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Frequently asked questions

Human Resources FAQ

What other HR consulting services does Central Valley Employers Resource Group provide?


CVERG is a full service HR consulting company that designs and delivers human resource training programs, as well has HR expertise in California employment law.




What is the CARES Act and the FFCRA Families First Coronavirus Response Act?


The CARES Act provides for a number of programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as described below:

Under the Public Health Emergency Leave - Section 3102 program: An employee who is eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act is entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period during the period beginning on the date the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act takes effect, and ending on December 31, 2020, because of a qualifying need related to a public health emergency. Leave under this provision must be paid leave.
The term “qualifying need related to a public health emergency” means the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. A “public health emergency” is an emergency with respect to COVID–19 declared by a Federal, State, or local authority. An “eligible employee” is an employee who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days by the employer. The first 10 days of leave may be unpaid. Paid leave is to be calculated based on an amount that is not less than two-thirds of an employee’s regular rate of pay and would otherwise be normally scheduled to work. An employer shall not be required to pay more than $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate for each employee for paid leave. Under the "Paid Sick Time - Section 5102" program: An employer shall provide to each employee employed by the employer paid sick time to the extent that the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave because:

  • The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order;
  • The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID– 19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to quarantine or isolation order or has been advised to self-quarantine;
  • The employee is caring for his or her son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID–19 precautions; or
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
A full-time employee shall be entitled to 80 hours of paid sick time. A part-time employee is entitled to a number of hours equal to the number of hours that such employee works, on average, over a 2-week period. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-116publ127/pdf/PLAW-116publ127.pdf
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-116publ127/pdf/PLAW-116publ127.pdf
https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3548/text




How much should I pay my employee when taking paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA?


It depends on their normal schedule as well as why they are taking leave. If they are taking paid sick leave because they are unable to work or telework due to a need for leave because they(1) are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (2) have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or (3) are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking medical diagnosis, they will receive for each applicable hour the greater of: their regular rate of pay, the federal minimum wage in effect under the FLSA, or the applicable State or local minimum wage. In these circumstances, they are entitled to a maximum of $511 per day, or $5,110 total over the entire paid sick leave period. If they are taking paid sick leave because they are: (1) caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or an individual who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; (2) caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons; or (3) experiencing any other substantially-similar condition that may arise, as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, they are entitled to compensation at 2/3 of the greater of the amounts above. Under these circumstances, they are subject to a maximum of $200 per day, or $2,000 over the entire two week period. If they are taking expanded family and medical leave,they may take paid sick leave for the first two weeks of that leave period, or they may substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave they have under the employer’s policy. For the following ten weeks, they will be paid for their leave at an amount no less than 2/3 of their regular rate of pay for the hours they would be normally scheduled to work.




Is all leave under the FMLA now paid leave?


No. The only type of family and medical leave that is paid leave is expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act when such leave exceeds ten days. This includes only leave taken because the employee must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.




Does CVERG offer training in Spanish?


  • CVERG provides live training OR via Zoom (depending on the preference of the client)
  • On-site at your location
  • Interactive and effective material
  • Compliant with California laws
  • Available in Spanish
  • Cost effective





COVID-19

What is the CARES Act and the FFCRA Families First Coronavirus Response Act?


The CARES Act provides for a number of programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as described below:

Under the Public Health Emergency Leave - Section 3102 program: An employee who is eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act is entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period during the period beginning on the date the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act takes effect, and ending on December 31, 2020, because of a qualifying need related to a public health emergency. Leave under this provision must be paid leave.
The term “qualifying need related to a public health emergency” means the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. A “public health emergency” is an emergency with respect to COVID–19 declared by a Federal, State, or local authority. An “eligible employee” is an employee who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days by the employer. The first 10 days of leave may be unpaid. Paid leave is to be calculated based on an amount that is not less than two-thirds of an employee’s regular rate of pay and would otherwise be normally scheduled to work. An employer shall not be required to pay more than $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate for each employee for paid leave. Under the "Paid Sick Time - Section 5102" program: An employer shall provide to each employee employed by the employer paid sick time to the extent that the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave because:

  • The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order;
  • The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID– 19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to quarantine or isolation order or has been advised to self-quarantine;
  • The employee is caring for his or her son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID–19 precautions; or
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
A full-time employee shall be entitled to 80 hours of paid sick time. A part-time employee is entitled to a number of hours equal to the number of hours that such employee works, on average, over a 2-week period. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-116publ127/pdf/PLAW-116publ127.pdf
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-116publ127/pdf/PLAW-116publ127.pdf
https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3548/text




Where can I find California's existing laws and ordinances regarding sick time and employee leave?


