California May Impose New Childcare Obligations for California Businesses

California Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo recently introduced a bill that would require California-based companies with more than 1,000 employees to provide up to 60-hours of subsidized backup care for children under 14.  Under the bill, employees would accrue one hour of backup childcare benefits for every 34 hours worked.  The hours would carry over annually, but employers can cap use to 60 hours per calendar year. 

 It is important to note that the purpose of this bill is not to burden employers with paying for the child’s regular childcare provider.  The bill defines “backup childcare provider” as a provider utilized when the “regular childcare provider” cannot be utilized.

 To qualify, the employee would have to have been employed for at least 30 days.  The bill would require companies to either directly arrange a system with a licensed provider or compensate qualified providers when invoices are submitted by the employee.  The bill allows employees to utilize and pay grandparents, friends, and relatives as qualified backup care.   

 If passed, the law would go into effect on January 1, 2022, and impact roughly 3.6 million workers in California.

 Carrillo justifies the plan due to the impact COVID has had on low-income families.  It is estimated that 6% of Americans—roughly 6.8 million people—claim that the main reason they are not working is due to childcare obligations.  Carrillo claims the measure would only cost employers $50 per employee per year.   

 The bill is not yet passed, which means we should not let hysteria set in just yet.  However, we will keep an eye on this bill to see if it is signed by the governor in the fall.