If that headline intrigued you, that means you are most likely a church in California and find it increasingly challenging to keep up with all of the laws and compliance issues coming at small businesses, including churches. After a while, all of the letters and numbers run together, and questions arise like, is SB 1343 the same as AB 506? Does training for AB 506 count for SB 1343? Without someone on staff or an HR vendor to stay on top of it, a church can become out of compliance quickly. Not out of rebellion or defiance but simply because they did not know or understand the law.
What is SB 1343?
You can read the entire bill on the California Legislative Bill Information website. For those who clicked the link, I bet you were overwhelmed with all the legalese. If that’s you, here’s a quick summary of the bill. As of January 2020, the State of California requires all employers (including churches) with five or more employees to undergo sexual harassment training, more specifically, harassment prevention training. Of all the workplaces, churches should strive to set the standard to prevent toxic work environments, and that’s the essence of this bill.
SB 1343 Requirements
SB 1343 requires all employees to receive training within six months of hire. Employees in a supervisory role must receive two hours of training every two years, and employees in non-supervisory roles must receive one hour of training every two years. The training must be from an expert on the subject and be interactive. In other words, you can’t just give the employees a document to read and call it good. Fortunately, there are many excellent online training options that provide certification when the employee completes the course. If your church doesn’t have an HR staff, contact your insurance carrier, they can provide a list of vendors that can provide compliant training – even training that is specific to churches.
Should Churches Comply?
The political divisiveness we’ve experienced over the last few years has caused concern for some wondering if they should comply with SB 1343. The Bible makes a strong case that those following Jesus submit to the ruling authority (Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13-14). Yes, there is a time when, like Peter and John, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Act 4:19, Acts 5:29). But, SB 1343 does not fall into this category; it intends to make workplaces, even churches, safe and non-toxic through comprehensive and interactive training. As church leaders, this is an area where we must set the standard, not settle for the minimum. There is no excuse for an employee to feel unsafe, harassed, bullied, or experience retaliation at any workplace, especially a church. Imagine the satisfaction of hearing the church staff members say how thankful they are to work in a fun, non-toxic environment that whole-heartedly pursues its mission.
Remember, the law requires training every employee within six months of their hire date and then every two years after their initial training. Supervisors need two hours of comprehensive, interactive training from an expert, while non-supervisory employees require one hour of training. If you are part of the leadership team of a church with more than five employees in California and have not yet started the SB 1343 training, call your insurance broker today and find a qualified vendor to get the training started and become compliant now.short url: