California Legislature's Season of Autumn Leaves

It's Fall, and the California Legislature's thoughts turn to.... leaves. Not the pretty yellow, orange and rust-colored leaves one finds during fall foliage drives along idyllic country roads, as the cold weather paints a rosy hue on the cheeks of children :::cue the banjo:::
Sorry. A little too much cider.

Anyway, the Vermont legislature thinks of foliage. The California Legislature's thoughts turn to new leaves of absence. The first one signed by Governor Schwarzenegger this year is AB 392. This law is an "urgency" statute, which means it takes effect immediately because of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who will be taking leave.

Under the new law, employers must grant up to 10 days of job-protected, unpaid leave to employees seeking time off when a "spouse" (which under AB 205 includes registered domestic partner) obtains a qualified leave from military conflict. Here is a summary of the provisions:

- The law applies to employers with 25 or more employees;
- The employee seeking leave must inform the employer within 2 days of receiving notice that the soldier will be on leave
- Leave is available only to employees working 20 or more hours per week.
- Qualified leave is limited to employees with spouses who have been deployed to military conflict as defined in the statute. The statute is unclear as to whether guardsmen/women and reservists have to be deployed to the area of conflict like members of the armed services.

This law will be codified at Section 395.10 of the Military and Veterans Code, rather than in the Labor Code where several other leaves appear.