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AB-1844 Paid sick leave: behavioral health conditions.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 05/11/2020 09:00 PM
AB1844:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 11, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1844


Introduced by Assembly Members Chu and Gonzalez

January 06, 2020


An act to amend Section 246.5 of the Labor Code, relating to employment.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1844, as amended, Chu. Paid sick leave: behavioral health conditions.
Existing law requires employers to provide their employees paid sick leave that is accrued at a specified rate. Existing law authorizes an employee to request a paid sick day for prescribed purposes, including diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee’s family member.
This bill would expand the prescribed purposes to also include diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing behavioral health condition of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee’s family member. specify that “existing health condition” includes an “existing behavioral health condition,” as defined, for purposes of these provisions.
The bill would provide legislative findings in support of these provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness each year and one in 25 adults experience serious mental illness each year.
(b) Nine million two hundred thousand adults in the United States or 19.3 percent of adults experienced a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness in 2018.
(c) Forty-one percent of Veterans Health Administration patients have a diagnosed mental illness or substance use disorder.
(d) Depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy one trillion dollars in lost productivity each year and depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
(e) The rate of unemployment is higher among adults in the United States who have mental illness compared to those who do not.
(f) According to the American Psychiatric Association, mental health involves effective functioning in daily activities resulting in productive activities, healthy relationships, and ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity.
(g) According to the American Psychiatric Association, mental illness refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders—health conditions involving significant changes in thinking, emotion or behavior, and distress or problems functioning in social, work, or family activities.
(h) Mental illness is a medical condition, just like heart disease or diabetes, and mental health conditions are treatable.
(i) Only 43.3 percent of United States adults with mental illness received treatment in 2018, and the average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years.
(j) The stigma associated with mental health is a common deterrent for seeking treatment.
(k) Encouraging discussions around behavioral health can break down stigma, encourage people to seek treatment, and take care of their behavioral health.

SEC. 2.

 Section 246.5 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

246.5.
 (a) Upon the oral or written request of an employee, an employer shall provide paid sick days for the following purposes:
(1) Diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health or behavioral health condition of, condition, which includes a behavioral health condition of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee’s family member.
(2) For an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the purposes described in subdivision (c) of Section 230 and subdivision (a) of Section 230.1.
(b) An employer shall not require as a condition of using paid sick days that the employee search for or find a replacement worker to cover the days during which the employee uses paid sick days.
(c) (1) An employer shall not deny an employee the right to use accrued sick days, discharge, threaten to discharge, demote, suspend, or in any manner discriminate against an employee for using accrued sick days, attempting to exercise the right to use accrued sick days, filing a complaint with the department or alleging a violation of this article, cooperating in an investigation or prosecution of an alleged violation of this article, or opposing any policy or practice or act that is prohibited by this article.
(2) There shall be a rebuttable presumption of unlawful retaliation if an employer denies an employee the right to use accrued sick days, discharges, threatens to discharge, demotes, suspends, or in any manner discriminates against an employee within 30 days of any of the following:
(A) The filing of a complaint by the employee with the Labor Commissioner or alleging a violation of this article.
(B) The cooperation of an employee with an investigation or prosecution of an alleged violation of this article.
(C) Opposition by the employee to a policy, practice, or act that is prohibited by this article.
(d) For purposes of this section, “behavioral health” encompasses both mental and emotional well-being and substance use.