On September 29, 2022, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1041 (“AB 1041”) into law to be effective January 1, 2023, expanding the category of individuals for whom an employee can take leave under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”), Labor Code 245-249 Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (i.e. AB 1522 sick leave), and, by incorporation, Labor Code § 233 (“Kin Care”). This bill amends Government Code section 12945.2 and Labor Code 245.5 to allow employees to use leave under CFRA, the Healthy Workplace, Heathy Families Act of 2014, and Kin Care leave for a “designated person.”

For the purpose of taking unpaid leave to care of an individual with a serious health condition under the CFRA, AB 1041 defines a “designated person” as “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” Similarly the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 adds a “designated person” to the definition of “family member” for whom an employee can use paid sick leave. Under both laws, the employee may identify the “designated person” at the time the employee requests the leave (i.e. identification in advance is not required). However, an employer may limit an employee to one designated person per applicable 12-month period. If an employer does not adopt a limitation there is no limit to the number of individuals whom an employee may designate. Labor Code § 233 (Kin Care) uses the definition of “family member” contained in the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 effectively including the new definition for the purposes of paid Kin Care leave as well.

Accordingly, we recommend that public education employers review and update their leave policies, protocols, collective bargaining agreements, and forms to be consistent with the new requirements of AB 1041. Such employers may also wish to consider whether to adopt any limitation on the number of designated persons an employee may designate in a 12-month period. For employee groups covered by collective bargaining agreements, any changes related to leaves are a mandatory subject of bargaining.

Public education employers may contact the authors of this Alert or their regular employment counsel at AALRR if they have questions or would like assistance in preparing their agency to follow the requirements of AB 1041.