Report: Expanded Paid Family Leave Needed in California

While California was first in the nation to implement a paid family leave program, the report from the California Budget & Policy Center highlights how policymakers can update and improve the program to meet the needs of today's families.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- First 5 California hailed the release of new reports on paid family leave in California by the California Budget & Policy Center (Budget Center).

"The Budget Center's findings echo Governor Newsom's vision and the Legislature's commitment to support California's children and families," said Erin Gabel, Deputy Director at First 5 California.

Research makes it clear that frequent, nurturing, parent-child interactions are key to strong brain development in the first three months of life and working parents must have the ability to establish that foundation for lifelong success. California must lead in supporting children and families with paid family leave," said Ms. Gabel.
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The Paid Family Leave Helps Families Stay Healthy brief highlights the multiple benefits of paid family leave for California's children and families:

  • Reduces infant mortality
  • Promotes and encourages infant health
  • Improves overall child health
  • Encourages and promotes physical and mental health of parents

The Paid Family Leave: Helping Workers Balance Career and Caregiving Commitments report (which can be reviewed and downloaded in full below) acknowledges the successes of California's existing paid family leave program, but also cites specific inadequacies.

Further, while California was first in the nation to implement a paid family leave program, the report clearly highlights how policymakers and state leaders can work together to update and improve the program to meet the needs of today's families, including those impacted the greatest -- low-wage workers.

The report provides specific recommendations, including:

  • Full wage replacement for low-wage workers
  • Increase paid family leave time off for all worker to 12 weeks
  • Allow single-parent families the same amount of time off as two-parent families
  • Greater job protections
  • Remove barriers for greater access

"California has been a national leader in supporting workers with paid family leave when they need time off to care for family members -- a reality most people will face during their careers," said Chris Hoene, Executive Director at the California Budget & Policy Center.

The lack of job protections and payments that do not cover the cost of living make it difficult for workers, especially workers earning low wages, to take advantage of paid family leave. Policymakers have an opportunity to revisit this program and make it work for more Californians by providing job protections, boosting payment rates, and extending duration of paid leave," he continued.
About First 5 California

First 5 California was established in 1998 when voters passed Proposition 10, which taxes tobacco products to fund services for children ages 0 to 5 and their families. First 5 California programs and resources are designed to educate and support teachers, parents and caregivers in the critical role they play during a child's first five years -- to help California kids receive the best possible start in life and thrive.

Get the full report on paid family leave in California:

CA Budget Center 1119-PFL by Ed Praetorian on Scribd

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