BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:  August 19, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          SB 406  
          (Jackson) - As Amended June 1, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:  No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill expands unpaid family and medical leave provided under  
          the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).  Specifically, this  
          bill:









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          1)Provides that the CFRA law applies to any person who directly  
            employs 25 or more employees. (Existing law applies to  
            employers with 50 or more employees).


          2)Amends the definition of "child" to include the son or  
            daughter of a domestic partner and deletes provisions  
            regarding the age and dependent status of a child.


          3)Expands permissible leave to include leave to care for a  
            sibling, grandparent, grandchild, parent-in-law, or domestic  
            partner with a serious health condition.


          4)Removes an exception when both parents are employed by the  
            same employer, thereby requiring the employer to grant each  
            employee up to 12 weeks of leave individually rather than  
            between both parents, as currently provided in existing law.


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          1)General Fund administrative costs to the Department of Fair  
            Employment and Housing (DFEH) of approximately $700,000, for  
            seven additional positions to process an estimated 500 to 700  
            additional CFRA complaints. 



          2)The impact to other state agencies is expected to be minimal  
            since the state generally provides this benefit already. The  
            Department of Developmental Services (DDS) notes the bill  
            could have an impact on providers who would likely ask for  
            unanticipated rate adjustments as a result of the bill. DDS  
            indicates they would likely grant the request, assuming the  
            providers can document the bill's impact to their costs. These  








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            costs are difficult to predict however, as it is no known how  
            many providers would take advantage of the expanded leave.
          COMMENTS:


          1)Background. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the  
            federal law that provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to  
            covered employees.  The FMLA covers all public-sector workers  
            and private sector workers who work for employers with 50 or  
            more employees on the payroll or within 75 miles of the  
            worksite.  In addition, employees must work for at least 12  
            months and worked 1,250 hours or more for the same employer in  
            the year preceding the leave.  CFRA is the state law version  
            of the federal FMLA, and is enforced by the DFEH.  





            Under current law, CFRA allows an employee who has worked at  
            least 1,250 hours to take up to 12 weeks of leave in a  
            12-month period for their own serious medical condition, for  
            the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for the serious  
            medical condition of a child (under 18 years of age or adult  
            dependent), spouse or parent. The current definition of a  
            "parent" includes step-parents, as well as those individuals  
            who stand in place of a parent to the child.





          2)Purpose. According to the author, over 40 percent of the  
            workforce is not eligible for CFRA and the restrictions on  
            family caregiving under CFRA fail to account for the diversity  
            of California households and the importance of caregiving by  
            extended family members. 
            The current definition of family under CFRA includes minor or  
            adult dependent children, parents, spouses, and registered  








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            domestic partners.  Recently, the definition of family members  
            for Paid Family Leave (PFL), a program that allows workers to  
            receive partial wage replacement benefits while taking care of  
            seriously ill family members, was expanded to include  
            siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and parents-in-law.   
            This bill seeks to include these family members under CFRA,  
            allowing employees to take job-protected leave when utilizing  
            their PFL benefits.  





            Supporters contend a worker should not have to choose between  
            caring for their family and keeping his or her job. Yet that  
            is the choice many must face without job protected family  
            leave. According to a 2011 study, among those who were aware  
            of PFL and needed leave but did not apply for benefits, 37  
            percent said they did not apply because they feared they would  
            be fired or face other negative consequences at work. An  
            expansion of CFRA ensures that more employees will be able to  
            use their PFL benefits without fear of losing their job.





          3)DFEH impact. Increased protections under this bill could lead  
            to discrimination and increased workload to DFEH to process  
            complaints.  



            According to 2014 data from the California Employment  
            Development Department, there are just over 9.4 million  
            employees working at businesses covered by CFRA. DFEH  
            estimates this bill will expand CFRA to approximately  
            1,763,000 employees not covered under current law.  









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            In 2014, the DFEH received 3,913 CFRA complaints, of which,  
            2,000 were taken in for investigation.  Assuming similar  
            complaint patterns, DFEH estimates the new law could generate  
            approximately 380 additional complaints. 


            


            The bill also extends coverage to children of domestic  
            partners and expands the law to allow employees to leave work  
            for care of a grandparent, grandchild, sibling or domestic  
            partner who has a serious health condition.  These expanded  
            categories could lead to an additional 130 to 330 complaints  
            annually. 





          4)Opposition. A coalition of employers, including the California  
            Chamber of Commerce, are concerned this bill will place an  
            undue burden on businesses who will have to train and hire  
            temporary employees to cover workload, pay an existing  
            employee a higher wage to take on more work, or suffer  
            decreased productivity until the existing employee returns  
            from leave.  



            Opponents also argue that California already has extensive  
            family-related protected leaves of absence including the  
            following:  Paid Sick Leave (applicable to all employers and  
            includes employee and family members); Kin Care (applicable to  
            all employers and allows employees to use half of paid time  








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            off for family members' illnesses); California Family Rights  
            Act (applicable to employees with 50 or more employees and  
            provides 12-week leave of absence for employee's medical  
            condition, family members medical condition, or to bond with  
            new child); Pregnancy Disability Leave (applicable to  
            employers with 5 or more employees and provides 4 months of  
            protected leave that is in addition to CFRA's 12 weeks);  
            School Activities Leave (applicable to employers with 25 or  
            more employees for 40 hours per year to attend school related  
            activities of a child).  They contend that imposing another 12  
            week leave of absence on employers with only 25 employees is  
            too much for many of these small employers to manage. 





          5)Prior legislation. SB 770 (Jackson), Chapter 350, Statutes of  
            2013 expanded the definition of family to include in-laws,  
            siblings and grandparents.






            Analysis Prepared by:Misty Feusahrens / APPR. / (916) 319-2081




















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