January 1st marked the end of a tough year for everyone. It also marked the beginning of a new regulatory landscape for California workers.
With several new legislative and executive actions, workers building their families and recovering from injuries and illness have better access to the care and the time they need. To fully understand the scope of these changes, here is a brief overview of the most relevant changes to California employees.
Extended family leave
Possibly the most impactful update is the expanded leave opportunity for families. The updates include:
- Employers with at least 5 workers must now offer 12 weeks of protected leave to take care of sick family members or take care of a new child in the family.
- Grandparents, siblings and in-laws now count as “family members” and are eligible for protected leave.
With these new updates, struggling families have more opportunities to care for sick family members or help take care of new additions. It is a huge win for working families in California.
Increased diversity on corporate boards
In addition to expanding leave, California is taking steps to build a more diverse corporate environment. With a new emphasis on diversity on boards of directors, the hope is that more viewpoints lead to fairer policies and workplace environments. It’s a top-down strategy to affect a global and lasting change in corporate culture in California.
In addition to the above changes, California stays dedicated to building a better future for workers. There is an expectation for future sessions to take up the cause of “worker recall,” which is a codified effort to offer laid-off workers their jobs back once the current emergency ends.
New regulations still face resistance
However, just because new changes entitle workers to greater help, that does not mean that employers will simply comply. Many will, but many will also try to circumvent those new rules. If you or a loved one believe you’ve been denied leave, you are entitled to or have had your rights as an employee violated, you do not have to accept it. You may take action.