Let Me Count The Ways of CFRA

When talking with companies, we frequently find they have an employee who has been absent for a number of weeks or months. They are actually calling to find out how to bring that time off to a close. Too often, we have to inform them the time off has only begun because they didn’t do the paperwork to be able to legally count all that previous time off.

Thanks to the 2021 changes to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), all California companies with 5 or more employees are subject to CFRA and its requirements. There are two primary documents that may need to be provided to absent employees and the first form must be provided within 5 days of learning the employee may need time off.

Generally, if an employee is absent more than 3 days, you need to investigate. Determine if the employee is merely sick and will be returning to work shortly or is absent for a more serious reason. If the employee won’t be returning to work within another day or two, prepare the CFRA paperwork and send it to the employee. NOW you can start tracking the time off.

The amount of protected time and how is it used may vary based on the reason for the leave. Absences that fall within CFRA include:

  • Paternity – time off to bond with a new baby, new adoption, or new fostering.

  • Maternity – disability time off when delivering a baby and recovering.

  • Baby bonding – time off for the woman who is no longer eligible for disability leave.

  • Medical – disability time off if you have a serious personal health condition.

  • Care – time off to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

You can’t turn back the calendar so the employee will continue to have job protection until they have received the documentation AND the full protected time elapses. Therefore, you want to provide the documents and start counting their time off as soon as possible. We manage leaves for a lot of our clients but you can learn how to do it yourself. Regardless of who is managing your leaves, they must be managed. You don’t want to end up terminating someone illegally and find you have more problems than an employee being absent.

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