A Victory for Millions of Working Parents
Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed my Senate Bill 63, the New Parent Leave Act, which will provide 12 weeks of job-protected maternity and paternity leave for up to 2.7 million more California parents who work for smaller companies with 20 to 49 employees. Under current law, only those who work for an employer of 50 or more are eligible for job-protected leave.
When it takes effect in January, more Californians who are paying into the Paid Family Leave Program will be able to use their benefits and have time to bond with their newborn without the fear of losing their jobs.
News outlets around the state took notice of this important bill, including KEYT, the Orange County Register, KQED and the Sacramento Bee. At a historic bill signing ceremony, Governor Brown said this bill, along with seven of the eight California Legislative Women's Caucus priority bills, reflect the values of a 21st century California.
"California is not just about Silicon Valley, agriculture and Hollywood," said Gov. Brown in Sacramento. "It is about families and kids. California is showing the way on kids, families, women and husbands as well."
Here are a few things about the bill that I want to bring to your attention.
More Californians will be able to bond with their child without fear of losing their jobs. There are more women than ever in the workforce, and more parents are struggling to balance work and family responsibilities. Our policies need to catch up to the realities of our changing economy and must match the daily lives of working families. This bill allows parents working for smaller employers to take 12 weeks with their newborn without the fear of losing their jobs.
More Californians will be able to take advantage of the state's landmark Paid Family Leave Program. Most Californians pay into the state's landmark Paid Family Leave Program, the first in the nation when it was enacted in 2002. This program provides six weeks of partial wage replacement for caregiving responsibilities, including for the care of a newborn. But too many employees have not had a guarantee that their job will be there when they return from maternity and paternity leave. This bill will extend job-protection to millions more new parents. To learn more about the Paid Family Leave Program, go here.
The science is clear. Research shows that the first 12 weeks of life are critical to a child's early brain development, and that parental leave is associated with improved maternal and child health, a longer duration of breastfeeding, and improved mental health in new mothers. When this bill was introduced, dozens of early education groups, work, family and health organizations, labor and other advocacy groups who understood the value of family leave for promoting the health and well-being of parents, workers, children and families supported the bill.
I hope you'll join me in celebrating this important step forward for California and its working families. As always, feel free to contact me by email, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson
State Senator, 19th Senate District
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