What California Employers Need To Know About CFRA Leave In 2022
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is a state law that entitles most California employees to take up to 12 weeks of family or medical leave. In 2021, a revised CFRA took effect, expanding the law’s coverage to businesses with as few as five employees. These amendments also abolished a prior requirement that an employer must have a certain number of employees working with a 75-mile radius before employees could qualify for leave, which again expanded the total number of businesses subject to the CFRA.
The basic function of the CFRA is to provide leave for an employee who needs time off to deal with a “serious health condition,” either their own or that of a family member, including a spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandparent, sibling, or a minor or adult child. (A January 2022 amendment also added parents-in-law to this list.) When the need for leave is foreseeable by the employee, they must provide “reasonable advance notice” to the employer. Additionally, the employee should, when possible, make a reasonable effort to schedule the need for leave so as to avoid disruption to the employer’s operations. However, if there is a medical emergency and the need for leave was not foreseeable, the employee is still entitled to take leave, provided they give notice to the employer within 15 days after the employer requests such notice.
Asking for a Medical Certification
A common question we get from employers is, “Can I ask for any medical proof of the need for CFRA leave?” In fact, you can request a medical certification from the health care provider of the person who requires care, whether that is the employee themselves or one of their family members.
The certification form contains the following information:
- The name of the employee, as well as the name of the patient, if it is someone other than the employee. The form also asks if the other person is a family member listed in the CFRA.
- The date the need for the person’s medical treatment commenced. Keep in mind, an employer does not have the right to ask about the actual medical diagnosis, and the health care provider is not allowed to disclose such information.
- The “probable duration” of the medical condition or the need for treatment.
- Whether the person’s condition qualifies as a “serious health condition” as defined by the CFRA. Again, the health care provider cannot disclose any specifics; this is simply a yes-or-no question.
- Whether or not the employee is able to perform any kind of work or the “essential functions” of their current job.
In the case of an employee requesting CFRA leave to care for their own serious health condition, the employer does have the right to request the employee obtain at a second opinion–at the employee’s expense–if there is reason to doubt the validity of the certification.
Speak with a California Employment Attorney Today
Keeping up the changing requirements of the CFRA poses a challenge for many California businesses. If you need legal advice or guidance from an experienced Riverside County and Coachella Valley employment lawyer for employers, contact the Law Office of Karen J. Sloat, APCtoday.