Here are the most significant legislative changes applicable to California employers:
A. FMLA (included in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act):
1. Military Caregiver Leave –Time off to care for injured or ill or active service members has been expanded to include injured or ill veterans (honorably discharged former members of the armed services) if they were discharged within the past 5 years.
2. Qualifying Exigency Leave – provides time off to care for a parent, child or spouse, including registered domestic partners (“Close Relative”) of a member of the military reserve force or National Guard called to service or on active duty has been expanded to include time off to care for a Close Relative of a member of the armed services deployed to a foreign country.
Applies to employers with 50 or more employees.
Recommended Action: Change FLMA policy in handbook to comply.
Reference: 29 USC 2601, 29 CFR 825.100
B. Civil Air Patrol Leaves –the employer must provide up to 10 days a year of leave to employees who are members of the California Wing of the Civil Air Patrol if;
- they are called away in response to an emergency, and
- have completed at least 90 days of employment.
The employee may use accrued leave benefits but cannot be made to do so.
Applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
Recommended Action: Change leave policies and handbook to include.
Reference: AB 485, Labor Code Sections 1500 – 1507)
C. Alternative Work Week
Under existing California law, an employer is required to conduct a secret vote with at least 2/3rds of the affected employees voting in favor of adopting an alternative work week (other than 8 hrs/day – 40 hrs/wk). The vote was difficult to achieve because it would have eliminated every employees’ ability to continue working the standard shift. A recently adopted amendment to the law allows for the standard shift to be included in a menu of work schedule options that is voted on, increasing the likelihood that the 2/3rd vote will be achieved. Employees may, with the employer’s consent, shift between different work schedules from week to week, providing even greater flexibility to both employees and the employer.
Reference: CA Labor Code Section 511, AB 5.