Can an employee use California Paid Sick Leave due to COVID-19 illness? Yes. If the employee has paid sick leave available, the employer must provide such leave and compensate the employee under California paid sick leave laws. Paid sick leave can be used for absences due to illness, the diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition or preventative care for the employee or the employee’s family member. Preventative care may include self-quarantine as a result of potential exposure to COVID-19 if quarantine is recommended by civil authorities. In addition, there may be other situations where an employee may exercise their right to take paid sick leave, or an employer may allow paid sick leave for preventative care. For example, where there has been exposure to COVID-19 or where the worker has traveled to a high risk area. For workers at organizations with more than 500 employees nationwide or healthcare employees or first responders whose employers have opted out of the federal FFCRA please see FAQs on California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave. If an employee exhausts sick leave, can other paid leave be used? Yes, if an employee does not qualify to use paid sick leave, or has exhausted sick leave, other leave may be available. If there is a vacation or paid time off policy, an employee may choose to take such leave and be compensated provided that the terms of the vacation or paid time off policy allows for leave in this circumstance. Can an employer require a worker who is quarantined to exhaust paid sick leave? The employer cannot require that the worker use paid sick leave; that is the worker’s choice. If the worker decides to use paid sick leave, the employer can require they take a minimum of two hours of paid sick leave. The determination of how much paid sick leave will be used is up to the employee. What options do I have if my child's school or day care closes for reasons related to COVID-19? Employees should discuss their options with their employers. There may be paid sick leave or other paid leave that is available to employees. Employees at worksites with 25 or more employees may also be provided up to 40 hours of leave per year for specific school-related emergencies, such as the closure of a child's school or day care by civil authorities (see Labor Code section 230.8). Whether that leave is paid or unpaid depends on the employer’s paid leave, vacation or other paid time off policies. Employers may require employees use their vacation or paid time off benefits before they are allowed to take unpaid leave, but cannot mandate that employees use paid sick leave. However, a parent may choose to use any available paid sick leave to be with their child as preventative care. Can an employer require a worker to provide information about recent travel to countries considered to be high-risk for exposure to the coronavirus? Yes. Employers can request that employees inform them if they are planning or have traveled to countries considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be high-risk areas for exposure to the coronavirus. However, employees have a right to medical privacy, so the employer cannot inquire into areas of medical privacy. Is an employee entitled to compensation for reporting to work and being sent home? Generally, if an employee reports for their regularly scheduled shift but is required to work fewer hours or is sent home, the employee must be compensated for at least two hours, or no more than four hours, of reporting time pay. For example, a worker who reports to work for an eight-hour shift and only works for one hour must receive four hours of pay, one for the hour worked and three as reporting time pay so that the worker receives pay for at least half of the expected eight-hour shift. Additional information on reporting time pay is posted online. For more FAQs on Laws Enforced by the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.




Do my employees have to wear a facemask?


Individuals must wear masks in several specified high-risk situations, including when engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when (1) interacting in-person with any member of the public; (2) working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time; (3) working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others; (4) working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities; (5) in any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance.

Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others should wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.

Many California localities have provisions concerning face coverings for employees and/or customers.
California Department of Health - Guidance for the use of face coverings.




When can we return to work in California?


The State Public Health Officer has been directed to establish criteria to determine whether and how local health officers may during the relevant stages of reopening issue directives to establish and implement public health measures less restrictive than any public health measures implemented on a statewide basis.

The State Public Health Officer has also been directed to establish procedures through which local health officers may certify that, if their respective jurisdictions are subject to proposed public health measures (which they shall specify to the extent such specification may be required by the State Public Health Officer) that are less restrictive than public health measures implemented on a statewide basis, the public health will not be menaced.

