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By: Mandy Hexom
On September 29, 2022, California’s Governor signed into law Assembly Bill 1041 amending the law requiring employers with 5 or more employees to grant up to 12 weeks of medical leave for family care and medical leave. This bill expands the class of people for whom an employee may take leave to care for a designated person. It also expands the definition of “family member” for purposes of using paid sick time under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.
A “designated person” is now defined to mean “any individuals related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”
The amended law requires the employee to identify the designated person at the time the leave is requested and the employer can limit an employee to one designated person per twelve month period. This new bill also expands the definition of “family member” to include a designated person as defined above, permitting employees to use up to half of their accrued paid sick leave to care for a designated person. This bill amends California’s Family Rights Act, amending California Government Code section 12945.2 as well as California Labor Code section 245.5.
How are employers to interpret a “designated person”? Until there is more guidance, it’s best to interpret it broadly. The following are some categories of persons that may qualify as “designated persons” other than persons related by marriage:
• Significant others and chosen families.
• Persons previously related by marriage.
• Very close friends treated like family.
• God parents and God children; and any equivalent in other religions or faiths.