Recent California Legislation: Additional Time-Off for Employees with Families

November 2015

On September 2, 2015, the Legislature voted to amend sections of the California Labor Code, approving Senate Bill (SB) 579: Employees-Time Off.  This legislation amends Labor Code sections 230.8 and 233, related to families and time-off for employees.

First, Labor Code section 230.8 currently prohibits employers with 25 or more employees in the same location from discriminating against employees who are parents and who take time off work to participate in activities of their child’s school or licensed child day care facility, so long as the employee gives reasonable notice to the employer.

SB 579 broadens both the definition of "parent" and the type of protected activities that fall under section 230.8.  A "parent" is now defined to include a "parent, guardian, stepparent, foster parent, or grandparent, or a person who stands in loco parentis to, a child."  Protected activities now include time off to: 1) find, enroll, or reenroll their child in a school or with a licensed child care provider; 2) participate in activities of the school or licensed child care provider of their child; or 3) address a child care provider or school emergency.

Further, a "child care provider or school emergency" is now defined to include: 1) the school or child care provider has requested that the child be picked up or has an attendance policy that prohibits the child from attending or requires the child to be picked up; 2) behavioral or discipline problems; 3) closure or unexpected availability of the school or child care provider (excluding planned holidays); and 4) a natural disaster, such as a fire, earthquake or flood.

Second, SB 579 amends Labor Code section 233, which requires employers who provide sick leave to permit their employees to use accrued sick leave to attend to the illness of a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner.  Under the new amendments, section 233 now expands employees' right to use sick leave for the purposes specified in the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (i.e., AB 1522).  These purposes include: 1) diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition, or preventative care for, an employee or employee's family member; and 2) to seek redress, protection or treatment as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

This legislation may impact your district's policies and procedures.  Please contact one of our six offices with any questions so that we may assist you in preparing to implement these new laws.

F3 NewsFlash prepared by Siobhan Cullen and Kerrie McNally.
Kerrie McNally is a Partner in the F3 Los Angeles office.
Siobhan Cullen is an Associate in the F3 Los Angeles office.

This F3 NewsFlash is a summary only and not legal advice.  We recommend that you consult with legal counsel to determine how this legal development may apply to your specific facts and circumstances.  Information on a free NewsFlash subscription can be found at www.f3law.com.

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