“Ban-the-Box,” Baby Bonding Regulations Moving Forward

Comment period open for proposed California parental leave and criminal background regulations.

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) is currently considering amendments to the state Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to address two fairly recent laws — the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) and the statewide ban-the-box law — both of which became effective on January 1, 2018.

Baby Bonding Integration

The draft regulations integrate the NPLA — which requires employers with 20 or more employees to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child — into the existing California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The CFRA also provides for baby-bonding leave, but applies to employers with 50 or more employees.

The proposed NPLA regulations would include:

  • A change to the required CFRA poster;
  • An explanation on the use of accrued time during NPLA leave;
  • An explanation of the relationship between the NPLA, CFRA and other leaves, such as pregnancy disability leave; and
  • Re-emphasis of the prohibition against retaliation for exercising the right to take a protected leave of absence.

Regulating Criminal History Checks

California’s new ban-the-box law prohibits employers with five or more employees from asking job candidates about any criminal background before a conditional job offer has been made. The FEHC’s draft criminal background check regulations are intended to set forth rules and procedures for when and how an employer can receive criminal history information about a job applicant.

Last year, the FEHC passed criminal history regulations that went into effect on July 1, 2017. However, the California ban-the-box legislation is a broader prohibition on the use of criminal history information than the pre-existing regulations. This new proposal is an attempt to merge the new law with the pre-existing regulations.

Make Your Comments Known

The FEHC made further modifications to the proposed regulations and is currently seeking additional public comments.

Written comments can be submitted via e-mail to FEHCouncil@dfeh.ca.gov and brian.sperber@dfeh.ca.gov or mailed to:

Fair Employment and Housing Council
c/o Brian Sperber, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel
Department of Fair Employment and Housing
320 West 4th Street, 10th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90013

The comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, September 7, 2018.

For more information on the proposed regulations, visit the FEHC’s website.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Senior Employment Law Counsel

CalChamber members can read more about California’s New Parent Leave Act and Restrictions on Obtaining Criminal History in the HR Library. Not a member? Learn about the benefits of membership.

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