Lorena Gonzalez Bill to Expand Paid Family Leave Benefits Advances to the State Senate

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – (Thursday, May 27, 2021) – California’s Paid Family Leave program provides time off for parents to bond with their newborn or to care for a seriously ill family member. Unfortunately, these benefits are out of reach for a vast number of working families because the program only provides a portion of an individual’s income while they’re on leave. Today, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s Assembly Bill 123 to guarantee 90% of a worker’s income when they take paid family leave was approved by the Assembly with unanimous, bipartisan support.
 
After having a baby, moms are too often forced to return to work early, or miss out on taking time off altogether. Paid family leave benefits simply don’t provide enough income to support a family,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez (D-San Diego) said. “Parents already pay into the program and deserve to take time off during the critical moments in life, without worrying about how to make ends meet.”
 
Davis mother Vicki Ghaffarzadeh says she struggled when she took paid family leave after the birth of her second child. She says taking a pay cut after giving birth simply isn’t an option for her and most working mothers:
 
“For the past five years, I’ve been the sole breadwinner of my family. Having a newborn is stressful enough, but then having to worry about bills and being able to cover everything is overwhelming. Receiving 90% of my income would drastically reduce my stress as a mom, compared to the 60% rate.”
 
Nearly one-third of California workers who were eligible for and needed paid leave did not apply for the program due to concerns over a loss in wages. According to a report by Pew Research Center, more than a third of workers who reported using paid family leave said they have had to use savings set aside for a different purpose, take on debt, put off paying bills or cut their leave time short.
 
Gonzalez’s legislation would expand paid family leave benefits for the 18.7 million working Californians covered under this program. Because paid family leave benefits are not subject to state income taxes, the increase under AB 123 to 90% income replacement would allow most low- and middle-income families to receive their regular take-home pay while on leave.
 
For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Mike Blount: Mike.Blount@asm.ca.gov