California Small Businesses on Pins and Needles Awaiting Outcome of Family Leave Expansion Bill

By Jason Gabhart Sep 23, 2016

September 30 is the deadline for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign into law or veto legislation that the California Legislature sent to his desk last month. One significant piece of legislation currently on the governor's desk is SB 654, a bill opposed by SHRM and the California State Council of SHRM (CalSHRM) that would add to the confusing nature of the current state and federal leave laws employers in California must navigate.

Current federal and state laws require employers with 50 or more employees to allow employees to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons, including time to bond with a new child through birth, adoption or foster care placement. SB 654 would add a new requirement that employers with 20 or more employees must allow employees to take up to six weeks of unpaid parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child's birth, adoption or foster care placement.

SHRM has submitted a veto request to Brown arguing, among other things, that SB 654 creates added complexity for small businesses in planning their staffing needs and that the legislature should consider fostering flexibility in the workplace and encourage employers to craft leave packages that work best for their employees. Read the veto letter.

Once the September 30 deadline has passed, we will be providing our readers with a more detailed legislative report with a complete summary of the actions taken by Brown on all workplace legislation. For questions on any piece of California legislation, please contact SHRM's California State Government Relations Advisor Jason Gabhart at or 916-403-3465. 


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