SF Chronicle: CA Family Leave Expanded to Cover More Kin

September 25, 2013

In a move that acknowledges California's changing demographics - and the modern family - Gov. Jerry Brown Tuesday signed a bill that dramatically expands the state's Paid Family Leave program, allowing workers to collect benefits for caring for seriously ill grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws.

The bill, SB770 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, is "absolutely critical" for thousands of workers, because it will "expand the definition of family to reflect the reality - and diversity - of California families," said Sharon Terman, senior staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center in San Francisco, which sponsored the bill.

Currently, workers in California can collect state disability insurance for up to six weeks if they take time off to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent or domestic partner - or to bond with a minor foster or adopted child. The new expanded law would take effect July 1, 2014.

'The terrible choice'

"Our state's Paid Family Leave program will now more accurately reflect the broader range of caregiving responsibilities that families have in our state," Jackson said. "This will put families on a stronger footing by preventing workers from having to make the terrible choice between putting food on their table and caring for a seriously ill grandparent."