New Legislation Takes Effect

CSEA-sponsored legislation and other key laws it helped pass with the assistance of allies in the labor community last year took effect Jan. 1.

Addressing needs of classified employees

CSEA was able to pass its sponsored legislation, SB 590, to ensure that school districts and community colleges consider the needs of classified employees when allocating funds for professional development, as well as other legislation that has broader impact.

Minimum wage raised

The state’s minimum wage increased for the first time in six years, thanks to the efforts of the labor community. AB 10, which was signed into law by the governor in September, raises the minimum wage to $9 an hour this year with another minimum wage increase to $10 set for 2016. California’s minimum wage is now the highest in the country.

Expanded scope of paid family leave

Another piece of legislation regarding workers’ rights that takes effect this year relates to paid family leave. Previous law granted workers up to six weeks of family leave under the state’s temporary disability insurance program to take care of a seriously ill child, parent, domestic partner, or to bond with a minor within one year of birth or adoption. The new law expands the scope of the program to include care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling or parent in-law.

What’s next

The work isn’t done yet as CSEA continues to secure the rights and improve the working conditions of classified school employees this year. One bill carried over to this year from last year’s legislative session is SCA 2, which would lower the vote threshold for approval of local parcel taxes from two-thirds to 55 percent. This legislation is important to education because it would make it easier for school districts to pass bond measures to raise funds for upgrades and improvements among other things.