New Laws Affecting Public Sector Workers; earned paid leave for a child’s birth for community college employees and modified procedures for teacher dismissals

Governor Brown signed a group of bills into law recently, including AB 1606 and AB 215. 

AB 1606 provides that community college employees may take up to 30 days of earned paid leave time in a school year during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption.  Since community college employees are not part of the system administered by the EDD to provide benefits when people take Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave, this bill provides these employees with the ability to use 30 days of their accruals.  The law is  gender-neutral.

AB 215 will modify the procedure for public school teacher dismissals.  (Note that the existing statutory system is under challenge in the Vergara case now pending on appeal.)  Under existing law, the dismissal of a permanent certificated employee requires 30 days’ notice, which cannot be given between May 15 and September 15 of any year; and the employee has a right to a hearing before a Commission on Professional Competence.  A permanent certificated employee may not be dismissed except for certain causes set forth in the law, including immoral or unprofessional conduct.  

The new law adds “egregious misconduct” as a cause.  The new law also provides that notice may be given any time of year, provided certain requirements are met to ensure that the employee receives the notice.  Existing law allows a school district to immediately suspend an employee pending the process in some types of cases, and the bill adds that an employee placed on immediate suspension may make a motion for immediate reversal of the suspension. 

The bill also adds to the types of charges upon which an employee must be placed on a leave of absence. 

In addition, the bill changes the time limit for the hearing to start unless the proceedings are based solely on charges of egregious misconduct, from the current time limit of 60 days, to six months.  The bill provides quicker hearing procedures for dismissals based solely on charges of egregious misconduct.

We will continue to keep you updated on new laws affecting public sector employees and unions. 

By Anne Yen | August 13, 2014

Legal Developments