Home California California Expands Support for Working Families

California Expands Support for Working Families

Press Release

by ECT

SB 951 increases family and disability leave to help lower-wage workers who pay into these benefits access them when needed

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation this week to help hard-working Californians access family and disability leave benefits. SB 951 by Senator María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) will boost leave benefits for lower- and middle-income employees to cover more of their regular income while they take much-needed time off to care for loved ones.

“California families and our state as a whole are stronger when workers have the support they need to care for themselves and their loved ones,” said Governor Newsom. “California created the first Paid Family Leave program in the nation 20 years ago, and today we’re taking an important step to ensure more low-wage workers, many of them women and people of color, can access the time off they’ve earned while still providing for their family.”

SB 951 extends increased wage replacement rates for State Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave that were set to sunset at the end of the year. Under the legislation’s phased increase in benefits, by 2025, workers earning less than the state’s average wage could receive up to 90% of their regular wages while taking leave.

SB 951 builds on the Governor’s action since taking office to bolster access to workplace leave, including legislation to expand job-protected family leave to millions more Californians, extend paid family leave benefits for a newborn child from 6 to 8 weeks and expand paid sick leave in response to COVID-19.

Yesterday, Governor Newsom signed AB 1041 by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) which enables workers to take paid sick leave or family leave in order to care for any person designated by the employee, including non-family members. The Governor also signed AB 152 to extend COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave through the end of the year and AB 1949 by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell) which allows workers to take job-protected bereavement leave.

Editors notes

SB 951:see full bill

AB 1041: — see full bill

This bill would expand the class of people for whom an employee may take leave to care for to include a designated person. The bill would define “designated person” to mean any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship. The bill would authorize a designated person to be identified at the time the employee requests the leave. The bill would authorize an employer to limit an employee to one designated person per 12-month period.

This bill would expand the definition of the term “family member” to include a designated person, which, for purposes of these provisions, would mean a person identified by the employee at the time the employee requests paid sick days, subject to limitation by the employer, as prescribed.

AB 1949 — see full bill

This bill would additionally make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a request by an eligible employee to take up to 5 days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member, as defined. The bill would require that leave be completed within 3 months of the date of death. The bill would require that leave be taken pursuant to any existing bereavement leave policy of the employer. Under the bill, in the absence of an existing policy, the bereavement leave may be unpaid. However, the bill would authorize an employee to use certain other leave balances otherwise available to the employee, including accrued and available paid sick leave.

This bill would require, if an existing leave policy provides for less than 5 days of bereavement leave, a total of at least 5 days of bereavement leave for the employee, as prescribed. The bill would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to engage in specified acts of discrimination, interference, or retaliation relating to an individual’s exercise of rights under the bill. The bill would require the employer to maintain employee confidentiality relating to bereavement leave, as specified. The bill would not apply to an employee who is covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement that provides for prescribed bereavement leave and other specified working conditions.

This bill would recast those provisions to specify that the first 3 days of bereavement leave are to be paid leave, and to remove the condition that the death be out of state for the additional 2 days.

You may also like