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Labor Week: Paid Leave, Wage, Farm Labor Unionization & More

October 03, 2022

CA Gov Signs Paid Leave, Wage, Farm Labor Unionization Measures

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed measures last week that give Golden State workers greater access to paid and disability leave benefits.

Newsom signed SB 951, which extends increased wage replacement rates for state disability insurance and paid family leave that were set to sunset at the end of the year. The law will phase in the benefits over the next three years, with workers earning less than the state’s average wage eventually receiving up to 90 percent of their regular wages while taking leave.

The governor also signed measures that allow workers to take paid sick or family leave to care for any person the employee chooses, including non-family members (AB 1041); allow workers to take job-protected bereavement leave (AB 1949); and make it illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who refuse to attend or remain at work during an emergency (SB 1044).

Newsom also signed AB 2183, a measure that allows farm workers to vote by mail in determining whether to unionize. The bill had drawn strong support from labor leaders to President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The California Chamber of Commerce and Western States Growers Association fiercely opposed it, as did the California Farm Bureau.

The governor had vetoed similar legislation last year, and hinted he might do so again this time around as well. But he relented after he and labor leaders agreed to legislation to come next year that will do away with mail-in elections altogether within five years in favor of the more standard card check system. (CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR’S OFFICE, LOS ANGELES TIMES)

--Compiled by Rich Ehisen

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