New Year Brings Notable Changes to California's Family Caregiver Laws

Created February 1, 2023

As we welcome the new year, it’s not just about setting resolutions but also adapting to new laws, particularly for family caregivers in California. The state has rolled out several significant legislative changes starting January 1, 2023, aimed at supporting and providing more rights to family caregivers.

1. Expanded Leave Benefits for Chosen Family (AB 1041)

One of the notable changes is the introduction of AB 1041, which allows caregivers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave or use paid sick leave to care for their extended or chosen family. This term now includes individuals related by blood or those whose relationship with the employee is akin to a family bond. This move marks a significant shift towards recognizing diverse family dynamics in caregiving.

2. Designation of Health Care Surrogates (AB 2338)

AB 2338 addresses situations where a care recipient is unable to make health care decisions and lacks a legally recognized decision-maker. In such cases, health care providers can now appoint a surrogate to make decisions on behalf of the patient. This surrogate should be an adult who is closely associated with the patient, understands their values and beliefs, and is willing and available to serve. This list can include a spouse, adult children, parents, siblings, grandchildren, or a close personal friend.

3. Probate Conservatorship Reforms (AB 1663)

Significantly, AB 1663 establishes supported decision-making as an alternative to probate conservatorship. This approach allows adults with intellectual, developmental disabilities, or dementia to seek guidance from trusted individuals while retaining their autonomy in decision-making. The bill also mandates that alternatives to conservatorship be considered in relevant legal proceedings and provides for the termination of conservatorship without a hearing under mutual agreement.

4. Addressing Nursing Home Grievances (AB 895)

This law ensures that nursing home residents and their families have access to necessary information about residential care facilities, including how to report complaints. This initiative aims to improve transparency and accountability in nursing home care.

5. Long Term Care Insurance Premiums (AB 2604)


6. Bereavement Leave Rights (AB 1949)

A compassionate addition to the labor laws, AB 1949 mandates that companies with five or more employees must provide five days of bereavement leave, with at least three days paid. This law acknowledges the emotional and psychological needs of employees during times of loss.

These legislative changes represent a progressive step towards recognizing the diverse needs of family caregivers in California. They not only provide practical support but also underscore the state’s commitment to respecting the varied personal relationships and challenges faced by caregivers.

For further details on these laws, you can visit the official website of the Governor of California here.

As we move forward into 2023, these laws are set to bring about significant improvements in the lives of many Californians, ensuring that their caregiving responsibilities are acknowledged and supported by the state’s legal framework.