SACRAMENTO, CA — May 31, 2019 — Last week, the California State Assembly passed a bill that would allow workers to earn their full pay when out on family leave, rather than the program’s current 60-70 percent. The bill, which passed with a vote of 50-3, will now be sent to the state Senate, according to The Hill.
California’s family leave program allows workers to take time off to care for a sick family member or a new child during the first year after birth or placement in the family. The Hill reports that under the current law, workers can receive up to six weeks of partial pay for family leave with a maximum wage replacement rate of $1,252 per week.
State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D) introduced the bill because she believes that working class citizens in California “can’t afford to receive only a portion of their paycheck,” as reported by The Hill. “Workers who need to use family leave absolutely deserve more time off, but first they deserve to be able to take that time off,” Gonzalez has said. “A worker shouldn’t have to choose between meeting their household budget and taking necessary time off during critical moments in life.”
Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, employers must allow workers to take up to 12 weeks of leave per year to care for themselves or a family member, according to the U.S Department of Labor. The leave is unpaid, but it guarantees the employee’s job and health insurance remain intact. Some states, like California, have laws guaranteeing partially paid family leave, but according to The Hill, California would be the first state to guarantee fully paid leave if the bill becomes law.