Legislative proposal calls for massive Expansion of CA Protected Leave

 A bill by Senator Jackson imposing a massive expansion to California’s job-protected leave law is swiftly moving through the legislative process with support from Governor Newsom and legislative leaders.

SB 1383 originally proposed unpaid time off for parents to care for a family member during a public state of emergency such as COVID-19.  Earlier this week, Jackson amended to mirror a policy proposal pushed by Governor Newsom earlier this year prior to the pandemic. The bill may be heard in the Senate as early as Friday.

Specifically, SB 1383 expands the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) by requiring ALL employers to provide job-protected family and medical leave of up to 12 weeks in addition to other existing leaves such as Pregnancy Disability Leave (4 months), Workers’ Comp injury, California Paid Leave, etc.  Currently, employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from CFRA.

For employers of 50 or more, the new CFRA would be in addition to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), meaning an employee could take up to 24 weeks (6 months) of protected, unpaid leave for personal medical reasons, to care for a family member, and child bonding.   Under existing law, CFRA and FMLA run concurrently, but because this bill expands the definition of family to include a domestic partner, grandparent and grandchild, an employee could potentially stack 12 weeks of CFRA on top of 12 weeks of FMLA.  While the leave is unpaid, employers would be required to maintain benefits such as health insurance while the employee is on leave.

This is a priority issue for the First Partner, and thus a priority for the Governor, so if the bill makes it to his desk it’s all but certain to be signed. That being said, CCM is working with a large coalition of agricultural organizations and the broader business sector hard to stop the bill.

Several Senators have indicated they will vote no on the bill, while others are pushing Senator Jackson to accept amendments that will lessen the blow to businesses.  Senator Caballero has offered an alternative proposal that:

  • Eliminate additional proposed family members that take CFRA out of conformity with federal Family Medical Leave and allow for stacking of different leaves
  • Expand provisions of CFRA as follows:
    • Employers with 19 employees or less – no more than 2 weeks of leave;
    • Employers with 20-49 employees – 6 weeks of leave
  • Eliminates private right of action against employers with fewer than 50 employees.

Call to Action!

Please contact your Senator today to urge them to vote no unless the amendments proposed by Senator Caballero are accepted.

Click here to find out who your Senator is or contact CCM’s Alyssa Houtby at alyssa@cacitrusmutual.com or (559) 737-8899.

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