On March 24, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) launched a web-based app that is designed to assist Californians with determining eligibility for either Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) or baby bonding leave through the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The app creates a “report” regarding an individual’s eligibility based upon a series of questions.
The app first asks whether the individual, depending on their circumstances, is interested in learning more about PDL or baby bonding eligibility. Once either PDL or baby bonding is selected, the app takes the user through a series of questions regarding eligibility starting with basic coverage questions like if the user works in California and if their employer usually has at least five employees. Then the app moves on to more specific eligibility questions like whether the user is suffering from a medical condition related to their pregnancy or if they have worked a certain number of months and hours for their current employer. Once the app determines the user’s eligibility, the app provides additional content on the employer’s and employee’s obligations to each other during PDL and baby bonding leave as well as additional frequently asked questions to provide additional information to employers.
Although the app appears designed to help employees determine their own eligibility, it provides employers who are new to administering CFRA’s baby bonding leave with the ability to quickly check basic eligibility on their own. However, employers should be cautious with the app as it doesn’t provide any assistance with administering PDL or CFRA leave such as requesting and securing a medical certification for PDL or providing an employee with a notice designating their baby bonding leave as CFRA leave. In addition, the app doesn’t provide any means for tracking the amount of leave taken.
In a nutshell, while the app is a quick resource for employers to learn basic eligibility information and guide them towards the next step, it should not be relied upon as a means to assist with leave administration. Employers should consult legal counsel with leave administration questions specific their circumstances.