Gonzalez Bill to Expand Paid Family Leave Passes First Committee

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

SACRAMENTO – (Wednesday, April 24, 2019) – More California workers would be empowered to use the state’s landmark Paid Family Leave program under legislation authored by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) that guarantees 100 percent income replacement. On Wednesday, the Assembly Insurance Committee passed Assembly Bill 196 on a 12-1 vote.

“We know the best thing for a child is to be with their parents in those early days of life. But too many families are unable to use the paid family leave benefit our state offers,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said.  “It’s time to make California’s paid family leave program accessible to working class families that can’t afford only portion of their paychecks.”

Research has clearly demonstrated that accessibly paid family leave improves both infant and maternal mental and physical health. California was the first state to establish a Paid Family Leave program, which allows 18.7 million workers to receive 60 to 70 percent income replacement for up to six weeks within a year, depending on their income.

But working mothers are disproportionately harmed by the current rate of wage replacement in California. Reporting by KQED News found the steepest gain and interest in the program has primarily been among upper middle class dads.

For workers who survive paycheck-to-paycheck, receiving only a fraction of their pay is too low to make use of the paid family leave program. Opting out of the labor force without a guarantee of full-income replacement is not an option for most Latina, Native American and Black single mothers when they face the pressures of being their family’s sole provider. Yet, single mothers of color working low-wage jobs have the highest need for this benefit because they also balance the role of primary caregiver for their loved ones.

AB 196 will give working families the financial security they deserve during moments in life when they need it most by ensuring paid family leave is accessible for all workers by guaranteeing 100% wage replacement.