Bills Would Expand State’s Family Sick Leave Laws
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is considering several bills to expand family sick leave policies, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
SB 727 by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) would extend California's family sick leave program to include time off to care for seriously ill siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law.
Meanwhile, AB 537 by Assembly member Sandré Swanson (D-Oakland) would extend the state's 12 weeks of unpaid leave to that same expanded group.
Under current law, businesses with at least 50 workers are required to allow up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for personal illness, caring for a new child or illness of a parent, dependent child, spouse or domestic partner.
The state also gives workers up to six weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or seriously ill parent, child, spouse or domestic partner.
Opponents of the bills, led by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, argue that the measures will drive up costs for businesses.
The governor also is considering SB 836 by Kuehl, which would prohibit employment discrimination based on a worker's family status, including a role as a caregiver.
The California Chamber of Commerce contends that the measure makes familial status "a new, easy form of discrimination to allege."
All three pieces of legislation would go further than any other state's policy.
Schwarzenegger has not taken a position on the bills, according to a spokesperson (DeBare, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/5).