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Assembly Clears Bill to Protect Jobs of New Parents in California

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On Tuesday, a revised legislation was passed in the Assembly, which allowed the new parents in California to take an unpaid leave from their job. There would also not be any risk of losing the job during this leave.

Revival of the bill after Roger Hernandez’s removal

The vote of 43:15 for Senate Bill 654 was an important step towards the revival of a measure which was dead before. Assembly Labor Committee had an almost similar bill back in June. This voting was done after Santa Barbara’s Senator Hannah Bet Jackson had publicly demanded the chairman of the committee, Roger Hernandez, to take a leave when he was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife. Some thought that the failure of earlier bill was an act of retaliation by Hernandez. However, he denied that he had the power of blocking the bill.

Assembly Clears Bill to Protect Jobs of New Parents in California

Assembly Clears Bill to Protect Jobs of New Parents in California

After the claims of Hernandez’s ex-wife were found credible by a judge, he lost the committee assignment and the California family leave bill was revived. This new measure was prioritized by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. It is now just a Senate vote away from Governor of California, Jerry Brown. Hernandez voted in favor of the bill when it came to Assembly on Tuesday.

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Believed to help new parents

Toni Atkins, assemblywoman, San Diego said, “It is an important thing that we have to do for supporting our families”. Furthermore, she added “most of the new California parents are struggling to choose between the financial security of their family and their newborn’s well-being.”

This bill expands the current family to even workplaces with less than fifty employees. It allows parents of a newly adopted or born child to take an unpaid leave of up to 6 weeks, with no worry of losing their job during this period. The bill is not applicable if the employer has less than twenty employees. This expansion should affect nearly 2.7 million workers, which is 16% of the employees.

Parents can even seek money through the paid family leave program of California, which was previously passed by Brown.

Some even opposed

The bill was opposed by business interests such as National Federation of Independent Business and California Chamber of Commerce. They stated that this would be an unnecessary burden on the employers. Assemblyman Don Wagner gave a warning that it would result in lawsuits and stated that passing the bill would lead to broader allowances.

“What was once unpaid becomes paid all of a sudden and that is the direction we are inevitably heading towards. It is being seen that businesses are leaving California,” stated Wagner. “For more than 200 years in California, we have managed to raise our children and do what’s necessary to remain productive at the same time,” he added.

Tom Scott, Director of National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), stated that the bill targets the small businesses directly when numerous family friendly absence leaves are already mandated. He also said that this makes it hard for small businesses that have limited number of employers.

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