Since 2000, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) has required coveredemployers to approve time off for their employees in the event of a personal illness, the need to attend the illness of a family member, or the birth or adoption of a child. The most recent set of amendments to the CFRA went into effect July 1, 2015.

The Law

The CFRA requires employers to provide up to 12 workweeks of leave within a one-year period for certain events related to the health of an employee or an employee’s family members.  

To be covered under the CFRA, an employer must employ at least 50 workers within a 75-mile radius. A covered employee must have worked for the employer for at least one year, and must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the year preceding the leave.

Covered Employers

The amendments to the CFRA expand the statute’s definition of who constitutes a covered employer. Covered employers now include successors-in-interest and joint employers. To determine whether an existing relationship constitutes joint employment, the relationship must be viewed in its totality, based on the economic situation. Generally, when one employee’s work performance benefits two or more employers, or when one employee works for at least two employers at different time during the week, the relationship will be considered one of joint employment.  


The new amendments also broaden the definition of a worksite to include either a single location or a group of contiguous locations. For employees who work from home, the worksite is the place:

  • To which employees are assigned as their home base;
  • From which work is assigned; or
  • To which the employee reports.

This expanded definition of worksite will allow for coverage for a wider variety of California employees.


Another definition that has undergone significant amendment is that of a spouse. A spouse now includes registered domestic partners and same-sex partners who are married.

Computation of Time

The 12-month period provided as CFRA leave can now be calculated in one of four ways. The measuring period may be:

  • The calendar year;
  • Any fixed 12-month leave year;
  • The 12-month period measured forward from when an employee’s leave first begins; or
  • A rolling 12-month span measured backward from the date an employee uses CFRA leave.

Usually an employer will preemptively designate one of these types of measuring periods as the default method of measurement. If an employer changes the measuring period used, the employer is required to give employees at least 60 days’ notice.

If you are concerned about how the amendments to CFRA will affect your rights to paid leave, please contact a skilled Morgan Hill business lawyer at The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer at 408-779-4700 for a free consultation, in Morgan Hill, San Jose or Fremont.


Posted in Employment Law

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