In the Public Sector: Governor Brown Signs Pro-Worker Legislation – Part I
Although Governor Brown vetoed a number of pro-worker bills recently, he also signed quite a few bills that will benefit workers. AB 2298 offers additional protections for peace officers and firefighters. Under the new law, insurers are prohibited from increasing premiums for a peace officer or firefighter’s private auto insurance policy because that peace officer or firefighter was involved in an accident in the performance of his or her official duties. In addition, if a privately-owned auto is involved in an accident while being used by a peace officer or firefighter in the commission of his/her official duties, the owner of the privately-owned auto will not be liable. In such a case, the peace officer or firefighter’s employer shall be considered the owner of the auto.
When certain public employees are required to testify in court regarding their official duties, they are compensated for their time, and travel expenses, by their public employer. However, the party demanding the testimony is required to pay a fee to the public employer. Under AB 2612 that fee was increased from $150 per day to $275 per day. This applies to firefighters, peace officers, California Highway Patrol officers, building inspectors, city police officers, and probation officers, among others.
Under current law, school districts and community college districts are required to provide a paid leave of absence to allow a classified employee to serve in an elected position with a school or community college district public employee organization. The public employee organization is then required to reimburse the school district or community college district for all compensation paid to the employee. Under AB 1203, the scope of this benefit has been expanded to include unelected classified employees when they perform activities authorized by the public employee organizations. The new law also requires the public employee organization to provide reasonable notice to the school or community college district of the requested leave of absence.
Finally, under current law, the first week of April is designated to be Labor History Week, and school districts are encouraged to design curriculum to expose students to the role the labor movement has had in shaping California and the United States. Under AB 2269, the entire month of May is now designated as Labor History MonthBy Jake White