BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                              Senator Carol Liu, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:             AB 915             
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Author:    |Holden                                               |
          |-----------+-----------------------------------------------------|
          |Version:   |March 19, 2015                          Hearing      |
          |           |Date:    June 17, 2015                               |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |No               |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Consultant:|Lenin Del Castillo                                   |
          |           |                                                     |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          
            Subject:  Public education employees:  industrial accident or  
                         illness leaves of absence:  travel  
           restriction??????????????????????.                            

            SUMMARY
          
          This bill repeals the prohibition on out-of-state travel for  
          school and community college employees who are receiving  
          industrial injury leave benefits.

            BACKGROUND
          
          Existing law:

          1)Provides workers' compensation benefits, including temporary  
            disability benefits when employees are temporarily unable to  
            work, for any employee who suffers an injury or condition that  
            arises out of or in the course of employment.


          2)Provides a temporary disability benefit of 2/3 of the  
            employee's average weekly pay, subject to a current maximum  
            weekly benefit of $1066.  


          3)Requires school districts and community colleges to adopt  
            rules granting their employees industrial injury leave  
            benefits of at least 60 days at full pay, without a cap.









          AB 915 (Holden)                                         Page 2  
          of ?
          
          
          4)Provides that school employees receiving industrial leave  
            benefits cannot leave the state without the authorization of  
            the employing school district governing board or governing  
            board of the community college district, as applicable.


            ANALYSIS
          
          This bill:

          1)Repeals the provisions in current law that prohibit classified  
            and certificated K-12 school employees, absent authorization  
            from the school district governing board , from traveling  
            out-of-state during any period when the employee is receiving  
            industrial injury leave benefits.


          2)Repeals the provisions in current law that prohibit academic  
            and non-academic community college employees, absent  
            authorization from the governing board of the community  
            college district, from traveling out-of-state during any  
            period when the employee is receiving industrial injury leave  
            benefits.



          STAFF COMMENTS
          
          1)Need for the bill.  According to the author's office, existing  
            law prohibits classified and certificated employees, who are  
            on industrial accident or illness leave and receiving workers'  
            compensation, from traveling outside the state unless the  
            governing board approves the travel.  The Education Code and  
            the Labor Code each has a special workers' compensation-like  
            statutory benefit for certain employees, but only the  
            Education Code limits out-of-state travel for those employees  
            while they are receiving the benefit.  This bill is intended  
            to align the rules governing industrial accident or illness  
            leaves of absence for employees between the Education Code and  
            the Labor Code and ensure that classified and certificated  
            employees are able to travel outside of the state without  
            having to seek the governing board's approval.  The author's  
            office further argues that artificial limitations on travel  
            for injured employees who may need to travel out of state for  








          AB 915 (Holden)                                         Page 3  
          of ?
          
          
            any number of valid reasons makes little sense.


          2)Travel restrictions.  According to the Assembly Committee on  
            Insurance, the precursor Code section to the Election Code  
            Sections that contain the travel limitations date back to at  
            least the late 1950's.  The annotations do not suggest the  
            policy rationale for placing a travel restriction on an  
            employee who is legitimately disabled, nor has a rationale  
            been suggested by any stakeholder.  Speculation might suggest  
            that in an era over half a century ago, if an employee  
            traveled far away, it would be difficult to recall that  
            employee to determine whether the disabling condition might  
            have resolved.  


          3)Arguments in opposition.  While the Association of California  
            School Administrators (ACSA) acknowledges there have been  
            cases where an employee on disability leave has missed an  
            out-of-state funeral due to the lack of authorization from a  
            school board that did not meet in time, it argues that the  
            travel restriction in existing law ensures that an employee on  
            leave will be available to attend critical medical care  
            evaluations or rehabilitation appointments.  ACSA has  
            indicated its goal is to support the employee so he or she can  
            return to work as soon as he or she is able to.  Accordingly,  
            ACSA has suggested amendments authorizing the school  
            district's Superintendent, or designee who is always  
            available, to act on out-of-state travel requests.  By  
            requiring district sign-off for out of state travel, both the  
            district and employee are continuing to work together to  
            secure rehabilitation of the employee and an expectation of  
            when the employee will physically be able to return to their  
            job.  


            To the extent that eliminating the travel restrictions  
            altogether could hinder an employee's ability to recover from  
            injury and delay his or her return to work, the Committee may  
            wish to consider either ACSA's suggested alternative of  
            providing the school district's Superintendent or designee as  
            the authorizing entity rather than the school board, or  
            providing the authority for the school board to assign a  
            designee in its absence.  








          AB 915 (Holden)                                         Page 4  
          of ?
          
          





            SUPPORT
          
          California Federation of Teachers
          California Labor Federation
          California School Employees Association
          California Teachers Association

            OPPOSITION
          
           Association of California School Administrators
          Orange County Department of Education

                                      -- END --