California is now in early Stage 2, where retail, related logistics and manufacturing, office workplaces, limited personal services, outdoor museums, child care, and essential businesses can open with modifications. Before reopening, all facilities must:

  • Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
  • Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them
  • Implement individual control measures and screenings
  • Implement disinfecting protocols
  • Implement physical distancing guidelines

Individual industries each have their own guidance in addition to those general requirements.

On June 28, 2020 Governor Newson ordered bars closed in 7 California Counties, Los Angeles, Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Tulare, Kings and Imperial., due to the coronavirus spread. He also recommended eight other counties take action on their own to close those businesses. California's COVID Roadmap Industry guidance Executive Order N-60-20




Workers Comp Benefits for COVID-19?


Yes, Govenor Newsom signed Executive Order No. N-62-20 - which gives workers compensation benefits to workers that contract COVID-19 during the stay at home order.




How much should I pay my employee when taking paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA?


It depends on their normal schedule as well as why they are taking leave. If they are taking paid sick leave because they are unable to work or telework due to a need for leave because they(1) are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (2) have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or (3) are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking medical diagnosis, they will receive for each applicable hour the greater of: their regular rate of pay, the federal minimum wage in effect under the FLSA, or the applicable State or local minimum wage. In these circumstances, they are entitled to a maximum of $511 per day, or $5,110 total over the entire paid sick leave period. If they are taking paid sick leave because they are: (1) caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or an individual who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; (2) caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons; or (3) experiencing any other substantially-similar condition that may arise, as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, they are entitled to compensation at 2/3 of the greater of the amounts above. Under these circumstances, they are subject to a maximum of $200 per day, or $2,000 over the entire two week period. If they are taking expanded family and medical leave,they may take paid sick leave for the first two weeks of that leave period, or they may substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave they have under the employer’s policy. For the following ten weeks, they will be paid for their leave at an amount no less than 2/3 of their regular rate of pay for the hours they would be normally scheduled to work.




Is all leave under the FMLA now paid leave?


No. The only type of family and medical leave that is paid leave is expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act when such leave exceeds ten days. This includes only leave taken because the employee must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.




Are we required to issue paid sick leave if we gave our employee paid leave for a reason identified in the EPSLA prior to it going into effect?


Yes, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act imposes a new leave requirement on employers that is effective beginning on April 1, 2020.




Are there reporting requirements that employers must follow if an employee notifies our company that they suspect they have Covid?


Governor Newsom recently signed AB 685 into law, which in part requires employers take several actions within one business day of learning about a potential exposure in the workplace. Specifically, under the newly added Labor Code § 6409.6, employers must:

  • Provide written notice to all employees, and employers of subcontracted employees, who were at the worksite at the same time as the infected individual within the infectious period, notifying they may have been exposed to COVID-19;
  • Provide the notice above to employees’ exclusive representative, such as their union, if any;

  • Notify all employees, their exclusive representative, and the employers of subcontracted employees about the disinfection and safety plan the employer plans to implement and complete per the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

  • Provide all employees who may have been exposed, and their exclusive representative, with information regarding COVID-19-related benefits the employee may be entitled to under applicable federal, state, or local laws, such as workers’ compensation, COVID-19-related leave, company sick leave, state-mandated leave, supplemental sick leave, or negotiated leave provisions, as well as antiretaliation and antidiscrimination protections of the employee




What is considered a COVID-19 Outbreak and how will we know if our company has an outbreak?


AB 685 places significant obligations on employers to provide employees certain notice of a potential COVID-19 workplace exposure. The notice must be in writing and be provided within one business day of potential exposure. The notice must contain specific information, including certain employer-related benefits available to employees as it relates to COVID-19 and information as to the company’s cleaning protocols and safety plan to eliminate further exposures. The new law also requires an employer to notify public health officials of a COVID-19 outbreak.

If an employer has a “COVID-19 outbreak” at the worksite (which at present, in non-healthcare settings is defined as three or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among workers at the same worksite within a 14-day period), the employer has additional reporting requirements. Within 48 hours of being notified of the outbreak, the employer must notify the local public health agency of the names, number, occupation, and worksite of the infected employees.

Employers will need to put procedures in place prior to January 1 so they are prepared to act quickly if they receive notice of a potential exposure in the workplace – employers only have one business day to issue the notice to employees, their exclusive representative (e.g., unions), and the employers of subcontracted employees. Likewise, employers need to be prepared to report COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace to the local public health agency.




