New California Laws Will Affect Maternity Leave, Public Health
Some of the new state laws that take effect next year have implications for employer-sponsored health insurance and public health issues, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
New Law on Maternity Coverage
One new law that will take effect next year is SB 299, by Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), which will require employers with at least five employees to maintain group health insurance coverage for women who take maternity leave for up to four months. Under the measure, businesses will have to provide benefits at the same level as if the employee were working during the leave.
The new measure expands current law, which requires employers with at least 50 employees to provide benefits for women who take pregnancy leave for a maximum of 12 weeks.
Susan Kemp -- senior employment law counsel at the California Chamber of Commerce -- said that not all women will necessarily receive the maximum four-month coverage period because a woman's health care provider will determine how long her leave will last.
Kemp added that SB 299 will affect a significant number of employers (Pender, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/20).
New Laws on Needle-Exchange Programs
Meanwhile, two other new state laws aim to curb transmission of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.
AB 604, by Assembly member Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), gives state public health officials the authority to establish needle-exchange programs in communities that are at risk for the spread of bloodborne infections.
California currently has 37 needle-exchange programs, and the new law could increase that number.
A separate measure -- SB 41, by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) -- will allow pharmacists to sell up to 30 syringes to California adults without a prescription. Currently, pharmacists can sell up to 10 syringes (Bartolone, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 12/20).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.