California law expands paid family leave benefits

California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., signed a measure on Monday, April 11 to expand the state’s paid family leave program by increasing the amount of pay available under the program for employees who take leave to care for an ill family member, a newborn baby, or newly adopted child. Currently, employees in the state are entitled to receive up to 55% of their regular pay while taking up to six weeks of family leave.

AB 908, introduced by Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) and passed by the state legislature last month, increases that wage benefit to 70% of regular pay for the state’s lowest-paid workers. Higher-earning employees will be entitled to 60% of their regular pay while on family leave. AB 908 also eliminated a seven-day waiting period before workers could be eligible for paid leave benefits under the program.

In 2014, California was the first state in the nation to establish a paid family leave program with enactment of the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act. The statewide insurance program is wholly funded through worker contributions and administered by the Employment Development Department in tandem with the State Disability Insurance program. (A.B.908, Laws 2015, approved April 11, 2016, effective January 1, 2018.)

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