Leave is allowed to care for a parent-in law. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) requires employers with 5 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid family care and medical leave to employees who have worked for the employer for more than 12 months, and who have worked at least 1,250 hours in the year before leave begins. Assembly Bill (AB) 1033 corrects a drafting error by including leave to care for a parent-in-law as a reason for taking family care and medical leave.

An opportunity to mediate CFRA disputes is required prior to the filing of a civil lawsuit. AB 1033 also revises the CFRA small employer mediation program. In order for an employee to file a lawsuit alleging a CFRA violation, the employee must first file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Sometimes, an employee will immediately request a “right to sue” letter allowing the employee to sue the employer in court. If the employee’s claim is against an employer with 5-19 employees, the employee is now required to notify the DFEH of the employee’s intent to sue the employer prior to filing suit. The DFEH will then notify the employer of its right to mediate the dispute using the DFEH mediation program. If the employer or the employee elect mediation within 30 days of receiving notice of the right to mediation, the employee cannot file a civil lawsuit until conclusion of the mediation.

CFRA designation notice. A requirement that is sometimes overlooked in leave administration is informing the employee, in writing, of the guarantee of employment in the same or a comparable position at the conclusion of CFRA leave. Government Code 12945.2 says that CFRA leave will not be considered granted unless this guarantee is provided.