September 23, 2002, was the date that then-California Governor Gray Davis signed Senate Bill 1661 into law and made California the first state in the nation to provide paid family leave insurance to almost every worker in the state. California is now one of 11 states providing paid family and medical leave to most private-sector workers.

This past year, California took steps to expand private-sector leave benefits and require companies to give their employees more time off. For businesses all over the state, the new laws come at a time when companies are dealing with a tight labor market in which they are already hurting for workers and having to pay more to any people they do hire.

On September 30, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill No. 1041 (AB 1041), which expanded state family and paid sick leave by allowing employees to take protected time off to care for a “designated person.” A designated person is defined as any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.

Whereas the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) gave people the right to  care for a child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner, AB 1041 authorizes a designated person to be identified when an employee requests leave. A person is limited to caring for only one designated person per 12-month period.

Workers who have at least one month of experience on the job get as much as five days of unpaid bereavement leave completed within three months of the death of a family member under the new law. In October, Governor Newsom announced that California’s COVID-19 State of Emergency or supplemental pandemic-related paid sick leave will end on February 28, 2023.

The same day Newsom signed AB 1041, he also signed Senate Bill No. 951 (SB 951), which sought to make Paid Family Leave (PFL) and State Disability Insurance (SDI) more accessible to California’s families. SB 951 increased the share of workers’ wages paid by the State Disability Insurance/Paid Family Leave program from 60 to 90 percent for people in lower-wage jobs, effective January 1, 2025. 

This program would not add any additional financial burdens on employers because it is paid for through the elimination of an income tax cap on high wage earners. Newsom vetoed a similar measure in 2021 when it failed to include a tax shift that meant employees would bear the additional costs.

Contact Our Mountain View Startup & Small Business Attorney

Are you running a business in California but have concerns about how new laws could impact your ability to operate your company? You will want to be sure you speak with Kalia Law P.C. as soon as possible so you can get measured and reasonable advice about how you should proceed with every single issue you could be facing.

Our firm understands the many ways in which state laws can adversely affect employers, and we work hard to help businesses achieve the most favorable outcome to their particular situations. Call (650) 701-7617 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with our Mountain View startup & small business attorney.

- Claire Kalia


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