Does ADA apply to employees who test positive for COVID-19?


You may be required to provide a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act if an employee with COVID-19 gets severely sick or the disease complicates one or more preexisting health conditions or disabilities, provided it does not pose an undue hardship on the employer.

Given the range of ways COVID-19 affects individuals, and the uncertainty of the times, the best HR practice would be to treat COVID-19 as a disability and engage in the interactive process with the employee. A reasonable accommodation under the ADA is an unpaid leave of absence.





Anti-Harassment FAQ

Is online training compliant with California's mandatory requirements for harassment prevention training?​​


Online training may or may not be compliant with the DFEH requirements. There are stringent requirements in order for sexual harassment prevention training to be considered an approved and compliant option. In most cases, the platform that online training is offered places greater restrictions on meeting those minimum requirements.




How much does live training cost compared to online?


Online training ranges anywhere from $15 to $45 per employee. In order to get the lower pricing you are generally required to buy in bulk and print your own mandatory handouts and certificates. Our pricing is all inclusive and includes all materials, travel expenses and time, as well as a signed certificate of completion that is valid for two years, from the date it is issued.




Does your training require the use of a computer or other electronic device?


No, your employees will not require access to a computer or any other electronic device. All of our training courses are facilitated by a live, qualified trainer. We come to your organization and provide the required handouts, as well as the certificate of completion for the same price as online training.




Is online training compliance with California's mandatory requirements?​​


Online training may or may not be compliant with the DFEH requirements. There are stringent requirements in order for sexual harassment prevention training to be considered an approved and compliant option. In most cases, the platform that online training is offered places greater restrictions on meeting those minimum requirements.




What are the benefits of live training?


Live training is interactive. It provides for the ability for immediate Question and Answer sessions. Studies show that employees pay better attention throughout a live training session versus when left alone to complete at their own pace, online. Material covered can be adapted to the specific audience versus a one size fits all solution. Our team of qualified trainers are adept at customizing this experience. Live training is more effective at covering the steps to prevent harassment from occurring, as well as correlating the ramifications of mishandling or ignoring harassment complaints all together. Preventive measures are emphasized by our team of qualified trainers. As employment claims continue to escalate, it is necessary to have proof of your organization's commitment to a zero-tolerance harassment policy. By having one of CVERG’s qualified trainers conduct live training, you are ensuring that your employees receive effective and interactive training. You are creating your first line of defense. By having a CVERG qualified trainer conduct live training, you are essentially creating documentation that will support a summary judgement based on your zero tolerance for unlawful workplace harassment, discrimination or retaliation – should the need arise.




What is SB778?


Senate Bill 778 or SB778 extends the deadline for SB1343. SB 778 states an employer with 5 or more employees must provide COMPLIANT training and education by January 1, 2021, and thereafter once every 2 years. ​​ New nonsupervisory employees must be trained within 6 months of hire and new supervisory employees to be provided the training within 6 months of the assumption of a supervisory position.




How does SB 1343 differ from AB 1825 that was approved in 2004?


AB 1825 required employers with 50 employees to train supervisors and managers every two years. SB 1343 amended that law, by lowering the threshold to smaller employers with 5 employees or more. SB 1343 also requires training for non-managerial employees; therefore, most employers in California will need to provide interactive training to all employees.




How much does live training cost compared to online?


Online training ranges anywhere from $15 to $45 per employee. In order to get the lower pricing you are generally required to buy in bulk and print your own mandatory handouts and certificates. Our pricing is all inclusive and includes all materials, travel expenses and time, as well as a signed certificate of completion that is valid for two years, from the date it is issued.




Does CVERG provide sexual harassment training?


CVERG is equipped to deliver sexual harassment prevention training that is effective, informational, and in compliance with California state law.




Do I have to comply with SB1343?


SB1343 requires an employer with 5 or more employees to provide at least 2 hours of interactive training regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees and at least 1 hour to all nonsupervisory employees in California within 6 months of their assumption of a position




What else do I need to know about California's new harassment training requirements?


The new requirements are in addition to the requirements that have been in place since 2005, for training supervisors. All supervisors who work for a company with 50 or more employees must receive sexual harassment training within 6 months of assuming supervisory duties and at least once every two years.

