Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
A measure deemed a “job killer” by the California Chamber of Commerce has reached the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown.
SB 63 passed the Assembly and Senate this week. It would mandate that small business owners provide a protected parental leave of absence that opens them up to costly litigation. It would also unduly burden and increase costs for small employers with as few as 20 employees by requiring 12 weeks of protected employee leave for child bonding.
Gov. Brown vetoed a similar, but narrower, proposal just last year. Let’s hope he sees the light again this year.
As pointed out by the CalChamber, the bill would overwhelm small employers, piling on protected leave in addition to the other leaves of absence already imposed by the state.
Employers with five or more employees are already required to provide up to four months of protected leave for an employee who suffers a medical disability due to pregnancy. This measure would tack on another 12 weeks, for a grand total of seven months of potential protected leave.
The measure also leaves no discretion with the employer, and would take affect at the employee’s request, regardless of the leave status of any other employees.
While this leave is not paid by the employer, the employer must still maintain medical benefits as well as pay for a temporary employee to cover those on leave, including possible overtime.
And of course, failure to comply exposes the employer to significant, costly litigation.
California is widely recognized as a family friendly state. This measure would tip the scales away from the employer, leaving him or her in an untenable possible. Again, let’s hope the governor sees it that way.