Legislative and other Developments Affecting California Employers in 2012

In the first year of Governor Brown’s term, he has lost no time signing into law several bills that significantly add to the already burdensome regulations imposed on California employers. This Bulletin summarizes these and other important developments in employment law. In addition to becoming aware of these laws, California employers must also proactively prepare for many of them, in most cases before the New Year. Unless otherwise noted, all of these laws become effective on January 1, 2012.

Health Insurance Benefits for Employees on Pregnancy Disability Leave

Employers with five or more employees will now be required to maintain and pay for health insurance coverage for the entire duration of an employee’s Pregnancy Disability Leave, up to a maximum of four months in a 12-month period, at the same level and under the same conditions as if the employee had continued working during the leave period. However, if the employee normally pays a portion of the premium, the employer may require the employee to make these employee contributions during the leave. If, at the conclusion of the Pregnancy Disability Leave (or the immediately following qualifying leave pursuant to the California Family Rights Act), the employee does not return to work for a reason unrelated to the health condition that prompted the leave, the employer may recover the insurance premiums that were paid on the employee’s behalf during the leave. Employers are reminded to revise their Pregnancy Disability Leave policies to ensure they are compliant with this new law...

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