California Passes 12-Week Family Leave for Small Businesses

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed the New Parent Leave Act (SB 63) enabling 2.6 million small business workers to take 12 weeks of unpaid family leave without having to worry about losing their jobs. The new bill will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

The California Employment Lawyers Association, co-sponsors of the bill, said the new law will also provide small business workers with wage replacement options, such as unemployment.

“This is a great victory for working parents and children in California,” stated bill author Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara. “No one should have to choose between caring for their newborn and keeping their job.”

Senate Bill 63 makes it illegal for small businesses with 20 to 49 employees to refuse new parents at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave within one year of childbirth, adoption or foster care placement. The requirements for employees to be eligible for the job-protected leave are one year of experience and 1,250 hours on the job.

The bill provides a great resource for new parents but it was not free of controversy; business groups, employers and the California Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill and its potentially detrimental effects on small businesses.

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