WSET: California legislation could make it the first state to offer parents 6 months paid leave

January 28, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (WSET) -- California lawmakers have introduced new legislation that would make it the first state to offer parents six months of paid leave.

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson introduced SB 135 to strengthen California's family leave laws and to create more equitable access to California’s family leave programs.

In the bill Sen. Jackson writes that research shows that access to leave leads to improved health outcomes for parents, infants, and families and longer maternity leave is associated with decreased maternal depression and improved infant childhood cognitive development.

Paid leave is also associated with healthier children, and increased immunizations and preventive health services for children, research shows.

"Family leave is good for families, good for children, and good for our economy. With more families than ever depending on two incomes to pay their bills, it’s time for California to finally live up to the full promise of our Paid Family Leave Program," said Senator Jackson, also the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Women, Work and Families. "The Governor’s commitment has built important momentum for California’s families, and the time is right to provide all working families who pay into this program the ability to care for their loved ones without fear of losing their income or their jobs."

The bill would strengthen California's family leave laws by:

  • Ensuring that all workers have job protection when they take paid family leave.
  • Extending the time period workers can take paid family leave to care for an ill family member and so that every newborn can be cared for by a parent or close family member for their first six months of life.
  • Expanding and harmonizing the definition of family member in our family leave laws to reflect the realities of today’s working families.
  • Increasing the wage replacement amount to ensure families can afford to take leave.

News outlets report the legislation is supported by the California Lawyers Association, but the California Small Business Chamber hasn't made a decision and is waiting for more details.