published on July 7, 2020 - 2:34 PM
Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.

There’s a new job killer on the scene in Sacramento that would further add to the burden and liability small business owners face in the Golden State.

SB 1383 proposes a mandatory 12-week leave of absence on any employer with five employees. The leave can be taken in increments of one to two hours and also threatens small employers with litigation if they make a mistake in implementing the policy.

According to the California Chamber of Commerce, the 12 weeks of leave mandated under SB 1383 is enforced through a private right of action that includes compensatory damages, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, punitive damages and attorney’s fees. This provision would particularly hit small businesses that do not have a dedicated human resources team or in-house counsel to advise them on how to properly administer the leave.

The 12-week leave of absence on small employers would join a dozen other California-specific leave policies that surely create an HR nightmare for most small businesses.

SB 1383 would also expand the definition of “family member” to include a child of a domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or domestic partner. According to the CalChamber, this would have the effect of giving employees the ability to take California Family Rights Act and federal Family and Medical Leave Act separately, creating six months of job protected leave with larger employers.

SB 1383 passed the Senate on July 2 by a vote of 21-12. Among the “no” votes were Sens. Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) and Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger).

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