Family Leave Bills Pass Through Committees, Despite Opposition
Two bills (SB 406; AB 908) aimed at expanding California's paid family leave rules advanced through legislative committees on Wednesday, despite concerns voiced by opponents, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
Details of SB 406 Hearing
The Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment on Wednesday voted 4-2 to approve SB 406, despite some opposition (Walters, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/24).
SB 406 would extend job protection for those who take paid family leave to businesses with 25 or more employees. Under current law, jobs are only protected for those who work at businesses with at least 50 employees (California Healthline, 4/23).
The California Chamber of Commerce has called the measure a "job killer." In addition, a CCC representative said the bill would create "a huge administrative burden" on employers and said the benefits already are abused by some workers.
However, labor unions, social service groups and women's rights groups largely support the bill.
Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) called the measure "a modest expansion" of the state's Family Rights Act.
Details of AB 908 Hearing
During a state Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee hearing on Wednesday, unions for the first time voiced their opposition to AB 908, according to "Capitol Alert" ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/24).
AB 908 would increase the amount of paid time off Californians can take to care for a sick family member or bond with a new child from six weeks to 10 weeks. It also would increase the amount of wages workers can collect during such leave (Gorn, California Healthline, 6/3).
California Labor Federation lobbyist Angie Wei said it would be unfair to increase benefits for individuals taking family leave without also increasing benefits for individuals who cannot work because of illness. Wei also said higher benefits could result in a tax increase for all payroll workers.
However, Assembly member Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) called Wei's concerns "exaggerations at best" and noted that the Disability Insurance Fund could offset increased family leave benefits without increasing workers' taxes.
The state Senate committee passed the bill on a 4-1 vote ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.