More than 700 bills have been sent to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for approval as of the adjournment of the 2017 California Legislature on September 15. A handful of those were signed, including two that will affect employers starting in 2018. The first, Senate Bill (SB) 63, mandates 12 weeks of baby bonding time for employees. The second, Assembly Bill (AB) 168, bans employers from asking about a prospective employee’s salary history. This blog will detail SB 63, and Wednesday’s blog will look at AB 168.
Currently, under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employers with 50 or more employees must provide up to 12 weeks of leave for employees within one year of a child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement if that employee has been with the employer for more than 12 consecutive months, has worked at least 1,250 hours in the prior 12 months and works at a worksite where there are at least 20 employees within 75 miles.
SB 63 makes it so that employers with 20 to 49 employees are also subject to this requirement.
To assist employees in disputes filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the new law also requires DFEH to create a parental leave mediation program. This program would prevent employees from suing their employers until they have finished mediation regarding their claim.
Opponents of the bill deemed it a “job killer,” and a similar bill written by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (who authored SB 63) was vetoed last year. That bill would have required businesses with at least 20 workers to provide six weeks of unpaid leave.