California Legislature Adopts Release Time Measure

On September 9, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill known as AB 1181. The bill will grant release time with pay for union representatives.

Under the terms of the bill, public agencies “shall” allow a “reasonable” number of representatives time off with pay when they are engaged in any of the following activities:

(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.

Prior to AB 1181, California law only required that employers grant release time for time spent “formally meeting and conferring with representatives of the public agency on matters within the scope of representation.”

The new law requires unions to provide reasonable advance notice of their intent to use release time.