Governor Signs AB 1181: Union Release Time

The Governor signed AB 1181 on September 9, 2013.  AB 1181 amends the MMBA to require employers to give paid time-off to a reasonable number of employees for the following:

  1. Formally meeting and conferring with representatives of the public agency on matters within the scope of representation.
  2. Testifying or appearing as the designated representative of the employee organization in conferences, hearings, or other proceedings before the board, or an agent thereof, in matters relating to a charge filed by the employee organization against the public agency or by the public agency against the employee organization.
  3. Testifying or appearing as the designated representative of the employee organization in matters before a personnel or merit commission.

The union must provide reasonable notice to the employer of the need for time off.

Comments:

  1. The MMBA has always required employers to allow a reasonable number of employees paid time-off to attend negotiations.  That remains the same.
  2. Prior to this change, any additional policy or practice for paid-time off was itself a negotiable matter.  Thus, if a union wanted paid time-off to attend PERB hearings or personnel board matters it had to negotiate that with the employer.  Under AB 1181, employers must now allow paid time-off for testifying or participating as the designated representative at a PERB hearing or personnel/merit commission hearing.
  3. At PERB hearings and at most personnel/merit commission hearings each side is only allowed one designated representative.  So fortunately this shouldn’t open the door to too many employees seeking to go to a PERB hearing.  As for testifying, only one person can testify at a time, so again, this shouldn’t open the door to too many employees.
  4. What about fact-finding hearings?  Are they negotiations?  Are they PERB hearings?  It’s unclear.  In most cases it’s probably not worth a fight but it’s interesting to ponder.
  5. This change is effective January 1, 2014.
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