As I sit here in India in the morning quiet, I think about what it is that I wish from 2018. A lot of the resolutions I began and continued. I am proud of all that I accomplished, yet there is a deep hunger inside me that tells me there is so much more I can do. I want to continue being uncomfortable, continue doing things I never did before, continue my vision to be a published author, a successful law firm, and finally get to the bane of my fitness existence; the pull up.
I love the new year because it is a reminder that as with all ends, there is always a beginning, a change to do over or commit to new chapters in my life. There is so much to do, but it is not just for the sake of doing but to leave a legacy, to leave the place better than I found it.
As I left 2017, surrounded by some family, my thoughts went to my dad and aunt, and excitement at seeing my family in India very soon. It is fitting that I am in a country that gives me so much joy, feels familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, and reminds me of my history. I am reminded of my blessings, and I am full of gratitude for all that I have in my life. I leave 2017 sadder but stronger, and I begin 2018 with hope and gratitude.
Under the New Parent Leave Act (Parental Leave), employers with 20 or more employees must provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child.
Compliance with this new law is essential. You will be liable if you fail to provide an eligible employee with Parental Leave, fail to guarantee the employee the right to return to the same or comparable position at the end of Parental Leave, or take any adverse action against an employee for taking Parental Leave or for exercising his/her rights under the law.
Who’s Eligible for Parental Leave?
The New Parent Leave Act applies to:
Any person who directly employs 20 or more persons to perform services for a wage or salary; and
The state and any political or civil subdivision of the state and cities, regardless of the number of employees.
To be eligible for Parental Leave, an employee must:
Have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months;
Have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before taking leave; and
Work at a worksite that has at least 20 employees within a 75-mile radius.
Duration and Timing of Leave
Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of Parental Leave to bond with their new child. The leave must be taken within one year of the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement.
The 12 weeks of Parental Leave is in addition to the up to four months of Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) available to a pregnant parent. An employee eligible for PDL and Parental Leave can take up to four months of protected leave when disabled by pregnancy and then an additional three months of Parental Leave.
If both parents work for you and both are eligible for Parental Leave, you must allow both to take Parental Leave. However, you are not required to provide more than 12 weeks total for both employees. You may allow the employees to take the leave simultaneously, but are not required to do so.
Employer Notice Requirement
The New Parent Leave Act requires that employers provide employees with a guarantee of reinstatement before an employee begins his/her Parental Leave. If you fail to provide this guarantee of reinstatement before the employee’s leave begins, you will be treated as if you refused to allow the employee to take Parental Leave and can be held liable for a violation of the law.
Employers should ensure that all employees taking Parental Leave are provided a guarantee that the employee will be reinstated to the same or comparable position at the conclusion of the employee’s Parental Leave. The guarantee should be in put in the handbook or an additional policy that all employees are aware of.
Returning to Work After Leave
When an employee returns from Parental Leave, you must reinstate the employee to the same or comparable position. If you need to terminate an employee on Parental Leave or have concerns about reinstatement, seek legal counsel.
Yesterday, we laughed so much our stomachs hurts, and it was just family. It is times like these that continually remind how blessed I am to have the family that I do. It is not strange to me to always invite my cousins to any event we are going to, and that most of us count each other as great friends. This week, I am excited to end (most) of the month with one of my favorite cousins and his family while we prepare to end the year in India and begin 2018 there as well.
More and more, it has become clear to me that it is essential to have recharge buttons set up in life that remind me of why it matters to do what I do. It is way to wallow in self-pity, frustration, and grief. But if done right, there are moments like yesterday when all you do is laugh and feel comforted by being surrounded by people who truly love you.
This weekend, I got a chance to go to two holiday parties, a brunch with my old leadership group and then ended the night with family time with my cousins. It was a great reminder that when I open myself up to new experiences, new relationships form, and older ones get stronger. I joined BNI out of a fear of public speaking and networking and my crossfit gym because of my fear of free weights. Thanks to the Legacy Program of MITT, I got a chance to reunited with my old friends, and it energized me to do more for 2018!
The previous week I attended my writer’s critique group holiday party where it re-energized my commitment to continue writing and begin submitting my work to contests. I realize now that it takes work to be part of so many things, but they all serve me in so many ways. I got a chance to volunteer much more than previous years, and I am grateful that I have adopted the attitude of getting comfortable being uncomfortable.
