BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                 Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations
                               Mark DeSaulnier, Chair

          Date of Hearing: June 24, 2009               2009-2010 Regular  
          Session                              
          Consultant: Alma Perez                       Fiscal:Yes 
                                                       Urgency: No
          
                                   Bill No: AB 381
                                   Author: Block 
                               Version: June 1, 2009 
          

                                       SUBJECT
          
               Unemployment compensation disability benefits: academic  
                                     employees.


                                      KEY ISSUE

          Should the Legislature allow a community college district to  
          choose to allow certain of their employees to be covered by the  
          state disability insurance program (SDI), eliminating the  
          existing requirement that all must be covered if some are? 

          
                                       PURPOSE
          
          To allow specified employees of a community college district the  
          opportunity to elect coverage under SDI independently of other  
          employees of the community college district. 


                                      ANALYSIS
          
           Existing law  requires private sector employers to provide State  
          Disability Insurance (SDI) coverage for their employees, while  
          public agencies (the state, cities, counties, school districts,  
          community college districts, and other local districts) are not  
          required to provide SDI coverage for employees. California's SDI  
          program is a partial wage-replacement insurance plan for  
          California workers that provides affordable, short-term benefits  
          to eligible workers for up to 52 weeks in the event that a  
          person suffers a non-occupational injury or illness that  
          prevents that person from working.  SDI benefits range from $50  









          to $959 per week, depending upon earnings during a 12-month base  
          period.  Paid Family Leave (PFL) is part of the SDI program and  
          replaces lost income to care for a sick relative or to bond with  
          a new child.  The SDI programs are state-mandated, and funded  
          through employee payroll deductions.  The SDI program is  
          administered through the Employment Development Department.
           
          Under existing law  , public agencies that elect to provide SDI  
          coverage must do so under statutory rules that include: 
                 All of the eligible employees who are part of a labor  
               organization are parties to an election that is the result  
               of a negotiated agreement between the employer and the  
               recognized employee organization.  

                 All of the eligible employees in one or more places of  
               business who are not part of a labor organization are  
               parties to an election requested by a written petition  
               signed by a majority of the eligible employees.  

           Existing law  allows public entities, except school district and  
          community college districts, to elect to cover all of their  
          employees who are part of an appropriate unit, provided the  
          election is the result of a negotiated agreement between the  
          public agency and the recognized employee organization.  
           

          This Bill  would allow community college districts to elect to  
          provide state disability insurance (SDI) coverage for certain of  
          their employees, as specified, but would stipulate that the  
          election would not be contingent upon coverage of other  
          employees of the community college district employer.   
          Specifically, this bill would allow a community college  
          district: 

                 To elect to provide SDI coverage to all eligible  
               employees who are part of an employee organization  
               bargaining unit, as specified, but would not make the  
               election contingent upon coverage of other employees. 

                 To elect to provide coverage to its management and  
               confidential employees and to its employees who are not  
               part of an appropriate unit, but would not make the  
          Hearing Date:  June 24, 2009                             AB 381  
          Consultant: Alma Perez                                   Page 2

          Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations 
          








               election contingent upon coverage of other employees.  

                 To elect to provide disability compensation coverage to  
               specified permanent, part-time, or temporary academic  
               employees that is not contingent upon coverage of other  
               academic employees.   "Academic employee" is defined as a  
               person employed by a community college district in an  
               academic position.  


                                      COMMENTS
          
          1.  Need for this bill?

            The SDI program provides partial wage-replacement insurance  
            for California workers that provides affordable, short-term  
            benefits to eligible workers in the event that a person  
            suffers a non-occupational injury or illness that prevents  
            that person from working.  Existing law requires private  
            sector employers to provide SDI coverage for their employees,  
            while public agencies, including a community college district,  
            are not.  Community college districts employ academic faculty  
            in both temporary part-time and permanent full-time  
            capacities.    
            
            Because of difference in sick leave, paid time off and other  
            personnel policies that might apply to workers in either of  
            these classifications, each set of workers might have  
            different perspectives on the need to opt in or out of the SDI  
            program.  This legislation recognizes these differences and  
            would instead allow the different classification of employees  
            to choose whether or not to participate in the SDI program.   
            This bill would allow those employees who find value in the  
            cost to participate in the SDI program to do so, while at the  
            same time those who do not want to participate would not be  
            required to pay for a plan that they find no benefit in. 

          2.  Proponent Arguments  :
            
            According to the author, even in a good economy a short-term  
            disability can be economically disastrous for a part-time  
            worker.  The author argues that currently, California's  
          Hearing Date:  June 24, 2009                             AB 381  
          Consultant: Alma Perez                                   Page 3

          Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations 
          








            part-time community college faculty lack adequate financial  
            protection in the event of a non-work related short-term  
            disability.  Proponents argue that since public employers are  
            not required to provide SDI, part-time community college  
            faculty have only their accumulated leave, which can only be  
            used during an academic term in which they are employed, to  
            rely on in the event of an extended illness.  To make matters  
            worse, proponents argue, if a faculty member is collecting  
            unemployment insurance and becomes ill and is unable to look  
            for work, he or she will become ineligible to continue to  
            receive unemployment benefits.  However, if the part-time  
            faulty member participates in the SDI program, he or she would  
            be seamlessly transferred out of UI and into SDI.  

            Proponents of the measure argue that current law limits the  
            ability of employees within a bargaining unit to elect into  
            SDI, and when the district chooses to participate in SDI both  
            temporary and permanent full time faculty are required to  
            contribute.  Proponents argue that since SDI is completely  
            employee paid, tenured faculty may feel that they do not have  
            need for the SDI plan considering they have, on average, 10  
            sick days per year, and many have access to a sick leave  
            donation bank.  This bill would allow part-time faculty to  
            participate in SDI even if the tenured faculty of a bargaining  
            unit choose differently.  Similarly, this bill would also  
            allow the full time faculty to elect into SDI, even if the  
            part-time faculty did not want to.  

          3.  Opponent Arguments  :

            None received to date. 
                                       SUPPORT
          
          Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) -  
          Sponsor 
          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees  
          (AFSCME), AFL-CIO 
          California Federation of Teachers 
          California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO 
          
                                     OPPOSITION
          
          Hearing Date:  June 24, 2009                             AB 381  
          Consultant: Alma Perez                                   Page 4

          Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations 
          








          None received .

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          Hearing Date:  June 24, 2009                             AB 381  
          Consultant: Alma Perez                                   Page 5

          Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations