Nicole Rice

New mandatory leave policy advances

By Nicole Rice, Policy Director, Government Relations

Capitol Update, June 26, 2017

The Assembly Labor and Employment Committee passed a new statutory burden on small businesses. SB 63 (Hannah-Beth Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) will require small manufacturers with a minimum of 20 employees within a 75-mile radius to allow an employee with specified tenure to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. The employer would also be required to maintain healthcare coverage during the leave period.

Small manufacturers are supportive of families and provide opportunities for female employees to succeed both in the workplace and at home. But, when the state imposes restrictive mandates, they take away the flexibility needed to work around the demanding production schedules that are inherent in the manufacturing process and expose them to liability risks that hinder smaller companies’ competitiveness in a global marketplace.

The 75-mile radius provision in the bill is at best a distraction to the capacity issues of small manufacturers who are part of an industry challenged with finding skilled workers to fill their available positions. Even though the company may have 20 employees within the region, it is the worksite of the employee who takes the leave that will feel the impact of the absence. Exposing employers with a limited number of employees at a worksite, and a limited pool of qualified candidates to backfill with, to this extensive mandatory leave will create a significant hardship.

SB 63 moves now to the Assembly Judiciary Committee where its approval is likely. The full Senate already approved the measure last month on a 25-13 vote.

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