Tuesday, June 02, 2015

SB 406

Please find arguments below  for and against SB 406.  The Family Medical Leave Act provides 12 weeks for employers with 50 or more employees. This bill will reduce that to 25 employees. It should be noted that the author originally had 5 employees and has amended to 25. This is on the Senate Floor so I need to know as soon as possible what you think of bill. 

ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT: According to proponents, 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.

Proponents bring attention to various study findings including: a study of Alzheimer's patients which found that 40% of caregivers were not covered under the narrow definition of family in CFRA, one study that found that nearly 20% of primary caregivers for chronically disabled individuals are neither the spouse nor the child of the person receiving care, and another finding that one in twelve caregivers provides care to a parent-in-law, grandparent, or grandparent-in-law.
Proponents also note that California's PFL insurance program provides an important partial wage replacement when an employee takes time off work to care for a seriously ill family member. However, according to proponents because PFL does not provide any job protection some workers who pay into this fund never access its benefits because they would risk losing their job if they took any leave.

Proponents point to a 2011 study which found that among those who were aware of PFL and needed leave but did not apply for benefits, 38% said they did not apply because they feared they would be fired or face other negative consequences at work. Proponents argue that to make sure the state's PFL program ensures family members are cared for employees need to be able to take leave without risking their jobs. Proponents contend that SB 406 will provide the critical job protection for workers who want to take paid family leave by amending CFRA to expand the definition of family to match PFL and to lower the employer threshold so that more workers are covered.

ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION: Opponents argue that SB 406 will overwhelm small businesses by mandating businesses with 25 or more employees to provide a 12-week protected leave of absence. Opponents contend that this will put a greater burden on both small and large businesses while creating an even further disconnect from the FMLA. Opponents argue that this creates a burden for the employer especially if he or she has multiple employees already out of work on protected leaves and because the employer must hire and train a temporary employee to cover the employees' duties, pay an existing employee a higher wage or overtime to take on the duties, or suffer decreased productivity until the existing employee out on leave is ready to return to work.
Additionally, opponents argue that expanding the family members for whom an employee may take a 12-week protected leave of absence to care for to include a grandparent, a grandchild, and siblings will negatively impact California employers. Opponents argue that as these family members in SB 406 are not covered under the FMLA, this bill will potentially provide a California employer with an obligation to provide up to 24 weeks of protected leave.

Specifically,opponents argue that under SB 406 an employee could utilize his or her 12 weeks of CFRA to care for the serious medical condition of a grandparent as well as still be entitled to another 12-week protected leave of absence under FMLA for his or her own medical condition or the medical condition of his or her spouse, child or parent.

Scott Hauge
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA  94116

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