ERIC Pushes Back on California Paid Leave Expansion Proposals

As states continue to respond to the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, ERIC is pushing back on state and local paid leave proposals that would place administrative burdens on large employers and further complicate the current patchwork of state paid leave laws and programs.
ERIC is strongly urging the California Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment to oppose or amend bills SB 729 and SB 1383, both of which propose to expand aspects of current California leave policies. The Committee is scheduled to consider both bills in a hearing this afternoon, July 29. 
SB 729 proposes to extend the sunset date of supplemental paid sick leave benefits currently granted to food industry workers by California Executive Order N-51-20 beyond the end of the Governor’s current stay-at-home order. Because these benefits were designed to address the particular circumstances faced by these workers during the stay-at-home order, employers should not be required to continue providing these costly benefits after the order is lifted. Our comments also point to the redundancy that this policy creates due to the overlapping benefits already provided by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act and urge state lawmakers to include a tax credit for employers similar to that included in the federal legislation.
To read ERIC’s comment letter on SB 729 in its entirety, click here.
SB 1383 proposes to expand several standards used by the current California Family Rights Act to increase access to the unpaid family and medical leave benefits that it provides to California workers. While the bill also would consolidate several areas of state leave policy, such as the California Family Rights Act, the California Paid Family Leave Program, and the California New Parent Leave Act, its seeks to do so by expanding the current definition of family member that employees can take leave to care for. Because this expansion would stray farther from the definition established by the federal FMLA and further complicate the patchwork of state paid leave standards, ERIC is asking the Committee to amend the bill to maintain the current family member definition.
To read ERIC’s comment letter on SB 1383 in its entirety, click here.
We will update you on the outcome of this afternoon’s hearing. The California State Assembly is still considering several other paid leave proposals between now and the end of the 2020 legislative session, which is scheduled to wrap up at the end of August. ERIC will continue to work with state lawmakers and like-minded organizations in the state to push back on burdensome paid leave expansion and protect employer flexibility to design and provide paid leave benefits to their workforce.

Article by Dillon Clair, Retirement and Compensation Policy Associate