Governor signs law granting leave for child care emergencies

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed SB 579, authored by state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), which extends job protections to parents who take leave for child care emergencies or for visits to evaluate or enroll their children in school or care. 

“Parents need assurance they will not lose their job when they must miss work to attend to the well-being of their child,” said Kim Kruckel, executive director of the Child Care Law Center, which co-sponsored the bill with the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center.

SB 579 expands the circumstances under which parents may take leave under state law, not the amount of time off they are entitled to. It benefits employers by improving employee morale and retention.

“By allowing working parents to take time off for these important reasons, SB 579 strengthens support for working parents, including single parents, by helping them keep their jobs while fulfilling their parental obligations,” said Julia Parish, a staff attorney with LAS-ELC.

The bill also amends the state’s Kin Care law to more closely align with the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 by allowing parents to use their paid sick leave to take family members to preventative health appointments.

One-third of families with children are led by a single parent, and both parents work in most other families. Many employees, especially low-wage workers, previously could not take job-protected leave to attend to their children’s essential needs. That forced them to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for their children. 

Quick Escape