Leyva Bill Protecting Educator Service Signed Into Law

SB 294 Eliminates Unfair Service Cap That Singles Out Education Employees

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today signed Senate Bill 294, a bill by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) to create parity between educators and other public employees by removing the 12-year service credit that can be earned by an educator.

Sponsored jointly by the California Federation of Teachers, California Labor Federation and California Teachers Association, SB 294 will ensure that all elected union leaders may take a leave of absence to represent their union without losing hard-earned benefits during their time of service.  In order to represent employees and educators throughout the state, many individuals take a leave of absence to advocate for benefits and safer working conditions.  These union representatives may spend several years away from the classroom or office in order to advance improved working conditions, pay equity or family leave.

“I appreciate the Governor’s signature of SB 294, which ensures that employees who work for school districts and community colleges have the same opportunities to represent their union as every other public employee in California.  Since no other public employee unions have a cap placed on their service, it was long overdue for California to end this limit which unfairly singles out education employees,” Senator Leyva said.  “Once SB 294 takes effect, we will finally create parity between educators and other employees so that all elected union leaders are able to take a leave of absence to represent their union without having to lose benefits while serving.”

While a service cap does not apply to nearly every public employee—including peace officers, firefighters, and city and county employees—it does apply to educators.  Educators and community college employees are the only public employees that have a cap of 12 years on the maximum amount of service credit that they can earn for their pension while on leave to represent their union.

SB 294 has additionally earned the support of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Orange County Employees Association and Service Employees International Union (SEIU).