Stronger California 2022 Wins for Workers and Families

It is critical that California continue to enact robust policies to support working families.. The Stronger California 2022 Agenda addressed the myriad of obstacles threatening women and families, and our wins represent concrete policy reform that will improve economic security for all Californians. — Jessica Ramey Stender, Policy Director & Deputy Legal Director; Co-Chair, Stronger California Advocates Network

On behalf of the entire Stronger California network, we want to extend a gigantic thank you to all our supporters during the 2022 legislative session! Last Friday was the deadline for Governor Gavin Newsom to sign our remaining Stronger California bills – and he did! Nine of our 12 bills have been signed into law! 

We have once again made impressive strides to shape policy that will prioritize families and worker rights, all in the name of gender justice. During a year of so much tumult for reproductive autonomy, seething attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, and economic insecurity due to fallout from the pandemic and subsequent inflation, these wins for all Californians will ensure equity for those most vulnerable among us. 

This is the Stronger California legislative agenda our advocates helped get signed into law:

  • Pay Transparency for Pay Equity Act (SB 1162, Senator Limón)
    This law will increase pay transparency by requiring employers to provide salary ranges on all job postings and to current employees upon request for employers of all sizes. It also requires employers to report pay data broken down by gender, race, and ethnicity for their contract workers, who are more likely to be women and people of color, and are often paid less than direct hires.
  • Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (AB 257, Assemblymember Holden)
    The FAST Recovery Act is first of its kind legislation aimed at empowering frontline workers, increasing corporate accountability and addressing the complex issues of the fast food industry. This is an innovative approach to combating poverty, improving workplace conditions, and increasing protections for some of the lowest paid essential workers in our state, the majority of whom are women.
  • Accessible Paid Family & Disability Leave for Low-Income Workers (SB 951, Senator Durazo)
    The weekly wage replacement rate for Paid Family Leave and State Disability Insurance will increase to 90% for low-income workers, and 70% for all other workers. Increasing the rates will make these systems more accessible to workers, particularly low-income workers, to ensure they can take off work to care for a new child, family member, or because of their own health condition, including pregnancy. The increase will make taking time off more affordable and accessible. 
  • Job-Protected Bereavement Leave (AB 1949, Assemblymember Low)
    Workers who work for an employer with 5 or more employees will be able to take up to 5 days of job-protected bereavement leave upon the death of a loved one, and prohibits employers from firing or otherwise discriminating against employees for requesting or taking the leave.
  • Leave for Chosen Family (AB 1041, Assemblymember Wicks)
    By expanding the definition of “family member” for purposes of family caregiving leave and paid sick leave, this bill will provide important and impactful protections for workers—particularly LGBTQ+ and low-wage immigrant workers and others living in multigenerational households who need  to take time off to care for those they love.
  • Housing Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors (SB 1017, Senator Eggman)
    This law strengthens California’s eviction protections for survivors of violent abuse by closing loopholes and increasing allowable documentation options to ensure survivors avoid eviction and homelessness.
  • Protecting Vulnerable Populations from Coerced Debt (SB 975, Senator Min)
    This law will protect survivors’ economic well-being by preventing them from needing to pay off coerced debt, and protecting their credit report and credit score from being damaged as a result of debt incurred through coercion or abuse.
  • The HOPE for Children Act (Budget Trailer Bill, Senator Skinner)
    The HOPE for Children Act will narrow the racial wealth gap and create economic mobility for children who lost their parent(s) or primary caregiver to COVID-19 and eligible foster youth by providing them with state-issued trust funds. 
  • Decriminalization of Abortion and Pregnancy Loss (AB 2223, Assemblymember Wicks)
    Protects Californians from pregnancy criminalization, ensuring that no one in the State of California will be investigated, prosecuted, or incarcerated for ending a pregnancy or experiencing pregnancy loss.

Three Stronger California priority bills did not move forward, but we’ll continue advocating for them!

  • Affordable  Child Care Family Fees Act (AB 92, Assemblymember Reyes)
    This bill would make child care more affordable by creating an equitable sliding scale for child care family fees and waiving all family fees until October 31, 2023.
  • Protections Against Family Responsibilities Discrimination (AB 2182, Assemblymember Wicks)
    Under this bill, California employers would be prohibited from discriminating against employees because of their family responsibilities, such as taking care of children or other family members, and workers would have access to reasonable accommodations to deal with unforeseen closures of schools and other care facilities.
  • Unemployment Benefits for Immigrant Workers (AB 2847, Assemblymember E. Garcia)
    This bill would create a pilot program, to be administered by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, which would provide $300 a week for up to 20 weeks to workers who are unemployed and excluded from Unemployment Insurance solely due to their immigration status.

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