California Considers 12 Week Leave for Small Business Employees

California is currently considering a bill that would require some small businesses to offer 12 weeks of maternity and paternity leave for employees.

Up for Consideration: New Parental Leave Law in California

The New Parent Leave Act would apply to small businesses that have 20 employees or more. If passed into law, it would require those employers to provide 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for new parents. Currently, this requirement only applies to businesses with 50 employees or more.

The bill has already passed in the Senate and is currently waiting for the Governor’s signature. Governor Jerry Brown has until October 15 to sign or veto the bill. Brown had vetoed a similar bill in the past, but has since worked with lawmakers to make changes to limit potential harm to small businesses.

Of course, most small businesses would love to provide employees with this type of leave. But for some businesses with small teams, losing essential employees for that much time can make things challenging. Since the bill doesn’t require businesses to provide paid leave, it’s not an issue of actual dollars. But if you’re down an employee for that long, it can still make an impact on what your business is able to accomplish. And hiring temporary employees isn’t always a viable option if it’s a specialized position.

Additionally, this bill is essentially an extension of existing requirements being extended to even smaller businesses. So if that trend continues, it could potentially have even more of an impact if the law is ever extended to include businesses with even fewer than 20 employees.

Experts have argued both the pros and cons of this proposed bill. And of course, there are major potential benefits for families and workers. But small businesses might be forced to make some major adjustments to stay afloat.

Gov. Jerry Brown, California Photo via Shutterstock


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