The bills drafted by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, and Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, were designed to protect California workers who care for children and other family members.
Under Bill AB1999, family caregivers are added to the list of workers protected under the Fair Employment Housing Act while under Bill AB2039, the list of family members for whom workers can take unpaid leave when they need to provide care had expanded
Both bills were approved by the Senate but before that, it gained split reactions from lawmakers.
Several lawmakers who opposed the bills claimed that it was yet another limitation to the struggling business industry in the state, another democratic “job killer” that would make it more difficult for California businesses to compete with businesses in other states. Some also said that the bills will only make companies more hesitant in hiring California workers. Additionally, there are already plenty of California employment laws protecting employees, therefore, the bills would just encourage costly and nonsense lawsuits, according to one of the opposing lawmakers.
Meanwhile, as for the advocates’ point of view, the bills would ensure that workers would not suffer from employment discrimination whereby a worker without children is promoted instead of the one with kids. Also, advocates pointed out that some 1 million veterans are now coming home, many of whom definitely needs care from a family after being injured in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Advocates noted that the bills were about family values.
Nevertheless, despite the split reactions from the lawmakers, the bills passed the Assembly Democrats approval, having a close fight between the advocates and the opposition.
At present, the bills are pending approval of the state Senate and Gov. Jerry Brown before they could be added on the list of California employment laws.