2021 COVID-Related Laws for California Employers

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2021 | Employment Law

California Governor Gavin Newsom lately authorized a handful of bills that will affect employers in the new year, most notably legislation that will expand the state’s current family medical leave law, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and COVID-related workers’ compensation claims.

Senate Bill (SB) 1383

This bill significantly broadens California’s CFRA by obligating employers with a minimum of just five employees to guarantee particular uncompensated and protected medical, family, and military leave. Previously, the CFRA mimicked the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by applying to companies with at least fifty employees. Medical leave, as defined by existing state law, includes leave “to care for a parent or a spouse who has a serious health condition,” or “because of an employee’s own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position of that employee.”[1]

Additionally, this bill expands the definition of family member from a spouse or domestic partner, child, or parent to include siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and adult children, regardless of dependent status.

Senate Bill (SB) 1159

The purpose of this bill is to expand the definition of “injury” covered under existing workers’ compensation laws to include illness or death resulting from COVID-19. Specifically, it creates a rebuttable presumption of COVID infection at the workplace if the employee contracts the virus within two weeks after an outbreak at the workplace. This presumption is valid for affected employees through January 1, 2023.

This bill also requires employers who should reasonably have knowledge of an employee testing positive to disclose to their insurance claims administrator of such knowledge in writing within three business days.[2]

Call Makarem & Associates for a Free Consultation

As employment attorneys in California, we are committed to ensuring our clients receive the rights they are entitled to as employees under state law. If you believe you have been denied your rights as an employee in any capacity, including the denial of your medical leave rights relating to the novel coronavirus disease, we at Makarem & Associates are ready to step in and help you. With some of the best employment law attorneys in California, we can provide legal representation to help you reach the most ideal outcome.

Get in touch with Makarem & Associates for a free consultation over the phone at 310-312-0299 or email at [email protected] to receive the right legal counsel.


[1] https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB1383

[2] https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB1159

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