The California Senate Appropriations Committee recently decided the fate of hundreds of employment and labor bills, including Senate Bill 63 (California SB 63), the New Parent Leave Act. California lawmakers voted to expand the state's parental leave laws to cover small business employees. If the bill moves past the Senate floor and then signed into law, SB 63 would offer employees working for small businesses unpaid, baby-bonding leave.
What is California SB 63?
California SB 63 proposes the New Parent Leave Act. The bill would require that California small businesses (20 to 49 employees) offer workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected family leave to bond with a new baby or child. SB 63 would allow more California workers who currently pay into paid family leave programs the ability to take leave themselves.
If passed, SB 63 would offer employees certain family leave benefits as long as they meet the following criteria:
- The employee has worked for the employer for at least 12 months.
- The employee has at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period.
- The employee works at a worksite that employs at least 20 employees within a 75-mile radius.
SB 63 is much like the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) which offers the same parental leave protections to new parents who work for an employer with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.
Further, California SB 63 states that an employer must adhere to the following guidelines:
- The employer would be prohibited from refusing an eligible employee protected family leave.
- The employer would be prohibited from refusing to maintain and pay for coverage under an eligible employee's group health plan if the employee takes leave.
- The bill would also authorize, but not require, an employer to grant simultaneous leave to two employees for the same birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
- The employer would be prohibited from refusing to hire, discharge, fine, suspend, expel, or discriminate against an employee for exercising the right to parental leave provided by the bill, or giving information or testimony as to his or her own parental leave, or another individual's parental leave, in an inquiry or proceeding.
- The employer would be prohibited from interfering with, restraining, or denying the exercise of, or the attempt of exercising any right provided under SB 63.
Millions of California Employees Could Benefit from SB 63
According to KQED, the author of the bill, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) has claimed that 2.7 million more California workers could benefit if SB 63 is passed. Jackson went on to say that "family lives have changed dramatically in recent decades, but our policies have remained frozen in time." SB 63 has been viewed as a top priority for the Legislative Women's Caucus, as well.
California SB 63 is like its predecessor SB 654 (also authored by Jackson) which was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year. It is also unpopular with Senate Republicans who support parental leave, but not for smaller businesses.
California SB 63 New Parent Leave Act: Additional Information
- California Senate Votes to Expand Parental Leave Law via KQED
- California Lawmakers Want to Give Parents at Smaller Companies 12 Weeks of Protected Family Leave via Los Angeles Times
- California SB 63 - Unlawful Employment Practice: Parental Leave (Full Bill Text)
If you feel that your California employer is violating your rights as they relate to California's parental leave laws, our expert Los Angeles employment lawyers are here to fight for your rights.Contact us today for a free consultation.