CA Joins Other States with Paid Leave Laws

California has joined a steadily increasing list of eleven states and the District of Columbia in expanding paid leave programs for employees. Another five states have widened the range of paid time off by expanding paid sick leave policies. In addition, while select states allow paid time off for employees to care for family members, a growing number of states, including California, have extended paid leave protections to care for non-family members, or “chosen” family members, to varying degrees. 

This patchwork of state paid leave laws presents significant challenges for employers. For example, differences in state laws can leave employers struggling to determine which employees have the right to paid leave under which circumstances under all applicable state and federal laws, which may differ by worksite location. 

Trends in expanding family and medical leave policies have included more non-family members. For instance, California’s newly expanded laws now offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid family care and medical leave, as well as paid sick time for “chosen” family members. In addition, individuals may take leave for a “designated person”, or anyone related by blood or with whom they have the equivalent of a family relationship. 

State leave programs arose from the COVID-19 pandemic as individuals increasingly needed to care for family members and non-family members. The expansion of these programs to include “chosen” family members also stems from the fact that many American children do not live in traditional nuclear families. For example, Oregon’s paid leave program becomes effective in September 2023, and Colorado’s program will begin offering benefits in 2024.

Increases in mandatory paid time off create complications for employers, especially if they operate worksites in multiple states. For example, employees can now be gone for up to 24 weeks instead of 12 weeks on job-protected leave in California. Complying with new state requirements costs more money for employers in the form of additional staff, contribution premiums to the state or insurance companies, or fees to third-party administrators to manage claims to the new and existing benefits.

HBL has experience in all areas of benefits and employment law, offering a comprehensive solution to all your business benefits and HR/employment needs. We help ensure you are in compliance with the complex requirements of ERISA and the IRS code, as well as those laws that impact you and your employees. Together, we reduce your exposure to potential legal or financial penalties. Learn more by calling 470-571-1007.

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Hall Benefits Law, LLC

HBL offers employers comprehensive legal guidance on benefits in mergers and acquisitions, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), executive compensation, health and welfare benefits, healthcare reform, and retirement plans. We counsel a wide spectrum of clients including small, mid-sized, and large companies, 401(k) investment advisors, health insurance brokers, accountants, attorneys, and HR consultants, just to name a few. HBL is passionate about advising clients, and we are dedicated to our mission: to provide comprehensive, personalized, and practical ERISA and benefits legal solutions that exceed client expectations.

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