COVID-19 has caused extreme hardship and suffering for California workers and their families. During the shutdown, more than one in four workers lost their jobs. AB 3216 provides protections to ensure workers get the opportunity to return to work and to stay at the same job when businesses are sold. Without these protections, some companies will take advantage of hard economic times to replace older, higher-paid workers and use employee turnover to break unions. Workers who have spent decades at their job, working their way up from minimum wage to higher-paid positions, now face having to start again at entry-level jobs, if they get called back at all.
AB 3216 also expands unpaid leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) for COVID-19 related issues such as workers who need time off due to underlying health conditions or because their children’s schools are closed. It covers workers uncovered by CFRA as well as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For example, workers would be eligible now for unpaid leave if they “are a member of a vulnerable population at high risk of severe illness from the disease that is the subject of the state of emergency according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” As for paid leave, it will add 3 days of paid leave during public health emergencies.