In an effort to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 the California Legislature has been busy passing bills that provide further job protection and rights for employees.
SB 1383 passed the Assembly on September 1, 2020, and awaits the Governor’s signature. SB 1383 amends the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), to expand its coverage to millions of California workers. Currently, the CFRA applies only to employers with 50 or more employees, and provides 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to bond with a new child of the employee or to care for themselves or a child, parent, or spouse.
However, if the Governor signs SB 1383, beginning January 1, 2021, the CFRA would apply to all employers with 5 or more employees. In addition, the bill expands the definition of a family member to include not only a child, parent, or spouse, but also, a grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or domestic partner.
Under SB 1383, small businesses are required to return employees who take qualified leave for up to 12 weeks, to the same or a substantially comparable position to the position the employee had prior to going out on leave. While it appears that the law gained traction in response to COVID-19, the law is not restricted to leave taken related to COVID-19 and would remain in effect well after COVID-19 is no longer an issue.
The Legislature also passed AB 1867, which in essence codifies Executive Order N-51-20. The Executive Order and Bill were designed to fill the gap left by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act which passed in in March of 2020, and provided supplemental paid leave for employees of employers with less than 500 employees.
If signed, the bill would require food-sector companies, healthcare providers, and emergency responders with more than 500 employees to provide up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave for full-time workers who are unable to work due to concerns of exposure to or contracting COVID-19. The bill is broad sweeping as it applies to employees, as well as any “worker” who is hired by a food-sector employer with over 500 employees. Potentially encompassing independent contractors, and the employees for smaller contractors hired by employers with over 500 employees.
However, AB 1867 would expire on December 31, 2020, or upon the expiration of any federal extension of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act established by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, whichever is later.
It is important to keep up with the newly enacted legislation, as failure to comply could result in costly litigation. If you have any questions about the passage of and requirements under the above discussed bills, please contact Nicholas Roxborough at (818) 992-9999, ext. 222, Drew Pomerance at ext. 212, Michael Adreani, at ext. 234, Marina Vitek, at ext. 236, or Trevor Witt, at ext. 224.
In the meantime, we hope you, your families and friends are healthy and staying safe.