According to the National Law Review, beginning January 1st, 2023, California will allow employees to take “designated person” leave. Comparatively, the state currently allows workers to take leave for a broad scope of family members. This law, however, creates a new covered category known as the “designated person.” Earlier, in September, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the state’s Pay Transparency bill into law.

Connection to Previous Laws

Introduced as California Assembly Bill 1041 (AB 1041), the new law expands California Senate Bill 1383, enacted in 2020. That bill, effective on January 1st, 2021:

  • extended California’s family and medical leave requirements to employers with five or more employees;
  • expanded the definition of family members for whom employees may take leave beyond the family members that the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) covers; and
  • increased the amount of available leave when both parents of a child work for the same employer.

At the present time, under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), eligible employees may take job-protected leave to care for family members with a “serious health condition.” Specifically, family members included the employee’s:

  • child,
  • parent,
  • parent-in-law,
  • grandparent,
  • grandchild,
  • sibling,
  • spouse, or
  • state-registered domestic partner.

In addition to biological relationships, a “child” and “parent” also include:

  • adoptive,
  • foster,
  • stepparent,
  • stepchild,
  • guardian,
  • legal ward, and
  • the child of an employee’s domestic partner.

Overview of AB 1041

Subsequently, after the passage of AB 1041, an eligible employee can use CFRA leave to care for a “designated person.” Chiefly, “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” An employee may explicitly identify this individual when the employee requests leave to care for that person. AB 1041 also authorizes an employer to limit an employee to one designated individual per 12-month period.

AB 1041 also extends paid sick leave to care for an employee’s “designated person.” Accordingly, for paid sick leave, the individual must be identified by the employee at the time of the leave request. This definition also does not require the person to be related by blood. However, unlike CFRA rules for paid sick leave, the individual does not have to be in a family-equivalent relationship. Regardless, employers may also limit employees to one designated individual per 12-month period for paid sick days.