Gonzalez Bill Expanding Paid Family Leave Benefits Heads to Governor

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – (September 10, 2021) – California’s employee-funded Paid Family Leave program has long been out of reach for most working Californians due to the program’s insufficient income replacement rate. Assembly Bill 123 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to establish historic increases in the amount of income workers receive when they use paid family leave now heads to Governor Newsom’s desk for consideration. 

“It’s unacceptable that workers who pay into our Paid Family Leave program can’t reap the benefits because the program doesn’t provide enough income to live on,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez (D-San Diego) said. “This bill is about ensuring all workers can actually take time off during the most critical moments in life to bond with their newborn and care for their loved ones.”

Under the current program, workers can earn 60 to 70 percent of their income while taking paid family leave. Right now, a minimum wage worker earning $14 dollars per hour would still only qualify to receive 60 percent of their wages – the lowest wage replacement rate for any minimum wage worker in the country. Even if they were working full-time, the current rate would only provide them about $1,344 per month, barely covering the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment.

Governor Newsom released the Master Plan on Early Learning and Care in December of 2020 which recommends increasing wage replacement rates to at least 90 percent for workers earning less than 70 percent of the state average weekly wage to expand equitable access to Paid Family Leave program. AB 123 adopts this recommendation by January 1, 2025, and effectively expands paid family leave benefits for the 18.7 million working Californians covered under this program.

For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Mike Blount: Mike.Blount@asm.ca.gov