Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown vetoes expanded family leave

California Gov. Jerry Brown, center, arrives with Senate President pro Tempore Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, right, and Assembly speaker Toni Atkins, second from right, to sign legislation to increase the state's renewable electricity use to 50 percent and double energy efficiency in existing buildings by 2030 at a ceremony at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015.
California Gov. Jerry Brown, center, arrives with Senate President pro Tempore Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, right, and Assembly speaker Toni Atkins, second from right, to sign legislation to increase the state's renewable electricity use to 50 percent and double energy efficiency in existing buildings by 2030 at a ceremony at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. AP

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation Sunday that would have expanded California’s unpaid family leave policy to include a broader range of workers’ family members, handing a significant victory to business groups that opposed the measure.

Senate Bill 406, by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, would have let workers take up to 12 weeks off to care for sick siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, domestic partners and parents-in-law.

Current law provided that benefit only for sick children, parents or spouses.

In a veto message, Brown said he is open to legislation allowing workers to take leave for more family members but that the expansion provided in the bill “creates a disparity between California’s law and the Federal Medical Leave Act and, in certain circumstances, could require employers to provide employees up to 24 weeks of family leave in a 12 month period.”

The legislation was opposed by business groups and included on the California Chamber of Commerce’s list of “job killer” bills. The chamber argued it would increase business costs and risk of litigation, and the bill narrowly passed the Legislature.

The law would have applied to workers at companies with at least 50 employees. The bill originally sought to add business with more than 25 employees to the policy, but that provision was dropped amid criticism from Republicans and moderate Democrats in the Assembly.

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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