Reading the Trends Plus Persistence Equals Expanded Family Leave Law in California

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Family Caregiver Alliance

Recognizing the diversity of relatives providing care to family members, Governor Brown signed SB770 that expanded the current family leave law to include other members of a family needing care—grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws.  With enactment, the state of California has the most expansive family leave law in the country.

This legislation mirrors the demographical changes in the state— as California has the second largest number of multigenerational families in the country. The operation of the current family leave policies remain in place with collection of funds through the state unemployment insurance fund that provides workers 55% of their wages to care for family members for up to six weeks.

Kudos to the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center in San Francisco and others who worked to pass the legislation.

For the past several years, the Obama budget plan has called for a small amount of funding—usually around $10 million—to provide states with the funds to create collection and disbursement programs for administering paid family leave programs in each state. Unfortunately funding from the federal government has not been available due to budget reductions. At this time, California and New Jersey remain the only states in the country with operational paid family leave.

While paid family leave is a small cost to individual workers, it pays off in big benefits should a worker need to take paid time off to care for an ailing family member or a new or adopted child . . . and those are life situations that just about all of us will experience in our lives.

- Kathy Kelly, FCA Executive Director