SB 1383 Seals the Fate of Most Small Businesses. Sad.

John Kabateck
President, Kabateck Strategies

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signing of Senate Bill 1383 came as little surprise to the state’s leading small-business association, which, along with more than 100 other business groups, warned against it.

Tragically, previous vows from the governor and lawmakers to help devastated small business owners crawl out of this virus-ravaged economic recession have proven to be a pile of empty, election-year bluster. Our Capitol leaders continue to lack any rudimentary understanding of small business economics or a hint of compassion for the job creators that are broke but now expected to subsidize another costly government mandate.

The law now allows an employee:

  • to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month period for specified family care and medical leave reasons
  • reinstatement to the same or comparable position
  • to continue group health coverage during the duration of the leave
  • the governor often state’s his record of being a small business owner and entrepreneur. We would encourage the governor to rediscover his roots when assessing future legislative priorities.

And, most devastating of all, SB 1383 hits small employers especially hard by lowering traditional thresholds for compliance to five-or-more employee firms—the heart of most small businesses.

Businesses have been shuttered, re-opened and shuttered again. Many are hanging by a thread through no fault of their own. Government-imposed closures and restrictions have severely limited the operation and viability of most small businesses. Senate Bill 1383 will force our already fragile mom-and-pop owners to lay people off and shut their doors forever.

The most insulting aspect of this law is that it is simply unnecessary — 73% of small-business owners already offer their employees paid time off and for any reason, and California is already home to more than ten employee-leave benefit programs. 

The sad truth is that this is another classic example of Sacramento policymakers choosing to place the well-being of organized labor and trial lawyers above the hard-working, small-business owners who drive our economy and jobs. Sad.

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