Though employers may feel like California just wrapped up its legislative session for 2020, the 2021 legislative session is already in full swing. February 19 was the last day for the proposal of new bills. However, Assembly members and Senators have until September to revise and amend proposed bills before submitting them to the Governor.

It is hard to predict which bills will make their way to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk in the Fall, however here are bills relating to leave that employers should be watching.

Assembly Bill 85 and Senate Bill 95 – COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

While Statewide supplemental paid sick leave that was passed last year for food sector and other workers expired on December 31, 2020, the legislature has bills pending to resurrect this leave.

These bills would extend the COVID-19 food sector supplemental paid sick leave for food sector workers as well as the COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for other covered workers, if those workers are unable to work or telework due to certain reasons related to COVID-19 and meet specified conditions.

Assembly Bill 95 – Bereavement Leave

This bill would require an employer with 25 or more employees to grant an employee up to 10 business days of unpaid bereavement leave upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or registered domestic partner. AB 95 also would require an employer with fewer than 25 employees to grant up to 3 business days of unpaid bereavement leave.

Assembly Bill 995 – Paid Sick Day Accrual and Use

For employers that grant paid sick leave and avoid California state sick leave accrual and carryover requirements, this bill would increase the annual grant allotment from 3 days or 24 hours to 5 days or 40 hours.

Employers that accrue paid sick leave under state law would be required to increase the accrual cap, from 6 days or 48 hours to 10 days or 80 hours. In addition, the bill would raise the employer’s authorized limitation on the employee’s use of carryover sick leave from three days or 24 hours to 5 days or 40 hours.

Assembly Bill 1041 – Expansion of the Definition of Family Member

This bill seeks to expand the definition of “family member” for purposes of leave under the California Family Rights Act and the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act (paid sick leave) to include other individuals related by blood or whose “close association with the employee is equivalent to a family relationship.”

Assembly Bill 1179 – Employer-Provided Backup Childcare

This bill would require an employer to provide an employee with up to 60 hours of paid backup childcare benefits, to be accrued and used under certain conditions. “Backup childcare” is defined as childcare provided by a qualified backup childcare provider to the employee’s child when the employee’s regular childcare provider cannot be utilized.

This bill would apply to employers with 1,000 or more employees, the state, political subdivisions of the state, and municipalities, including charter cities.

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