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Dental practice owners should be prepared for major changes to the California Family Rights Act. The changes take effect Jan. 1, 2021, and will impact very small businesses, including dental practices with just five or more employees, who will soon be required to provide 12 workweeks of job-protected unpaid family leave benefits to eligible employees annually.
The CFRA’s provisions currently apply to employers with 50 or more employees and provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave that eligible employees can take for the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child, for their own serious health condition or to care for a specified family member with a serious health condition. CFRA currently defines “family member” to include a minor child, dependent adult child, spouse or parent.
But Gov. Gavin Newsom in September signed into law Senate Bill 1383 (Jackson, D-Santa Barbara), which does the following:
Now is the time for practice owners to review their policies and protocols to ensure they are compliant with the changes.
To get started, practice owners should:
CFRA administration can be complicated. To remain in compliance and avoid common CFRA-management mistakes, practice owners should:
To address concerns about the liability of small businesses if they fail to comply with the CFRA, another bill signed this year (Assembly Bill 1867) was amended to include a state-run mediation program for alleged CFRA violations.
The pilot program only applies to employers with five to 19 employees and grants an employer 30 days to request mediation through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing if an employee alleges that a CFRA violation has occurred.
Both parties will be prohibited from entering into civil court procedures unless DFEH determines they have exhausted their mediation efforts.
The program will remain in effect until Jan. 1, 2024.
CDA Practice Support has developed resources to educate member dentists and help them transition to the new requirements ahead of Jan. 2021, including:
CDA Practice Support analysts are also available to CDA members for one-on-one support.