  • CVERG provides live training
  • On-site at your location
  • Interactive and effective material
  • Compliant with California laws
  • Available in Spanish
  • Cost effective




Does CVERG offer training in Spanish?


  • CVERG provides live training OR via Zoom (depending on the preference of the client)
  • On-site at your location
  • Interactive and effective material
  • Compliant with California laws
  • Available in Spanish
  • Cost effective





Working With Central Valley Employers Resource Group

How can CVERG help with Sexual Harassment Training?


Fortunately, we have made it easy for organizations to meet California's new requirements for Harassment Prevention Training by the January 1, 2021 deadline. Currently, we offer a compliant Supervisor and Management training course and the non-managerial employees 1 hour training. Both the 2 hour and 1 hour training sessions not only meet, but exceeds SB 1343 requirements.




What other HR consulting services does Central Valley Employers Resource Group provide?


CVERG is a full service HR consulting company that designs and delivers human resource training programs, as well has HR expertise in California employment law.




How can CVERG help with safety in the workplace?


CVERG recognizes that workplace safety can drain valuable company resources, such as time and productivity, not to mention the toll it can take on the Company's culture. Here are some of the services we offer to help your business avoid these costly mistakes:

  • IIPP Policy Design and Maintenance

  • Safety Audits

  • OSHA incident logs and forms 300, 300A

  • Return to work - Interactive process meetings

  • Workers Compensation claims and investigations




What about OSHA or Cal-OSHA


We are experienced in designing programs that comply with Cal-OSHA regulations and instilling a culture of safety in your workplace.

OSHA penalties range from $13,000 (other than serious to serious) to $132,000 (repeat & willful). Let us help you avoid these penalties today




Can CVERG help reduce our exposure to risks?


CVERG can help you manage and mitigate risk by conducting an operational review of your current HR functions.




What is an HR Audit?


An HR audit consists of an operational review of your company's HR functions, which will help identify compliance discrepancies per federal or state laws.




What do I need to know about I-9 verification?


Strict compliance with the often-confusing I-9 rules is your ONLY defense against serious monetary penalties and criminal arrests.




What can CVERG do to help us avoid I-9 audits from the government?


CVERG can create massive I-9 on-boarding projects during mergers and acquisitions as well as support small business owners who are required to compete on the same level as large employers when it comes to I-9 completion.

Your organization's odds of being targeted for an audit of your I-9 forms have skyrocketed. I-9 violations come with a severe penalty. I-9 fine levels were raised by 96% last year.




What does CVERG charge for HR?


Depends, because some of our clients utilize our team for a single project or to cover a leave of absence in their human resources department; while other clients retain our services on a continual basis. Each client is unique and so are their needs. The phone consultation is always free.




Is your team HR certified?


Yes, both SHRM-CP and SHRM-California Labor Law HR Specialty Credential




What if I only require a review of current company policies and help with a leave of absence?


Through the offering of unparalleled and competitive outsourced HR competency and knowledge capabilities, you have the flexibility of deciding the level of support and the scope of the project




Do you offer a free consultation?


Yes, CVERG is happy to provide all new potential clients with a free consultation. Call 559-288-3332 to schedule a no cost HR consultation.





California LOA

What is the purpose of CFRA leave?


California Family Rights Act

On January 1, 2021, California employers with five (5) or more employees will be subject to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). In addition, employers previously subject to CFRA (those with 50 or more employees) will see new obligations under the Act. Under SB 1383, some of the key amendments that will take effect on January 1 include:

  • expanded definition of family member;
  • removal of the sharing of 12 weeks of bonding time for parents working for the same employer;
  • removal of the “key employee” reinstatement exemption; and
  • addition of qualifying exigency military leave.
Note regarding pregnancy-related disability and CFRA The CFRA does not provide time off for a woman due to pregnancy or childbirth related conditions, as this need is covered by California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) law. Therefore, a qualified employee who is out of work due to pregnancy-related disability would be entitled to FMLA and PDL, but not CFRA. Upon completion of a pregnancy disability leave (i.e. following the birth of the baby and the new mother’s recovery period from childbirth), an eligible employee is able to take 12 weeks of CFRA leave for baby bonding purposes. Under the rare circumstance where an employee is unable to work due to a disability caused by pregnancy and exhausts her PDL prior to the birth of the baby, an employer may, as a reasonable accommodation, allow the employee to utilize CFRA leave prior to the birth of her child. In this event, the employee would not be entitled to receive 12 weeks of baby-bonding leave, but instead would only receive baby bonding leave to the extent that CFRA leave was still available following the employee’s recovery from her pregnancy-related disability.




