On October 1, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 375, which requires school districts to provide differential pay to certificated employees who take maternity or paternity leave. Differential pay is the difference between an absent employee’s salary and the amount paid to a substitute who is employed to fill that absence, or if a substitute is not employed, the amount that would have been paid if a substitute had been employed. AB 375, which adds section 44977.5 to the Education Code, provides that a certificated employee who has exhausted all available sick leave and who continues to be absent on account of maternity or paternity leave must be paid differential pay for up to 12 school weeks.
Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), both public and private employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave. While a certificated employee may use accrued sick leave during this time, once the sick leave is exhausted, the employee would, under current law, be unpaid for the remainder of the CFRA leave. Section 44977.5 would instead provide differential pay through the 12-week leave period. The 12-week differential pay period provided under section 44977.5 is reduced, however, by any period of sick leave (including accumulated sick leave) taken during maternity or paternity leave pursuant to CFRA.
Districts should review collective bargaining agreements to ensure compliance with this new legislation. All agreements entered into on or after January 1, 2016 must comply with the new law. If section 44977.5 conflicts with a collective bargaining agreement entered into before January 1, 2016, the new requirements will not apply until the expiration or renewal of the agreement.
If you have any questions, please contact a DWK attorney.