Several Western States Update their Family Leave Laws:  California, Oregon, and Hawaii Changes

Last week saw the passage of bills impacting the California Family Rights Act and Hawaii Family Leave, plus new regulations for the Oregon Family Leave Act. Read on to learn more about the changes: 

Changes to California Family Rights Act and California New Parent Leave Act 

On September 17, the Governor of California signed CA Senate Bill 1383, legislation repealing the CA New Parent Leave Act and making substantial changes to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The law goes into effect January 1, 2021 and contains the following changes: 

  • Covered Employer: The law was amended to cover employers with 5 or more employees (previously covered employers with 50 or more employees) 
  • Employee Eligibility: Removes the eligibility requirement that an employee must work at a location with 50 employees within 75 miles 
  • Covered Family Members: Adds additional covered family members of grandparent, grandchildren, and siblings. Removes the requirement that a covered child must be under 18 or dependent 
  • Leave Reasons: Adds a qualifying military exigency to covered leave reasons 
  • Special Circumstances 
  • Removed the rule that restricted leave to a total of 12 shared weeks for parents working for the same employer taking leave for bonding  
  • Removes the Key Employee exception to the reinstatement obligations 
  • Repeals the California New Parent Leave Act (CA NPLA). For more information about CA NPLA, see 

Changes to Oregon Family Leave Act  

In March, the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) adopted a temporary rule to allow employees to use Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) sick child leave if the employee’s child’s school or place of care was closed due to a statewide public health emergency declared by a public health official. Effective September 14, 2020, BOLI permanently adopted this rule to allow employees to continue to utilize OFLA sick child leave if their child’s school or child care providers are entirely closed or intermittently closed in conjunction with a statewide public health emergency. The amended rules also provide the following guidance: 

  • Defines achild care provider,as: 
  • A person who cares for a child, such as nannies, au pairs, but also babysitters or individuals who provide child care at no cost and without a license on a regular basis, for example, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or neighbors 
  • A physical location such as day care facilities, preschools, before and after school care programs, schools, homes, summer camps, summer enrichment programs, and respite care programs 
  • Defines closure” for the purpose of schools and child care providers as ongoing, intermittent, or recurring and restricts physical access to the child’s school or child care provider 
  • Clarifies that “intermittent leave” includes leave taken when the employee requires an altered or reduced work schedule because the intermittent or recurring closure of a child’s school or child care provider due to a statewide public health emergency declared by a public health official. 
  • Describes the verification employers can seek from an employee for sick child leave to care for a child because the child’s school or child care provider has been closed in conjunction with a statewide public health emergency.  


Changes to Hawaii Family Leave Law 

On September 15, the Governor of Hawaii signed Hawaii House Bill 2148, amending the state’s Family Leave law. The changes are effective immediately. The law: 

  • Adds a definition of sibling (previously added as a covered relationship in 2017); and  
  • Expands covered relationships for leave to include a grandchild.  

Leave of absence is never dull, with constant evolution of the compliance landscape. FINEOS watches the trends and stays up-to-date, so our clients can take care of their business. You can find out more at our absence management page. 

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