San Francisco Chronicle: More parental leave, tax breaks for tampons and diapers backed by Newsom

May 08, 2019

By Alexei Koseff May 7, 2019 Updated: May 7, 2019 7:47 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — Californians could take an additional two weeks of paid leave to care for a new baby or sick family member and could buy diapers and menstrual products tax-free under the revised budget plan that Gov. Gavin Newsom will unveil this week.

Newsom announced the paid leave and tax exemption proposals, as well as several other funding increases intended to benefit families, at a news conference Tuesday with the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom. He said helping working parents afford the expense of raising children in California was a priority for his administration.

“Nothing more important we can do than support parents. Period. Full stop,” the governor said.

When he took office in January, Newsom committed to expanding California’s paid family leave program from six weeks of partial salary for each parent of a newborn or newly adopted child to six months per baby. Although he made it a centerpiece of his early agenda, his original budget proposal for fiscal 2019-20 did not include funding for the idea.

Under his revised plan, each parent or a close family member could take an additional two weeks of paid leave to bond with an infant beginning in July 2020, giving them four months total. The expansion would also cover leave to care for a seriously ill family member. The existing program provides workers with 60 to 70 percent of their salary during that time, paid for by a payroll tax on all workers in the state.