What employers are required to provide eligible employees with CFRA leave?


Employers who do business in California and who employ 50 or more employees within any state in the United States are subject to the CFRA and are required to provide eligible employees with CFRA leave. Effective January 1, 2021 all employers in california who employ 5 or more employees will be subject to the CFRA.




What employees are eligible to take CFRA leave?


In order to be eligible to take CFRA leave, an employee must

  • Have been employed by the employer for a total of at least 12 months before the date of the requested leave,
Note: Employment periods before a 7 or more year break in service are not included in the count unless if the break was because of military service or there is a written agreement between the employee and the employer specifying otherwise,
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period immediately before the date CFRA leave is to begin, and
  • Work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees working within a 75-mile radius of that location.




What is the amount of CFRA leave available?


The CFRA requires covered employers to provide an employee with 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for qualifying reasons. Key terms for purposes of the CFRA:

  • “Twelve workweeks” means the equivalent of 12 of the employee's normally scheduled workweeks.




If the employer doubts the validity of the employee’s medical certification, can the employer request a second opinion?


If the employer has reason to doubt the validity of the certification, an employer may require certification from a second health care provider of the employer’s choosing. If a second opinion is sought, the employer cannot use a health care provider that it employs on a regular basis. In addition, the employer cannot request that the health care provider provide additional information (i.e. information prohibited under the CFRA) in the medical certification. If the second health care provider's report differs from the first, the employer may require a third and final certification from a health care provider that is jointly selected by the employer and the employee. The opinion of the third health care provider is binding on both the employer and the employee. The employer must pay any associated costs relating to obtaining a second and third medical certification.




Is an employer required to continue providing benefits (e.g. medical benefits) while the employee is on CFRA leave?


An employer is required to continue an employee’s medical insurance, as though he or she remained actively employed, for one period of 12 weeks in a 12-month period. Therefore, if FMLA and CFRA are taken concurrently, the employee would receive benefits throughout a 12-week leave. In the instance of baby bonding, if the employee takes 12 weeks of CFRA leave after the conclusion of 12 weeks of FMLA, the employee is entitled to health insurance continuation through both the 12 weeks of FMLA and the 12 weeks of CFRA leave. In addition, if an employee took leave exclusively under Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) because they were not yet eligible for FMLA and then takes leave under CFRA once they become eligible, health insurance must be continued throughout the CFRA leave, even though it was continued during PDL.




Does an employee’s CFRA leave run concurrently with other leaves of absence?


YES. Under certain circumstances, an employee’s CFRA leave will run concurrently with other statutory leaves of absence. CFRA leave runs concurrently with the following statutory leaves of absence:

  • Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Victim Leave
  • Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Leave, and
  • FMLA (under certain circumstances, see below)
CFRA does not run concurrently with the following statutory leaves of absence:
  • Pregnancy Disability Leave,
  • Organ and Bone Marrow Donor Leave,
  • Military and Military Spouse Leave,
  • Civil Air Patrol Leave,
  • Volunteer Firefighter and Reserve Police Leave,
  • School Activity Leave,
  • Voting Leave
  • Jury Duty/Witness Duty Leave, and
  • Crime Victim Leave
Circumstances where CFRA runs concurrently with FMLA If the reason for the leave also qualifies for FMLA, the CFRA and FMLA leaves would run concurrently. Therefore, if the leave of absence is needed:
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition,
  • For the employee’s own serious illness or injury (except pregnancy-related disability),
  • To bond with a child placed with the employee for adoption or foster care,
  • To bond with a newborn child,
o For the mother, any FMLA remaining after PDL will run concurrently with any CFRA taken for this purpose. o For the father, FMLA/CFRA will run concurrently for a maximum of 12 weeks.




How much should I pay my employee when taking paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA?


