Last Thursday, Assembly Bill 1179 was introduced to require California employers with 1,000 or more to provide “backup ” for children under 14. To be eligible for the benefit, employees who work in California would need to have been employed by the company for at least 30 days. If passed and signed into law, this mandate would go into effect on January 1, 2022 and be the first of its kind in the United States.

The motivation for this bill is that women are leaving the workforce due to the pandemic. Section 1 of the proposed legislation states:

(b) Prior to the pandemic, the average working parent missed eight days a year due to childcare issues. The increased loss of childcare during the pandemic has forced over 2 million women out of the workforce. Economic recovery through decreased unemployment rates will rely on their continued participation or reentry into the labor force.

(c) Inadequate backup childcare is one of the top reasons women drop out of the workforce.

The proposed legislation would require companies to pay for up to 60 hours of “backup childcare” by:

(1) Contracting with a licensed childcare provider and providing direct payments to the licensed provider for the childcare hours by the employee;

(2) Directly paying a qualified backup childcare provider upon receipt of an invoice detailing the number of childcare hours used by the employee; or

(3) Reimbursing an employee for up to 60 hours for backup childcare paid by the employee.

We will keep you updated as this bill progresses.