. The designated person may be identified by the employee at the time the employee requests the leave. An employer may limit an employee to one designated person per 12-month period. AB 1041 also amends Labor Code 245.5(c) to include a designated person in the definition of “family member,” indicating that an employee may use kin care (up to ½ of the employee’s accrued paid sick leave) benefits to care for a designated person.

While the statute itself does not provide much in the way of guidance about who will qualify as a designated person, the Assembly Floor Analysis of this Bill indicates that it is intended to address an antiquated definition of “family member” that does not accurately reflect the way many people now depend on and serve their chosen family, as opposed to their nuclear family, in times of need. According to the statistics provided in the comments to the Assembly Floor Analysis, only 18.4% of households follow the traditional family structure. Many more households rely instead upon individuals with whom they have formed close bonds for caregiving support. Unless and until more guidance evolves, employers should interpret the term “designated person” broadly, consistent with the clearly stated purpose in the comments to the legislation, if faced with making a determination about qualifying leave requests. 

AB 1041 goes into effect on January 1, 2023. If you would like more information on this new statute and all the new legislation, please click here after October 14, 2022, for more information on our upcoming webinar on New and Important California Legislation for 2023, which is scheduled for November 15, 2022 at 9:30 am Pacific.  If you'd like to be sure to receive CDF's webinar announcements going forward, please subscribe here.

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For over 25 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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Sacramento Office Managing Partner and Chair of CDF’s Traditional Labor Law Practice Group. Mark has been practicing labor and employment law in California for thirty years. His practice has a special emphasis on the representation of California employers in union-management relations and handling federal and state court litigation and administrative matters triggered by all types of employment-related disputes. He is also adept at providing creative and practical legal advice to help minimize the risks inherent in employing workers in California. He recently named “Sacramento Lawyer of the Year” in Employment Law-Management for 2021 by Best Lawyers®.
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