California Paid Family Leave Expansion to Take Effect on January 1, 2018
Workers Won an Increase in Wage Replacement and Expanded Job Protection for New Parents
Sacramento, California December 29, 2017: On January 1, 2018 parents, caregivers, and advocates statewide celebrate as new laws expanding access to California’s Paid Family Leave program go into effect. AB 908 (Gomez) will increase wage replacement for workers who take Paid Family Leave or State Disability Insurance from the current 55% to 60% or 70% (for low-income workers). And SB 63 (Jackson) will extend job protection to new parents who work in businesses with 20 to 49 employees and take time to bond with a new child (previously only workers in businesses with 50 or more were covered by job protection). Also, San Francisco’s Paid Parental Leave Ordinance (PPLO) will apply to businesses of 20 or more. The SF PPLO requires SF employers to provide supplemental compensation to new parents on Paid Family Leave so employees will receive up to 100% of their normal weekly wages. Jenya Cassidy, Director of the California Work & Family Coalition which championed these laws, says they will make California’s Paid Family Leave more equitable. “We’re proud to be the first state to pass Paid Family Leave, and we needed to pass these laws to make sure it works for everyone - now more workers can take Paid Family Leave without risking their jobs or their family’s financial security." U.S. Representative Gomez (CA-34): "The Paid Family Leave Program is vital to California workers and their families. I introduced AB 908 to ensure that all families - especially those living paycheck to paycheck - can afford to use it. I was proud to lead this effort with my constituents and the statewide Coalition. As a US Representative, I continue to advocate for strong, equitable Paid Family Leave laws for all Americans."
More Low-Income Families Can Benefit from Paid Family Leave
AB 908, signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016, was authored by U.S. Representative Jimmy Gomez (formerly California State Assemblymember) to alleviate financial stress for families and make it possible for more low-income workers to be there when their families need them most.
SB 63 Helps New Parents Take Leave Without Fear of Retaliation
SB 63 (Jackson), the New Parent Leave Act, was signed into law by Jerry Brown this year along with a group of Legislative Women’s Caucus priority bills. It will extend job protection to 2.7 million more California workers. Senator Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), who authored the bill and has a history of fighting for equitable Paid Family Leave, said, “With more women in the workforce, and more parents struggling to balance work and family responsibilities, our policies must catch up to the realities of our economy and the daily lives of working families. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift right now, one in which both parents often work and shoulder caregiving responsibilities. This law will help millions more families take the needed time off to bond with their newborn without fear of losing their job. It’s the right thing for families, for California, for businesses and our economy.”
Sharon Terman, Director of the Work and Family Program at Legal Aid at Work - the organization that sponsored and advocated for all three bills - said the new laws will make a huge difference for low-income parents and caregivers who call her organization’s helpline. “We hear from countless new parents who pay into the Paid Family Leave program but are told they will be fired for taking leave, or who simply cannot afford to take leave because the wage replacement is too low and they need every paycheck to make ends meet. 2018 will be a turning point for California families.”
San Francisco’s Paid Parental Leave Ordinance Applies to Smaller Businesses
San Francisco became the first jurisdiction to require fully-paid parental leave when Mayor Ed Lee signed the Paid Parental Leave Ordinance into law last year. Senator Scott Wiener (formerly on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors) said: “In 2016, I was proud to work with the California Work and Family Coalition and many other great advocates to pass San Francisco’s Paid Parental Leave ordinance, which guarantees workers full pay for six weeks to bond with their newborn children. On January 1, our ordinance will be extended to even more workers, which means more parents won’t have to choose between putting food on the table and bonding with a new child. We must continue the fight for paid parental leave.”
Momentum for Paid Family Leave has been building and leaders in child health and development see access to parental leave not as a luxury but as a necessity for all children and families. "The brain science is clear-the first months and years of each child's life sets the stage for a life of either success or struggle," says George Halvorson, former CEO of Kaiser Permanente and current Chair of First Five California. "All parents must have the ability to spend those pivotal first months caring for their baby-talking, reading, and singing-and laying a strong foundation for a successful future. Family leave is society's investment in each child, but also in our shared futures."
Paid Family Leave - California
The California Work & Family Coalition led the campaign to pass California’s Paid Family Leave—the first law of its kind in the nation—in 2002. Paid Family Leave provides up to 6 weeks of partial pay to workers who take time off to bond with a new child or to care for a seriously ill family member. U.S. Representative Gomez (CA-34): "The Paid Family Leave program is vital to California workers and their families. I introduced AB 908 to ensure that all families - especially those living paycheck to paycheck - can afford to use it. I was proud to lead this effort with my constituents and the statewide Coalition. As a US Representative, I continue to advocate for strong, equitable Paid Family Leave laws for all Americans."
The California Work & Family Coalition
The California Work & Family Coalition is a statewide alliance of community organizations unions, non-profits, and individuals dedicated to helping parents, caregivers, and families thrive. Our Mission is to organize communities to realize equitable, family-friendly workplaces and to expand the social safety net in California through policy, advocacy, and education.