According to a recent news article from Capital Public Radio, a new law has taken effect in the state of California that is designed to protect workers who need to take off time from work to handle a school emergency with their children or to enroll the child in daycare or school.
This legislation was authorized by California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Democrat representing Santa Barbara, and she said the new law reflects a modest change to help working families make ends meet while taking care of their children and making sure they get a good education.
Prior to this law, when a worker got a call during the course of her employment that her son or daughter was sick with a fever and needed to be picked up as soon as possible, the employee may not have been able to leave work without facing discipline, including termination. On the other hand, the parent could not leave his or sick child at school, so this created a significant issue for the working parent with no real way out.
This new law, which is known as Senate Bill 579 (SB 579), will apply to any employer who employs more than 25 employees working in a single location. The bill passed with just short of full support from the California legislature. Out of over 100 votes between the two legislative bodies, there were only three elected officials that voted against the measure.
This bill will not only apply to school emergencies, but also applies when a parent must take time off to choose a daycare facility or grade school up to the 12th grade. This time is unpaid leave, but an employer must allow the employee to take the time and cannot fire the employee or discipline the employee for taking care of the needs of their child or children.
A spokesperson for a national women’s policy institute said that this California law not only adds to the protections available to workers in the state, but it further establishes California’s history of being the first to offer many of the protections to employees that some people now take for granted. For example, California was the first state in the county to allow paid family leave for those who need to take time off from work after the birth of a child. California was also among the first jurisdictions to develop the concept of paid sick leave.
While many employees like to fight these worker protections and even go so far as to say it will cause them to fire their employees and raise the prices customers pay, in reality, we are seeing that more protections means a happier workforce. This means there is less attrition and higher worker retention rates. If a worker stays at a job for a long period of time, there is less need to spend money on training, and workflow is more efficient, because there are more experienced workers.
While more benefits and worker protection are helpful, not every employer follows that law. If you feel you are being denied benefits, you should contact an Orange County employment lawyer as soon as possible to see if you have a valid claim.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
New California Law Boosts Worker Protections For School Leave, January 6, 2016, Capital Public Radio, By Chris Nichols
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