San Francisco Chronicle: A governor who puts family at the heart of the state budget

May 13, 2019

By Lois Kazakoff May 11, 2019 Updated: May 11, 2019 11:32 a.m.

It’s difficult for working parents to spend time with their infants during the critical first six months of life. California offers three months of paid family leave — the first state to do so — but the law only applies to large companies and most Californians work for companies with five or fewer employees. Newsom’s goal is to ensure individual care for a child for the first six months. State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson is carrying legislation to extend paid family leave to companies with fewer than 20 employees, add job protection so employees aren’t fired if they take leave, and expand the definition of who can take leave so, say, a grandmother or a cousin could care for a baby. To succeed, the bill must clear the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday.

The recession wiped out 100,000 subsidized spaces for child care (both homes and child care centers), according to the Advancement Project California, and most haven’t been replaced. Lack of facilities increases the cost of day care, which can approach mortgage payments. The personal finance website WalletHub ranks California 49th for day care quality and 44th for day-care costs.