California employers have been inundated with new legislation this year and many employers may have forgotten Senate Bill 1123 (SB 1123), that was passed in 2018. SB 1123 expanded the Paid Family Leave program to include time off for employees to attend to a “qualifying exigency” related to an individual’s spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, or child who is an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces. Although SB 1123 was passed in 2018, the changes do not go into effect until January 2021.
Assembly Bill 2399, passed this year, also expands the definitions of Paid Family Leave under Sections 3302 and 3307 of the Unemployment Insurance Code to include coverage for active military members and their families. AB 2399 also will go into effect in January 2021.
AB 2399 complements recent amendments to the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”). The new reasons for using leave under the CFRA include time off to care for a grandparent, grandchild, or sibling with a serious health condition, or to take time off because of a qualifying exigency related to the employee’s call to active duty or the call to activity duty for certain family members in the Armed Forces. Under the prior CFRA statute, leave for purposes of caring for a family member was available only if the family member was the employee’s child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner, and CFRA leave was not available for qualifying exigencies related to military service.