California Expands Leave Under the CFRA

Effective January 1, 2021, there are amendments to expand the leave law requirements of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and requires employers with at least five employees to comply, includes new reasons for leave, and adjusted leave limits.


What is California Leave Rights Act?

CFRA provides 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period to eligible employees to bond with a new child, adoption of a child, employee’s own serious health condition, a child, spouse, or parent’s serious health condition.  Prior to January 1, 2021, the law only applied to employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius of the employee’s worksite. When an employee’s leave is covered under both FMLA and CFRA, employers must apply the provisions of each federal and state law that are most generous to the employees.

To be eligible for family and medical leave under CFRA, an employee must:

  • Have a total of at least 12 months of service with the employer;
  • Have worked at lease 1,250 hours in the 12 months prior to the leave; and
  • Be employed at a work site with five or more employees (effective January 1, 2021)

If an employee is not eligible for CFRA leave at the beginning of their leave because he/she has not met the 12-months of service requirement, the employee may meet this requirement while on leave.


California Leave Rights Act Amendments as of January 1, 2021

The amendments to this law increases the employers are covered under the CFRA amendment by:

  • The law applies to employers with five or more employees;
  • Eliminated the 75-mile requirement
  • The amendment also expanded the law to allow for employee leave to care for grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and domestic partners and their children, and for exigencies related to a family member’s active military duty.
  • Parents who work for the same employer will now EACH be allowed to take 12 weeks of child-related leave.
  • The amendment eliminates the job reinstatement exemption for salaried employees in the highest-paid 10% of the employer’s employees.

During an employee’s CFRA leave period, employers must continue providing group health plan coverage for the employee.  The health coverage must be continued under the same conditions as those provided prior to the leave.  However, employers are not required to pay for retirement benefits for the employee during a leave period.

For more information on employee leave laws in California, please contact your broker at MNJ Insurance Solutions at (714) 716-4303.


This content is provided for informational purposes only and is summarizing the CFRA amendments as of January 1, 2021 and not the law in its entirety.  While we have attempted to provide current, accurate and clearly expressed information, this information is provided “as is” and MNJ Insurance Solutions makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy  and completeness.  The information provided should not be construed as legal or tax advice or as a recommendation of any kind.  External users should seek professional advice form their own attorneys and tax and benefit plan advisers with respect to their individual circumstances and needs.