It depends on their normal schedule as well as why they are taking leave. If they are taking paid sick leave because they are unable to work or telework due to a need for leave because they(1) are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (2) have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or (3) are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking medical diagnosis, they will receive for each applicable hour the greater of: their regular rate of pay, the federal minimum wage in effect under the FLSA, or the applicable State or local minimum wage. In these circumstances, they are entitled to a maximum of $511 per day, or $5,110 total over the entire paid sick leave period. If they are taking paid sick leave because they are: (1) caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or an individual who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; (2) caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons; or (3) experiencing any other substantially-similar condition that may arise, as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, they are entitled to compensation at 2/3 of the greater of the amounts above. Under these circumstances, they are subject to a maximum of $200 per day, or $2,000 over the entire two week period. If they are taking expanded family and medical leave,they may take paid sick leave for the first two weeks of that leave period, or they may substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave they have under the employer’s policy. For the following ten weeks, they will be paid for their leave at an amount no less than 2/3 of their regular rate of pay for the hours they would be normally scheduled to work.




Are we required to issue paid sick leave if we gave our employee paid leave for a reason identified in the EPSLA prior to it going into effect?


Yes, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act imposes a new leave requirement on employers that is effective beginning on April 1, 2020.




Is all leave under the FMLA now paid leave?


No. The only type of family and medical leave that is paid leave is expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act when such leave exceeds ten days. This includes only leave taken because the employee must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.




What do employers need to do before January 1, 2021 to make sure they meet the new obligations and amendments to CFRA?


Employers will want to make sure they are ready for the changes above to take effect January 1, 2021.

  1. Small employers who will be subject to CFRA for the first time as of January should familiarize themselves with the new requirements.
  2. All employers with 5 or more employees should update their CFRA policies and eliminate any NPLA policy.
  3. Employers should train human resources personnel and any other employees who will handle CFRA leave requests or employee questions.
  4. Employers should review the forms used for CFRA and ensure they comply with the amended CFRA.




What are the amendments to CFRA?


Specifically, with the new year, CFRA will be amended as follows:

  • Covered employer will include all employers who employ five or more employees;
  • Employees are eligible for CFRA leave if they have more than 12 months of service with the employer and worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to leave;
  • Eligible employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave;
  • Family care and medical leave are available for the following reasons:
    • The birth of the employee's child or the placement of a child in connection with adoption or foster care;
    • To care for a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner who has a serious health condition;
      • Note that previously, leave was not available to care for a grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.
    • For the employee's own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position, except for leave taken for disability due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions;
    • For a qualifying exigency related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of an employee's spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces of the United States, as specified in Section 3302.2 of the Unemployment Insurance Code
  • Serious health condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either of the following:
    • Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential health care facility.
    • Continuing treatment or continuing supervision by a health care provider.
  • Employers cannot refuse to reinstate “key employees,” as was previously allowed by the CFRA under certain circumstances.





2021 Legal Updates

Are there new employment laws that California employers should be aware of in 2021?


Yes. The most critical that California Employers need to be aware of and prepare for are as follows: 1. Minimum wage rates will increase on January 1, 2021. 2. CFRA. California Family Rights Act will now be applicable to all California employers with 5 or more employees. There are also new obligations under the Act, as well as amendments that employers must comply with by January 1, 2021. See California LOA FAQ's for the specific requirements. 3. New Notice and Reporting obligatons for Covid-19 workplace exposure. AB 685 requires employers to provide employees with notice of a potential COVID-19 workplace exposure. The notice must be in writing and be provided within one business day of potential exposure. The notice must contain specific information, including certain employer-related benefits available to employees as it relates to COVID-19 and information as to the company’s cleaning protocols and safety plan to eliminate further exposures. The new law also requires an employer to notify public health officials of a COVID-19 outbreak. Please see COVID-19 FAQ's for more information. 4. Pay Data Reporting. SB 973 requires California employers with 100 or more employees to submit to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) a pay data report no later than March 31, 2021, and annually thereafter. The data is based on race, ethnicity, and sex in 10 broadly-defined job categories and 11 pay bands used by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics in its Occupational Employee Survey. 5. Time Period for Filing DLSE Complaints. AB 1947 extends the deadline for employees to file a complaint based on their belief that they were discharged or otherwise discriminated against, from 6 months previously to now, one year after an alleged violation.