New California Laws 2016

Hundreds of new California laws took effect on Jan. 1. Capital Public Radio looked at the tangible impacts of these laws on the lives of Californians.

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New California Law Boosts Worker Protections For School Leave

Ben Margot / AP

In this file photo, first grade teacher Lynda Jensen teaches her class of 30 children Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, at the Willow Glenn Elementary School in San Jose, Calif.

Ben Margot / AP

A new law that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016, offers job protection for California workers who take time off to enroll their child in school or daycare or attend a school emergency.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, authored the measure. She described SB 579 as "a modest change" to help working families.

“Many parents risk losing their jobs when they face a child care emergency or they can’t take time off necessary to engage in child care or school selection," says Jackson.

The measure protects workers who need time to select a daycare or K through 12 school for their child. It allows them to take unpaid time off.

SB 579 applies to firms with 25 or more workers at the same location.

The measure gained near unanimous support in the state Legislature.

It adds to a growing list of job protections in the Golden State, said Jessica Milli of the Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington D.C. 

“California was the first state in the nation to offer paid family leave to workers needing to take time off for a new child. It was one of the first states to pass a paid sick leave policy," Milli says. So, it’s definitely leading the nation in terms of job protections for workers going through those certain life events.” 

Supporters say the law will have a positive effect on families and boost job retention rates.