Many California small business employees often don’t take paid family leave because they would risk losing their jobs. That could change under a bill that passed its first committee Wednesday at the state Capitol.
Current law only protects the jobs of people who take paid family leave at businesses with 50 or more employees. That didn’t include Sabrina Summerfield of Vallejo, who lost her job three years ago after taking a leave to care for her three adopted children.
“I feel it’s extremely unfair that even though I’ve paid into this program since I’ve been working at the age of 15, I wasn’t able to qualify for job-protected time off,” Summerfield told a state Senate committee Wednesday.
A proposal at the state Capitol would extend the job protection requirement to businesses with 25 or more employees. Jennifer Barrera with the California Chamber of Commerce says that would put too great a burden on small businesses.
“We believe SB 406 disrupts that balance by changing the employee threshold, as well as expanding upon the family members and conditions under which somebody can take this leave” such as grandparents and parents-in-law, not just parents and children, Barrera told the committee.
The bill next moves to another Senate committee.