I want to live a life of transformation and giving back. I want intimate time with loved ones, but most of all I want to live a life of my creation that is not filled with regret, doubt and resentment. Yes, there are rough days. Days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed, or even facing my fears. But it is on those days when I get up that I am better for it. Failure is an option, but it doesn’t have to be the default choice.
Here are some of the more significant labor laws that take effect on January 1, 2018:
Conviction History of Applicants (AB 1008)
A number of other states have already enacted what is popularly known as “ban-the-box” laws, which limit an employers’ ability to review and consider a job applicant’s prior criminal conviction history. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) has now been amended to prohibit employers with five or more workers from:
Including on any application for employment questions that seek the disclosure of an applicant’s conviction history before making a conditional offer of employment to the applicant.
To inquire into, or consider the conviction history of the applicant, including any inquiry about conviction history on any employment application, until after the employer has made a conditional offer of employment to the applicant.
To consider, distribute, or disseminate certain information while conducting a conviction history background check in connection with any application for employment
Salary Inquiry Limits – Applicant’s Prior Salary History (AB 168)
AB 168 enacts Labor Code section 432.3, which prohibits California employers from asking job applicants about their salary history, including any benefits and other compensation information from previous employment.
While California employers cannot currently use an applicant’s prior salary to justify any disparity in compensation, the inclusion of section 432.3 now keeps employers asking about salary history when interviewing, or making a job offer to applicants. If an applicant voluntarily provides their salary history, then an employer can use that information for salary consideration. Section 432.3 also requires employers to provide the pay scale of a position to an applicant, which makes California the first state to do so.
New Parent Leave Act (SB 63)
The “New Parent Leave Act,” extends CFRA rights to employees working at locations with at least 20 employees within a 75 mile radius. The California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) had already provided child bonding parental leave to employees at companies with 50 or more employees. This has now been expanded to small businesses with the recent California Senate Bill 63.
Essentially the same as the California Family Rights Act, the bill establishes that an employee must have at least 12 months of service with a covered employer. The employee must have at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12-month period in order to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. The purpose of the leave is to allow an employee time to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement.
Immigration Worker Protection Act (AB 450)
Assembly Bill 450, “the Immigration Worker Protection Act”, prohibits employers from allowing federal immigration enforcement officials to access non-public areas of a work place without a judicial warrant. Governor Brown recently signed legislation limiting the coordination between local and state law enforcement and federal immigration officials. AB 450 was drafted to mirror this effort.
The Act also prohibits an employer from voluntarily allowing an immigration enforcement agent to access, review or obtain employee records without a court order or subpoena. The Act provides the following exceptions to this prohibition:
Employment Eligibility Verification forms and other documents for which a Notice of Inspection has been provided to the employer.
Instances where federal law requires employers to provide access to records.
If employees are to be subject to an agency’s inspection the Act requires employers to provide sufficient notice that must also meet specific content requirements in order to be compliant.
Harassment Training on Gender Identity, Expression & Sexual Orientation (SB 396)
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits the harassment of an employee directly by the employer or indirectly by agents of the employer with the employer’s knowledge. Senate Bill 396 amends Sections 12950 and 12950.1 of the Government Code, and Sections 14005 and 14012 of the Unemployment Insurance Code, relating to employment.
SB 396 requires California employers with 50 or more employees to expand their mandatory sexual harassment prevention training to include the topics of “gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.” This training, which is conducted biennially for supervisory and managerial employees, must include practical examples to address such harassment. Employers must also post a DFEH-approved poster for all employees to review regarding transgender rights.
It’s so strange to think that in a few short weeks, 2017 will be in the history books. I spent some time thinking of what worked and what didn’t, and how some things happened that I never could have imagined. In some ways, it will be impossible to not think of 2017 as we lost my aunt who spread so much joy and sunshine when she came in. It is easy to wallow in grief, yet neither my father and her would stand for it.
I looked at my declarations, and I have to say I got better in some ways, but not so much in others. Which just tells me that I get to work not harder but smarter. Too often, it’s easy to give reasons why something didn’t happen, but more often than not, it came down to choices. I chose fear and avoidance when being present and calm would have served me better. I chose procrastination when action was the way to go. I chose avoidance and denial when confrontation and discussion would have moved things along. Yet while the negative stays close at hand, I am much happier in my positive efforts.
I gave of myself till it hurt. I stretched myself in ways I never imagine. I did uncomfortable things to move my vision along. I acknowledged when I did not follow through. I got better at some things, and not at others. And you know what, it’s okay. It’s okay. It gives me reason to look forward to ending 2017 on a strong note and beginning 2018 with purpose and passion!